Rise in Public GivingU.S. inflation reached 9.1% in June 2022, the highest inflation rate in nearly 40 years. An alarming rise in the cost of goods and services paired with stock market volatility reflects ongoing concerns of a burgeoning economic recession. Economists’ forecasts grow bleaker as the government races to tackle historic inflation rates. Even so, 2022 sees a rise in public giving despite mounting economic hardship.

2022 Fidelity Charitable Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs)

According to Fidelity Charitable, the largest grantmaker in the United States, Americans donated a record-high $4.8 billion to Fidelity Charitable accounts within the first six months of 2022. Approximately $128 million of these donations went to Ukrainian relief efforts, providing aid to alleviate the many crises Russia’s invasion of Ukraine caused. Donations to prominent NGOs such as Jose Andres’s Central World Kitchen and the International Medical Corps also increased significantly when compared to previous years.

Fidelity Charitable’s 11% increase in donations is a significant divergence from the norm, as charitable giving is generally the first thing cut from the budget during times of financial duress. The 2008 financial crisis, for example, caused donation rates to plummet by approximately 12%, according to Fast Company.

Recent changes in America’s charitable activity can be attributed to the emerging prominence of Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs). DAFs allow individuals and corporations alike to deposit assets for donations to charity over time. Donors invest their charitable donations in advance, allowing them to tap into these funds later down the road when a crisis unfolds. DAFs are essentially donation reserves that allow donors to access funds that have been already been set aside, thus enabling a steady rise in public giving despite mounting economic hardship.

DAFs Bolster Americans Capacity to Give

DAFs are quite new and have grown in popularity since the financial crisis of 2008. Because DAFs create a ready supply of donations over time, they bolster donors and charities alike against future economic hardships. Rapid economic expansion in the decade since the 2008 market crash boosted general economic confidence and encouraged expansive investment in DAFs, which is translating into elevated levels of giving during times of crisis, according to Fast Company.

The purpose of DAFs is to increase the amount that individuals and corporations are able to give. They are incredibly flexible, allowing individuals to invest cash donations as well as assets such as stocks, bonds, cryptocurrencies, life insurance and retirement funds, according to Nerd Wallet. The versatility of DAFs is part of what makes them so successful, as they provide a plethora of investment options that appeal to everyone from the wealthy elite to the average middle-class American family.

Once an individual invests assets in a DAF, they cannot retrieve their contribution from the fund. This works to prevent individuals or companies from abusing DAFs for their tax-deduction qualities. Sponsoring organization controls DAFs, which controls the assets within DAFs as well as the investment options available to donors, according to Nerd Wallet. Once invested, DAF assets mature or appreciate tax-free until they are donated.

Some sponsor organizations do not have a mandatory distribution date, meaning that a donor can allow their funds to grow as long as they wish before donating. Other sponsor organizations require donors to contribute a portion of their funds to charity regularly in order to avoid fraudulent activity.

DAFs offer various tax benefits, permitting donors to receive tax deductions for their DAF contributions. Tax-related donor benefits contributed to the expansive rise in DAF investment in the past decade, fostering the current rise in public giving despite mounting economic hardship. The tax deductions attributed to DAFs faced criticism in the past as they provide a possible tax shelter for the wealthy. Despite these concerns, DAFs have proven a vital funding source for charities during times of economic volatility by bolstering Americans’ capacity to give.

An Evolution in How Americans Give

Although it is America’s largest DAF sponsor organization, expanding DAF investment is not unique to Fidelity Charitable. The 15th annual DAF report by the National Philanthropic Trust of 2021 analyzes data from 976 charitable DAF sponsor organizations from 2020. The report found that DAF donor grants reached approximately $34.67 billion in 2021, an astonishing 27% increase since 2019.

Additionally, the number of individual DAF accounts within the U.S. reached 1 million for the first time in history. This encouraging increase in charitable investment and DAF donations seems counterintuitive considering the economic austerity imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The success of DAFs in 2020 and 2021 reflects the current rise in public giving despite mounting economic hardship.

