Lists of names in newspapers inspired Rohith Koneru in a fundraising effort.

Lists of names in newspapers inspired Rohith Koneru in a fundraising effort.

The Dublin Scioto High School senior was intrigued by newspaper lists of people in Franklin County with unclaimed funds and eventually developed the charity initiative Digging for Dollars.

"I was already trying to find something innovative to do," Koneru said.

After he saw the lists in the newspaper and his mom got an unclaimed funds check, he put two and two together and came up with diggingfor

With the site, Koneru searches for peoples' names on databases of unclaimed funds. If he finds something, money goes back to the person and some goes to charity.

"I started the project in December or January," he said. "It really picked up in June. That's when I raised the most money."

To begin his fundraising effort, Koneru searched databases for friends and family. When he found people he knew, he contacted them with his fundraising idea. He ended up with a starting pool of 75.

Last week, Koneru donated $4,000 to Nationwide Children's Hospital from the initial push.

"I feel like a lot of people don't know about these funds," he said. "Pretty much every person I contacted didn't know."

Koneru sees Digging for Dollars as a win-win. People get money they didn't expect and some of it goes to charity.

Currently Koneru is raising money for Nationwide Children's Hospital and the TANA Foundation, an Indo-American organization that raises money for literacy, education, health and other efforts in the area of India from which Koneru's family comes.

"I've been busy," he said. "It's pretty much what I did all summer."

Koneru said he'd like to see Digging for Dollars expanded around the country. The service can be used in any state and with any group.

For example, Koneru is trying to work with the Dublin Scioto High School PTO. He wants to search for PTO members with unclaimed funds that could in turn be donated to the PTO.

The project has not, however, been without challenges. Sometimes getting unclaimed funds back can take time and documentation.

Koneru said he's seen funds take anywhere from three weeks to six months to be returned.

Digging for Dollars will continue throughout Koneru's senior year, despite a busy schedule.

Koneru plays varsity tennis and travels for other games and tournaments.

He is also a member of Key Club and Math Club, and volunteers at Riverside Methodist Hospital.

"I'm passionate about sports," he said. "I like giving back to the community and playing lots of tennis."

Upon graduation from Scioto High School, however, Digging for Dollars could change hands.

"I want to try to run with it until I graduate and then find someone I trust to take over the project," he said.