Hinge, the dating app owned by Match, has always been about ending loneliness in the dating world. But with “One More Hour,” the company is now tackling loneliness in the community sense, announcing $1 million in grants to social groups that can help young adults find a sense of belonging and community.
“This is a new initiative, but it's a continued commitment to our daters’ holistic wellbeing,” says Josh Penny, Hinge’s director of social impact.
He tells Marketing Daily that the new effort will fuel in-person connection with grants of up to $25,000, aimed at boosting more access to “third spaces.” First spaces, he explains are home, and second places are work or school.
“Third spaces are the communities, the physical places, the groups that are for your leisure. These places are about how you use your free time and offer the chance to connect with others in unpredictable ways.”
Concentrating on social organizations in Atlanta, Los Angeles, and New York, Hinge is working with nonprofits DoSomething Strategic and the Foundation for Social Connection, to develop benchmarks and identify potential grant recipients. Hinge will then create a panel of Gen Z judges to make the final awards.
Gen Z makes up Hinge’s core audience. “And we’ve been so moved by the compelling evidence of just how impacted this group is by loneliness,” he says. Today’s young adults spend roughly 1,000 hours less per year in face-to-face socializing than their counterparts of 20 years ago. And they lost precious friend-making years during the pandemic.
They are replacing in-person connection with screen time, and only 31% of young adults socialize with others daily.
Hinge’s mission is to inspire “more intimate connections to create a less lonely world,” Penny says. And while this effort will boost friendship and community more than love, he says that ultimately, that kind of socializing is better for daters.
Romantic relationships aren’t the cure to loneliness. “If everyone had stronger support networks and more connection in their life, that would be good for dating. It takes off the pressure to find one person who checks every single box."
Hinge is owned by Match, which also owns Tinder and smaller brands like OKCupid, Meetic, Plenty of Fish, BLK, Chispa and the League. Hinge is the Dallas-based company’s fastest-growing brand, with revenues up 44% in the most recent quarter. It was the brand’s best quarter ever in terms of app downloads.
The effort is also using a somewhat softer sell, focusing on loneliness solutions rather than the mental health epidemic. “Hammering down on big, scary social issues doesn’t always resonate well with Gen Z,” he says. “For example, when climate change efforts focus on doom, that can backfire and keep them from acting. And we didn’t want that to happen with what is essentially a mental health outreach. We want daters to feel excited about the possibilities of connecting with more people face-to-face.”
It’s not the first time the app has focused on Gen Z mental health concerns. During the pandemic, Hinge worked with the Surgeon General’s office to address loneliness in daters. The brand also supports the Crises Text Line. This year, it joined the Coalition to End Social Isolation & Loneliness, working with other companies on initiatives to reduce loneliness.