Experts are confident that donation rates will continue to rise as 2022 persists, surpassing all previous records. Historically, Americans tend to give more during the fourth quarter of the financial year. The President of Fidelity Charitable, Jacob Pruitt, expects this trend to continue, with hopes of surpassing 2021’s year-end record of $10.3 billion, Fast Company reports. These donations will be a pertinent source of aid for low-income nations that are most vulnerable to high inflation rates.

Most DAF sponsor organizations do not have a minimum initial contribution, meaning anyone is welcome to open an account, according to Nerd Wallet. A small initial investment followed by regular deposits will appreciate over time, allowing one to mature their donation reserve at a pace that fits their financial situation. DAFs are an investment, so starting one now will not reap immediate results nor will it provide instant gratification.

If the past few years have taught us anything, it is that the course of life is unpredictable and that there will always be someone, somewhere in need of assistance. DAFs were designed with this reality in mind, enabling charitable individuals to plan ahead and prepare a ready reserve that can be tapped into when the need arises. A small DAF contribution today could translate into a major impact in the future, so there really is no better time to start investing than the present.

– Mollie Lund
Photo: Flickr

Foreign Aid to Côte d'Ivoire
An unlikely form of foreign aid to Côte d’Ivoire is on the rise: donated sports stadiums from China. However, these gifts do not come free.

Côte d’Ivoire’s Olympic-Sized Gift From China

In an act of foreign aid to Côte d’Ivoire, China gifted a massive 130 million euro stadium in Ebimpé. Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara boasts an impressive 60,000 person capacity. It is the biggest stadium in Côte d’Ivoire and the ninth-largest in all of Africa. The new Olympic level venue will host the African Cup of Nations finals in 2023, a major soccer tournament.

Stadium Diplomacy

For decades, China donated massive new sports stadiums to numerous African countries in an act of goodwill and self-interest. Stadium diplomacy, the term for this new political strategy, offers China and the other country a unique deal. The receiving nation sees a boost to its economy through the revenue these stadiums generate. Additionally, China gets numerous benefits in return.

In the last 50 years, China constructed more than 100 sports stadiums all over the continent of Africa. This guaranteed itself access to natural resources, privileged trading contracts, strengthened relations, access to political leaders and supporters in the United Nations. China is now the biggest trading partner of all of Africa. Stadium diplomacy falls under the category of soft power, a type of diplomacy that uses attraction, negotiation and cooperation rather than force.

How Can Stadiums Fight Poverty?

While Côte d’Ivoire boasts one of West Africa’s most robust economies, 39.4% of its population still lives in poverty. Furthermore, the economy experienced a recent downturn since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The services and manufacturing sectors, both involved in constructing and running a stadium, are among those people expected to bring the nation’s economy back on track.

The stadium will bring an influx of people and infrastructure to the region. It will also bolster the economy, fueling the service and manufacturing sectors and provide jobs, all as a result of foreign aid to Côte d’Ivoire. Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara will also help develop the nearby Anyama region, which is building its first metro line in preparation for the crowd.

Criticism of the Stadiums

However, stadium diplomacy has its critics, with many Africans desiring more direct help. While Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara praised the stadium as “one of the most beautiful things our country has accomplished in the field of sports,” other nations have expressed concern and even anger.

Gabon, a nation that lies along the western coast of Central Africa, faced a major backlash among its citizens for participating in stadium diplomacy. Engong Stadium, located in Oyem, had a quick and dramatic turnaround from construction to abandonment. The lavish complex sports has three basketball courts, a tennis court and an international standard track-and-field. However, it is now empty and unused. Locals were angry about what they saw as a misuse of resources and money. “We cannot eat your stadiums” they chanted, adorned in combat uniforms. At the same time, groups stormed the overgrown field and burned down the presidential box.

Whether Côte d’Ivoire’s new stadium will turn its economy around will become more clear in the future. However, one thing is certain: stadium diplomacy in Côte d’Ivoire offers an extremely innovative and very plausible way to alleviate regional poverty.

– Caroline Bersch
Photo: Unsplash

Homeless Youth in CanadaThe plight of homeless youth in Canada is a recent issue in the public eye. The increased representation and awareness have garnered celebrity support, such as from Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds. The married couple has committed to donating $500,000 in total to the cause. Covenant House Vancouver and Toronto, foundations dedicated to opening their door to the homeless youth in Canada, are the lucky recipients.

