Allison Grappone

Allison Grappone

Founder and CEO, NEARBY · Concord, New Hampshire

While searching for a graduate program 7 years ago, I hoped for something that I doubted even existed: a business program that blended experiential learning with hard business skills and a focus on sustainability. Then I found BGI and the rest, as they say, is history.

The interdisciplinary course approach and real-world project requirements offered me a clear path to my love of sustainable operations and systems thinking. I was given an opportunity to test these disciplines with important social and environmental issues.  I brought that forward into my first post-grad job in economic development and conservation with the Northern Forest Center.

Years later, as the founder and CEO of NEARBY, I continually draw on my BGI experiences and work with the growing BGI community. This group of visionaries and educators offers not just professional networking opportunities, but meaningful personal connections as well. I know that I can toss out a question to my BGI colleagues at any time and receive responses filled with insight, support, hard data and humor. BGI’s alumni activities help ensure that these connections remain strong. Though I live on the opposite side of the country, I am always happy to get on a plane to join my BGI crew for a reunion—or to help sign on a new group of NEARBY storefronts or registrants!


Allison grew up and resides in New Hampshire, where she founded NEARBY in 2011. That same year Allison won the NH Startup Challenge. NEARBY connects independent business and nonprofits across the country to the $19 billion gift registry market. Now all types of gift registrants—engaged couples, expecting parents, graduates, new homeowners, etc. can conveniently register for products, services and nonprofit donations from their favorite local places.

Allison’s home away from home is Seattle, the city she fell in love with during her time at BGI. Allison chose NH and Seattle as the first two markets for NEARBY and is thrilled to watch them grow. Even better, some of the first Seattle storefronts on NEARBY were created by BGI alumni: Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Markets, Maven Meals, and Terra Organics.

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