Category: Philanthropy

Jun 9 2017

Monthly Match: The Human Utility #GiveWater

Does it surprise you that some people in the United States don’t have regular access to water?

Our month match for June is The Human Utility. Fred Wilson, Joanne Wilson, Amy Batchelor, and I are matching up to $20,000 of contributions via our #GiveWater campaign.

Hunter Walk introduced us to The Human Utility at the beginning of the year. Access to water has always been something that Amy and I support. We first started thinking about this after hearing about  Charity Water a while ago from Chris Sacca, who has been a major supporter of them over the years.

When I heard from Hunter that there was an organization in Detroit that paid the water bills for people who couldn’t afford to do it, I immediately loved the idea. The Detroit Water Project has evolved into The Human Utility and now provides funding for water in both Detroit and Baltimore. From their website:

Water companies are turning off the tap in cities across the U.S., forcing low-income families, seniors and single parents to live without basic necessities. Families without water are forced to go elsewhere to take showers, clean dishes and get a drink. Your donation can help turn the water back on.

When you give a donation to The Human Utility, 100% of your contribution goes to directly pay the water bill of someone in immediate need.

To donate and have your contribution matched, go here and hit the big blue Donate button. Then, tweet out your donation to spread the word.

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May 4 2017

Monthly Match: Planned Parenthood: #istandwithPP

Amy and I have been supporting Planned Parenthood every year since we became a couple in 1990. Today, the House is going to vote on a bill that, among other things, defunds Planned Parenthood. I’m long past my surprise by any of what is coming out of Washington, so instead of being shocked, I’m just continuing to take action on things that are important to me.

So, your Monthly Match team (Fred Wilson, Joanne WilsonAmy Batchelor, Susan Danziger, Albert Wenger and me) is launching this month’s match for Planned Parenthood.

As I read Joanne’s post on this, I thought she said it well.

“Our Government, that is right, our Government that is for the people, is holding a vote today on the American Health Care Act (Obamacare) with the hopes to defund Planned Parenthood (and much more). For those who can not afford healthcare for basic needs such as proactive check-ups, prenatal care, pap smears and more is that the cost to care for those who find themselves ill (or their children) is a bigger drain on our economy than funding organizations like Planned Parenthood. It is wrong not to fund Planned Parenthood and it is shortsighted. I will never understand those who do not believe in being socially responsible for their fellow person.”

At this point, I’m not going to argue with those who disagree with me. Instead, I’m going to encourage those of you who agree with me (and Fred, Joanne, Amy, Susan, and Albert) to join us in our monthly match and help raise at least $60k for Planned Parenthood.

Here is how the monthly match works

  1. Go to our match offer page and click the big Donate button
  2. Select any amount (min is $10) and click the big Donate button again
  3. Enter your payment credentials and click the big Donate button again
  4. Click the big Tweet Your Donation button
  5. Once you have done all of that your donation will automatically be matched
  6. If you don’t have Twitter, forward your email receipt to MatchMe@crowdrise.com

I hope you will join us in supporting Planned Parenthood on this difficult day for all who care about women’s reproductive health and women’s health more broadly.

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Apr 3 2017

Help Earth Have A Lawyer

Today (Monday 4/3) is the last day of our Earthjustice fundraiser. We have matching funds up to $40k. So far, we’ve raised $25,200 from 179 people. Help us get to $40k (which will result in an $80k gift) to Earth’s Lawyer.

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Apr 1 2017

#EarthMatch – Supporting Earthjustice Because Our Planet Needs a Good Lawyer

Planet Earth needs a good lawyer.

If you are as appalled as I am by the hostility of the Trump Administration to climate change, clean energy, and what appears to be a systematic effort to dismantle the EPA, then please support this month’s #EarthMatch fundraiser that JoanneFred, Amy, AlbertSusan, and I are matching up to $30,000.

This month we are funding Earthjustice, which started in the 1960s as the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund. Since then, Earthjustice has been the legal backbone for thousands of environmental organizations. They leverage their expertise and commitment to fight for justice and advance the promise of a healthy world for all. Earthjustice’s courtroom fights remain the last lines of defense for many of our crucial public health protections and the nation’s cornerstone environmental laws.

What Earthjustice does – go to court to force government action, make polluters clean up their messes, and hold dirty energy industries accountable – is now more important than ever.

Here is how #EarthMatch works:

  1. Go to our EarthMatch page on Crowdrise and give any amount (minimum is $10).
  2. After you complete the donation, tweet your donation out using the blue Tweet button on the post donation page. That will register it for our match.
  3. If you don’t use Twitter, you can forward your email receipt by following the instructions on the post donation page. Tweeting is much better though as it will amplify the campaign.

Please join us in doing that to get the word out. And please donate to Earthjustice. We will match your donation up to $30k of total donations this weekend.

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Mar 29 2017

Funding All Projects on DonorsChoose in Alaska

Amy and I just funded all of the unfunded DonorsChoose projects in Alaska as part of the annual DonorsChoose #BestSchoolDay event. As part of the #BestSchoolDay program, your donation is matched. In all of the Alaska projects, Aspect Ventures matched our donation. Huge thanks to Jennifer Fonstad, Theresia Gouw, and team!