The Issue

The first majority study done on homeless youth in Canada, “Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey,” was conducted just four years ago in 2016. A recent study found that the youth make up around 20% of the entire homeless population in Canada.

These children often experience housing instability and child abuse prior to their homelessness experience. Once on the streets, children under 16 — around 40% of the homeless youth in Canada — struggle through increased adversity. Further, various forms of oppression often couple homelessness. A staggering number of these children identify as POC, LGBTQ+, and of many other marginalized groups.

However, organizations and philanthropists alike have stepped up to address this dire situation.

Covenant House

Covenant House is an international organization that provides support and aid for homeless youth in Canada. The organization’s mission statement is: “Covenant House launched a federation-wide initiative to design and implement a cutting-edge, data-informed strategy to help even more of our kids achieve meaningful, long-term outcomes.”

It especially focuses on offering services to members of the LGBTQ+ community, POC, and abuse victims. The organization provides more than just direct support for these young individuals. Covenant House commits to restructuring data processing regarding homeless youth, reviewing methods of information analysis and generation, and finding the best performance measurement strategies. The organization works toward short-term as well as long-term change.

Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively’s Involvement

The serious issue of youth homelessness in Canada deeply struck Ryan Reynolds, a Canadian himself. In response, Reynolds and Blake Lively decided to donate $500,000 to the cause. The couple even matches donations up to $375,000 before the end of 2020 to encourage others to donate.

The choice of where the funds should go was a personal one. Reynolds has a long-time relationship with the Covenant House. The dedication they put into their work and the extensive impact they wield in the community inspired his “investment.”

In the interview done by Covenant House, he described the donation as an investment rather than a monetary donation into homeless youth in Canada. Reynolds stated, “The young people who pass through the doors of Covenant House more often than not have a story marked by extraordinary trauma. They are so much more than that trauma. They have so much to offer the world. Matching this gift is saying you believe in them. You believe in the power of compassion to transform the trajectory of a human being.”

The CEO of Covenant House Vancouver, Krista Thompson, expressed her gratitude for the donation and continued relationship with the couple. Thompson remarked, “Ryan and Blake truly understand that young people who are facing homelessness deserve unconditional love and absolute respect.” The money will be used to assist with youth experiencing homelessness and fund much of the research that is occurring to combat the issue of homelessness as a whole.

Manasi Singh
Photo: Flickr

Silicon Valley Combating COVID-19
Silicon Valley is highly regarded as a center of entrepreneurship that has solved many of the world’s problems. Recently, these innovators have shifted their attention to COVID-19 through a variety of strategies like creating safer and more efficient ways to treat patients, shortening the supply chain of personal protective equipment and donating money to help mitigate the virus’ effects. The sector boasts produces $275 billion in profit every year, deeming it one of the wealthiest regions on Earth and underscoring its immense financial power. Silicon Valley is mobilizing its resources to create innovations and provide financial firepower to help eliminate the virus globally. Here are three ways Silicon Valley is combating COVID-19.


Robot production, an already increasingly popular industry worldwide, is playing a significant role in COVID-19 prevention. Robots are capable of performing a myriad of tasks that could help mitigate the virus. For example, machines programmed with ultraviolet disinfection techniques are being used to clean medical areas in a way that is faster and more effective than human workers. Knightscope, a Silicon Valley company that produces security robots, recently updated its fleet to spread COVID-19 information through speaker systems.

Robots have proven especially beneficial in many developing countries for disinfection and testing purposes, highlighting how technology  can help the impoverished. In Rwanda, for instance, robots record temperatures and deliver supplies to medical facilities across the capital city of Kigali. Similarly, Egypt is using remote-controlled robots to administer COVID-19 tests to minimize the risk of virus transmission during testing. With technological innovations like these from Silicon Valley, there is hope for reducing the spread of COVID-19 in countries across the world.

3D Printing

Silicon Valley is home to some of the world’s largest 3D printing companies like HP and Formlabs and is widely regarded as the leader of innovation in the field. Now, 3D printers are being used to quickly and affordably generate personal protective equipment such as masks and face shields for health care professionals. 3D printers are especially efficient in bringing needed equipment directly to medical facilities by bypassing government bureaucracy. This is an especially valuable asset for developing nations, as critical supplies are often not available due to government corruption or inadequacy. 3D printing technologies are currently being made more affordable so more developing countries can invest and benefit from their advantages. 3D printing is another way how Silicon Valley is addressing COVID-19 t internationally.


Many Silicon Valley billionaires have contributed some of the biggest donations for COVID-19 mitigation efforts. These philanthropic actions have shown how Silicon Valley is addressing COVID-19 beyond its technological endeavors. The CEO of tech giant Twitter, for example, has pledged over $1 billion in stock of his online payment company Square to global COVID-19 relief. This donation represents 28% of his wealth, inspiring other tech moguls to make similarly substantial donations. Renowned Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has allocated at least $350 million to COVID-19 relief through Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. However, these generous moves by Silicon Valley elite are not enough: less than 11% of all billionaires have provided financial assistance for COVID-19 relief. With its notorious wealth, Silicon Valley has the power to great;y help solve the world’s problems through philanthropy.

Silicon Valley is combating COVID-19 through its world-renowned innovation and financial capabilities. While robots and 3D printing are especially helpful in supporting the world’s poor in and the fight against COVID_19, these innovations cannot end with the pandemic. To truly eradicate global poverty, Silicon Valley must take a continued vested interest in the world’s poor.

– Garrett O’Brien
Photo: Flickr

Similarities and Differences Between a Charity, Non-profit Organization and Philanthropy
To get a better understanding of the different ways in which one can contribute to the community, it’s important to know the similarities and differences between charities, nonprofit organizations and philanthropy.

A large part of progress in the world is due to humanitarian aid and contribution, whether it be people donating money or food to the less fortunate or people coming together to work for and promote human welfare. Charities, nonprofit organizations and philanthropy are important to communities because each is effective in bringing positive change and offers valuable opportunities and programs to people.

Giving USA reports that charitable donations surged to an estimated $410.02 billion in 2017, a major increase of 5.2 percent from $389.64 in 2016. This is the first time that Giving exceeded $400 billion in one year.

While charities, nonprofit organizations and philanthropy can be used interchangeably and are similar in that each brings positive change, they differ significantly in the way they operate.


A charity is an immediate but emotional monetary donation or short-term contribution usually intended for crisis and relief efforts and supported completely by the public.

People usually donate to a charity that they have a personal connection to or are emotionally affected by. For instance, if a person is deeply concerned about animals, he or she may give a monetary donation at a local animal shelter.

According to Score, one of the ways to understand the differences between charities, nonprofit organizations and philanthropy is to remember that a nonprofit’s purpose is educational or religious and if its funds promote a cause that affects the general public and uses public solicitation to operate, it is most likely a charity.

Examples of donations to a charity include giving money or food to a homeless shelter, donating to an animal shelter, giving money to The Salvation Army bell-ringers outside one’s local supermarket during the holiday season, etc.

Nonprofit Organizations

A nonprofit organization and a charity are similar in that they both operate on a not-for-profit basis but differ based on whether it is tax-deductible and even in the way it operates. A charitable donation can count as tax-deductible while nonprofit organizations have to meet certain requirements and file with the IRS as a charitable organization.

A popular nationwide nonprofit organization is the American Red Cross. The American Red Cross website states that a donor’s donation goes toward strengthening the Red Cross response to nearly 64,000 disasters a year, providing a safe place, food and other necessities to affected individuals and their families. In 2016, the Red Cross provided 385,000 emergency assistance services, gave millions CPR and AED training and supplied 7 million blood products to patients in need.


One way to remember the differences between charities, nonprofit organizations and philanthropy is by understanding that charities and nonprofits give/contribute while philanthropy involves action. For instance, while a charity can be a quick one-time donation to a school, philanthropy would work toward providing academic scholarships to students or funding to build a better school. Charities aim to lessen the suffering caused by social problems while philanthropists work toward ending social problems.

According to Medium, philanthropy is a long-term strategic investment and intervention dedicated to building long-lasting and successful change in individuals and communities.

While many think a philanthropist is someone who donates large amounts of money to an organization, a philanthropist can be somebody devoted to ending a certain social problem and promoting human welfare.

Impact and Importance

Although there are several differences between charities, nonprofit organizations and philanthropy, the important part is that all of these are effective in building a more efficient and progressive world. It doesn’t matter if someone donates to charities or nonprofit organizations or decides to become a philanthropist, what matters is their contribution serves to help those in need and is also another step toward progress.

– Kristen Uedoi
Photo: Flickr


help Guatemala
Currently, in Guatemala, 200 people are missing, 110 people are deceased and more than 1.7 million people have been impacted by the eruption of the Fuego volcano that began on June 3. It was the nation’s most severe volcanic eruption in 45 years and the size of this disaster has compelled many around the world to act.

Images of the volcano’s victims and its devastating impact are easily accessible on social media, as are advocacy and volunteer opportunities. Keep reading for a few examples of how to help Guatemala’s Fuego victims and bring awareness to the crisis.

Advocacy on Social Media

Social media has made advocacy from home possible and is one of the easiest ways to get involved in a cause. Several hashtags have popped up on social media platforms since the eruption began as a way to raise awareness along with fundraising and donation opportunities. With a simple search on Instagram or Twitter for any of the hashtags mentioned below, users can see pictures and updates on life in Guatemala after the volcano.

Examples of popular hashtags include:

  • #PrayForGuatemala
  • #GuatemalaEstoyContigo
  • #TodosPorGuate
  • #VolcanDeFuego
  • #FuerzaGuatemala

Finding Volunteers on Facebook

Another social media site that has offered ways to help Guatemala is Facebook. Beyond matching donations, the Crisis Response page on Facebook for the volcanic eruption has become a way for locals to find and give help. Facebook users can post to the page and list what they are offering or need, their location and how to get in contact with them.

Scrolling through the page shows people offering food, shelter or supplies, requesting help and asking for volunteers in specific locations. What is even more impressive is the number of posts that have already been completed or closed. This is yet another example of a relatively easy and effective way to help victims of Fuego’s eruption.

Red Cross Volunteers Working Hard

The Red Cross, led by the CruzRojaGT or Guatemalan arm of the organization, has been working tirelessly to provide rescue operations and support to Guatemalans. This organization has no intention of leaving soon and is putting long-term plans into place in order to keep helping survivors of this crisis.

The organization administered an emergency appeal to maintain programs in Guatemala to support 6,000 vulnerable people for at least a year. More than two weeks after the initial eruption, there are still 1,600 volunteers helping families evacuated during the eruption.

The American Red Cross is offering help as well, with programs set up to help people find loved ones they may have lost contact with in Guatemala. Beyond donating to the cause, sharing this information and keeping up to date on the current conditions are great ways to get involved with the Red Cross efforts.

Donations Flow In to Help Guatemala

In horrible times of crisis, sometimes the only positives are outpourings of support from the global community. There are many organizations and nonprofits accepting donations to provide help to burn victims, shelters, supplies and future rebuilding. GoFundMe set up a page with verified campaigns aiming to raise money to help Guatemala. Many of these funds were started by Guatemalans or people with ties to the country and some have already raised over $100,000.

This is partially made possible by the thousands of social media users who have used hashtags and posts to bring awareness to these causes and the ongoing impacts of the eruption. After the dust settles in Guatemala, it is important to keep sharing and being advocates for the millions of people impacted by Fuego’s eruption and to bring awareness to this crisis.

– Alexandra Eppenauer
Photo: Flickr

fostering academic growth in AfricaThe U.N. states that there are 48 million illiterate young people in sub-Saharan Africa. Furthermore, 60 percent of children aged 15 to 17 are not enrolled in schools. Book Aid International has made it its mission to change this by fostering academic growth in Africa.


Education for All

One of the major U.N. Millenium Development goals was to have all school children complete primary level education by 2015. Although this was not achieved universally, there have still been several accomplishments in the sphere of education, and there are more children in schools now than ever before.

The U.N. reports that, from 2000 to 2015, enrollment in primary education rose from 83 percent to 91 percent. Additionally, the literacy rate among youth aged 15 to 24 skyrocketed from 83 percent to 91 percent between 1990 and 2015. One nonprofit located in the U.K., Book Aid International, can be accredited for helping the U.N. achieve these goals.


The Gateway to Knowledge

Book Aid International is a firm believer that the gateway to knowledge is through reading. Access to information can prevent children from falling into poverty, increase future job opportunities and improve their life expectancy past the age of five by 50 percent. As a result, Book Aid International has developed a program revolved around the power of books called Inspiring Readers.

Inspiring Readers donates books to schools in Africa where resource scarcity is a major issue. Through this program, schools receive a library of 1,250 new books and selected teachers from the schools receive specialized training to ensure that the books will be well utilized. Inspiring Readers also ensures that each school gets further resources and assistance by partnering up with a local library.

The program has already seen success. One particular Kenyan school that partnered with Book Aid International has received recognition from the community for improved student academic performance. The school stated in 2017 that students’ test scores have improved from 48 percent to 54 percent in Kiswahili, 48 percent to 50 percent in English and 45 percent to 52 percent in science.


Fostering Academic Growth in Africa

Overall, Inspiring Readers has brought 63,710 books to 50 schools around Africa. The organization has also trained 150 teachers and 20 librarians. Consequently, 31,343 children have been impacted by this program. However, Book Aid International does not want to stop there. Its goal is to reach 250,000 children by 2020.

Book Aid International estimates that it needs £2,600 per school to achieve this goal. There are many ways to help the nonprofit meet this goal, but it relies mostly on donations for funding. Small amounts of money can make a huge difference, as Book Aid International indicates it only costs £2 to send one book to a partnering school. The organization also accepts donations of new books.

Book Aid International has already made huge strides forward in fostering academic growth in Africa, nurturing children’s interests in reading as well as training teachers to become better motivators and instructors. This will only lead children to success and will ultimately help the U.N. in accomplishing its goal of education for all.

– Mary McCarthy

Photo: Flickr

Donate money, not stuffIn the midst of global tragedies, many charitable people decide to send old junk or underused resources to foreigners in need. Here are five reasons why one should donate money, not stuff if one wants to solve global hunger.

  1. “Junk” is a logistical nightmare for volunteers. The people brave enough to enter disaster sites must provide emergency care to people in immediate need. They lack the necessary time to sort, transport and store cheap diapers or old sweaters sent in by well-meaning folks. Yahoo Finance reports an incident where, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a benefactor sent thousands of pounds of cheese to New Orleans. The trouble was that no working refrigerator could hold such a gift. Lots of material goods appeal to a customer’s wants… they’re not so effective in situations of dire need.
  2. Material donations can wreck a nation’s economy. Kathleen Tierney, the director of a Natural Hazards Center in Colorado, notes how economic problems occur in recovering nations when supply outstrips demand. “If you want to see economic recovery, you don’t want to send so many supplies that you create a situation where people can’t survive in a business sense,” said Tierney. Ultimately, the best use of aid is to help a country until they can take care of themselves. It’s difficult to make one’s living selling T-shirts if a global superpower dropped off millions of shirts for one’s potential customers to wear for free.
  3. Local groups know what resources they need. The Central Texas Food Bank, the largest provider of emergency food distributions in the country, was shut down by flooding during 2017’s Hurricane Harvey. The group’s president, Derrick Chubbs, supports monetary donations instead of material aid. He reasons that relief groups in a disaster area know exactly what they need for certain situations. They only lack the funds to acquire the most helpful tools for the job. The chance to clean one’s house and accomplish a moral good is tempting for a lot of do-gooders. But one can achieve similar results by selling old junk to a consignment store (like Goodwill or Half-Priced Books) and donating the proceeds to a respected charity. With one additional step in giving aid, the effectiveness of a donation multiplies.
  4. “Stuff” is a short-term solution to a long-term problem. The media focuses on the immediate aftermath of a tragedy but often loses interest by the time victims have to return to their homes. Groups like the Salvation Army understand that maintaining emergency shelters and rebuilding destroyed sites takes a long time. This is why nonprofits want people to donate money, not stuff. Not only do charities know what to spend cash on, but they know how to divide that cash to ensure a complete job. Such relief groups cannot fix a community with a stuffed animal sent from across the country.
  5. It’s more effective to call/email your representative. So how can someone help if they feel they lack the money to keep themselves afloat? One free solution would be to contact your representative and ask that your government contribute aid to a country or region in need. The Center for Global Development reports that the U.S. donates only 1 percent of its budget towards International Affairs, which includes disaster relief. Not only can this amount be increased through advocacy, but concerned citizens can ask their representatives to support revenue-neutral bills to solve global problems. Anyone interested in this surprisingly easy path to advocacy should explore The Borgen Project’s page on calling Congress.

– Nick Edinger

Photo: Pixabay

GiveDirectly, a U.S. nonprofit organization, is seeking to change the way aid is given to impoverished communities around the world. Where most nonprofit organizations seek to fight global poverty through advocacy programs, research studies, services and volunteers, GiveDirectly bypasses traditional nongovernmental organization structures to allow donors to see exactly where and who their money is going to. By doing so, GiveDirectly is able to send money directly to people in poverty.

Modern payment through technology has become a prominent cost-effective way to transfer sums of money over thousands of miles. GiveDirectly uses such technology to take and use money from donors and transfer it directly to people in impoverished communities. After opening to the public in 2011, the nonprofit exclusively makes payments to people in extreme poverty through online transferable cash grants.

The next step is to study the impact of direct aid to poverty-stricken communities. Over the next 12 years, every adult in 40 villages throughout Kenya will receive $0.75 per day through GiveDirectly donors. The wage, while below the poverty line, will ensure a source of income on top of day-to-day jobs.

Residents of another 80 villages will receive that amount over just two years and residents of yet another 80 villages will receive that amount in a lump sum. Since GiveDirectly sends money directly to people in poverty, all community members will receive the donations despite income levels, as a form of universal income. More than 26,000 people will receive a donation transfer, where 6,000 will receive a sustained universal income.

According to the GiveDirectly website, the group has received 81% of the funds required to pay for the study throughout all 12 years. The research team includes Abhijit Banerjee, co-founder of J-PAL and a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Alan Krueger, a former Chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers and a professor at Princeton and Tavneet Suri, Scientific Director for J-PAL Africa, also at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Stephene, a 27-year-old laborer in Kenya, enrolled as a recipient of cash-grants from GiveDirectly four months ago. Two months in, he received his first payment over the phone of $97. He spent his first sum of money plastering his house and on necessities for his wife who is expecting a child.

When asked what he would spend the donated money on, Stephene said he would use it to buy his own boat, to make his life as a fisherman easier. He recently received his second payment of $481. The funds went to buying iron sheets and finally, his own fishing boat. In an interview with GiveDirectly, Stephene said, “This has improved my source of income [and] thus improved my living standards.”

Recipients of donations receive an SMS text message when their payments are ready for collection. On average, it takes 32 minutes for individuals to walk to the closest agent and collect their cash transfers.

In addition to the efficiency of the aid program, recipients can spend their payments on necessities that are unique to their lives and families. By sending money directly to people in poverty, the organization breaks down some of the difficulties of traditional foreign aid.

Riley Bunch

Photo: Flickr

Bill Gates Donate World Economic Forum

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave (RED), an organization that fights AIDS, the best 10th-anniversary gift ever: a $50 million match for all Global Fund donations in 2016.

The foundation announced its pledge at the 2016 World Economic Forum in Switzerland according to Look to the Stars.

(RED) and the Fight Against Aids

“Over the past decade, (RED) has enrolled millions of people and dozens of brands in the global fight against AIDS,” said Bill Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in a statement at the 2016 World Economic Forum.

“Today’s match will provide the Global Fund with up to $100 million to help save 60,000 lives, prevent 2.3 million new infections and generate more than $2 billion in economic gains for developing countries,” he said. “That’s an amazing return on investment.”

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the (RED) campaign has actively supported the Global Fund over the years.

Since its inception in 2006, (RED) has raised $350 million thanks to partners, events and products sold according to the organization’s website.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to all the companies, the creative collaborators and the activists who step-up to fight AIDS with (RED),” said (RED) CEO Deborah Dugan in a statement in January 2016.

A portion of the profits from (RED) branded products, like Beats by Dr. Dre Solo 2 headphones, Apple iPods and GAP clothing, benefit the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The Gates and the Global Fund

The Global Fund was established in 2002 to end AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis as epidemics through government, civil society and private sector partnerships according to its website.

To date, the Gates Foundation has contributed a total of $1.4 billion to the Global Fund, which includes the issuance of the long term promissory note of $750 million according to the Global Fund’s website.

“The Global Fund is one of the most effective ways we invest our money in every year,” said Bill Gates at the 2012 World Economic Forum. “By supporting the Global Fund, we can help to change the fortunes of the poorest countries in the world. I can’t think of more important work.”

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the (RED) campaign even partnered together through Snapchat in honor of World AIDS Day 2015.

Every time a user sent a Snapchat message using a (RED) filter, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation agreed to donate $3 to the organization’s fight against AIDS according to Re/code.

Summer Jackson

Photo: CNN



Name: Taylor Larson
Location: Dallas, TX
Role: Political Affairs Intern
Amount Raised: $3,355/£2,708


Fundraising Breakdown:

    • Fundraising letters $1,180 (35.1%)
    • Online donations $2,165 (64.5%)
    • In-Person Handout at event $10 (.4%)
    • Total: $3,355


Taylor’s Tips and Strategy


Start Early

Start asking for donations as soon as you can. You don’t have to wait for your donation page to be published. You can tell people to donate in your name (so you get credit), either on The Borgen Project’s website or to mail check with a note specifying it’s being donated on your behalf. The sooner you start asking, the more time you have to ask people more than once to donate. Some people will require multiple pitches before they’ll give.

Ask Everyone

You know more people than you think.

Create Special Pitches for the People Who Think Will Give the Most (Be Sincere!)

I have a few family and friends who regularly donate to causes. Because of this, I gave them special attention, figuring they would be my biggest donors (and they were). These people have different political and religious beliefs. Some are Republicans and some Democrats; some go to church and some don’t. I created different pitches for them in my letters and when I talked to them in person or over the phone. Beforehand, I wrote down what their interests and views were, and how I could tie The Borgen Project’s goals to their beliefs. I think doing this really helped.

  • For example, use language that will resonate with the person you’re writing or talking to. Think in advance about what the person you are about to talk to finds important. What does this person define himself or herself by? Is there a particular group or cause this person is devoted to?
  • Then, think about the kinds of words that go along with that group or cause.
  • If I was talking to a family member or friend who served in the military, I would use terms that are commonly used in association with the military, like, “service,” “cause,” “something bigger than me.” I might say something like: The Borgen Project has given me a chance to help others and serve a cause bigger than myself.
  • If I was talking to someone who held religion to be very important, I would talk in moralistic terms. Something like: I think we have a calling to help other people in this world. With The Borgen Project, I feel good knowing that my work is really helping those in need.
  • Be sincere in what you say, so that they don’t think you’re pandering to them. For example, I don’t normally talk in terms like I gave above; none of that is my language. However, I do believe all that I said, so my words came across as genuine.

Write Letters

Most of my money came from my fundraising letters, indirectly or directly. Most of the people who donated online did so because they got my letter in the mail. Write a lot of letters.

Business Cards

I heard about this idea after I had done the bulk of my fundraising, but I think it’s a good idea. This way, when you meet people and talk to them about The Borgen Project, you can give them a card that will keep them from forgetting about the organization. Have business cards printed out that have:

  • Your name
  • The Borgen Project’s name and a line or two about what the organization does
  • Directions on how to donate. Tell people how to get to your fundraising profile or how to donate in your name on the mail website
  • The cards could also help you mobilize people to e-mail Congress. You could tell them how to e-mail on the other side of the card.



“Ask everyone – You know more people than you think!”

– Taylor Larson