Amy grew up in Alaska and we have a house in Homer, which is what motivated us to support Alaska this year on #BestSchoolDay. As I was supporting projects, I saw one in Homer and a few Sphero and littleBits requests which made me smile.

We’ve been continuous supporters of DonorsChoose for many years. Whenever I have a shitty day, I often go to DonorsChoose and support a few projects. It’s generated some incredibly satisfying moments for me, like a connection with Monica Zamora, a fourth grade teacher in Edgewater, NJ. I funded several programs for her students including some BB-8s and some littleBits. I gave a 30 minute Skype talk to her class, where I met a budding CEO of a new company called SockWorld who pitched me on her new business around socks. Or, the time I got a note from Norma Gibson at Carr Creek Elementary in Littcarr, Kentucky. At her initiative, she pointed me to a number of projects at her school which we funded. Her appreciation – for her students – lept out through the email to me.

If you are motivated to participate, I encourage you to pick some projects on DonorsChoose in the city you grew up in.

Today, we funded 72 projects, which delights us. If you want to see a few examples, check out:

White Boards to Think It, Write It, and Share It!

Math in the 21st Century

Who, What, When and Where: Books With Answers

Building Young Architects

Geocaching Field Experience

Got Power? We Need Charging Stations

Good Women’s Hygiene

Science Books and Supplies

Iditarod: The Last Great READ

Coding Into the Future!

Maker Space For Twenty-First Century Learners

Putting the DNA in our DNA Fingerprint

Little Bits for Science Exploration

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Mar 2 2017

Immigration Fundraiser: For Here or To Go

A little over a year ago I wrote a post about a feature film Amy and I were helping fund called For Here or To Go. The movie is about a set of Indian software developers in the US on H1-B visas. The main character wanted to start a company, or join a startup, but couldn’t make either happen in the context of the current H1-B visa constraints.

It felt relevant when we helped fund it. It seems even more relevant today. It’s an excellent movie and my punch line from the blog post a year ago was:

“Now, this wasn’t a dry movie. While I don’t know Indian culture very well, Rishi created a rich set of characters, interwoven storylines, and a powerful content – including the challenge of romantic relationships while having an uncertain future around one’s immigration status – that drew me in to the movie.”

For Here or To Go is now finished and will be out at the end of March. Amy and I committed to match up to $25,000 of a $55,000 fundraising campaign to help get wider distribution for move. If this is something you are willing to participate in, go to the Crowdrise page and give whatever amount you are willing, knowing that Amy and I are matching you dollar for dollar.

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Feb 26 2017

Film: American Muslim Storytellers

Over the weekend, our Monthly Match for the National Immigration Law Center raised over $47,000,. For everyone who contributed, thank you!

In the emails I got, one stood out. It pointed me at an Indiegogo campaign for a documentary done by American Muslim Storytellers. The timing of the email was particularly good as I had just read a Washington Post Story about American Muslims raising money to repair vandalized Jewish cemetery

I went and took a look at the Indiegogo page and was delighted by the first video.

And educated by the second video.

Amy and I decided to contribute to the campaign to put together the documentary for American Muslim Storytellers at the Executive Producer level. If the videos inspire you as they did me, please help out at whatever level you feel comfortable with.

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Feb 24 2017

Monthly Match: National Immigration Law Center #NILCMatch

Fred Wilson, Joanne Wilson, Amy, and I are doing our second Monthly Match. This one is in support of the National Immigration Law Center. We will be matching $20,000 of contributions that our respective communities make to NILC.

We’ve made it easy to contribute – simply go to this page on Crowdrise.

Any level of contribution is super helpful. Since we are matching 1:1, each dollar you contribute gets NILC another dollar.

The four of us did this on an impulse last month after the Executive Order on Immigration hit. We were all extremely upset about the executive order and decided to do something about it. We ended up raising over $120,000 for the ACLU over the weekend during a period where the ACLU got a lot of visibility for making the first major move against the executive order and ended up raising over $24m.

As a result, we’ve decided to do a Monthly Match fundraiser (where the four of us match $20,000 in donations) for a different organization that supports the rights of minorities who we feel are at risk under our current administration. We’ve committed to do this for a year and expect this will evolve as things unfold over the course of the year.

The National Immigration Law Center was established in 1978 and is dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of low-income immigrants. Their mission is clear.

At NILC, we believe that all people who live in the U.S.—regardless of their race, gender, immigration and/or economic status—should have the opportunity to achieve their full potential. Over the years, we’ve been at the forefront of many of the country’s greatest challenges when it comes to immigration issues, and play a major leadership role in addressing the real-life impact of polices that affect the ability of low-income immigrants to prosper and thrive.

If this is important to you, please join in on our Monthly Match and make a contribution to NILC. To make sure we see it, follow the directions below:

  1. Go to our monthly match page and hit the donate button and give whatever you feel like giving (min is $10).
  2. After you complete the donation, TWEET your donation out on the post donation page. That will register it for our match.
  3. If you don’t use Twitter, you can forward your email receipt. The instructions will be on the post donation page. We would vastly prefer you tweet it out.

For those of you who are part of our community and support this effort, feel good that you are taking a specific action today to support the rights of all immigrants in America.

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Feb 21 2017

Bias Documentary

One of the philanthropic activities that Amy and I have been doing is helping fund documentaries around issues that we care about.

A breakout documentary from 2015 was CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap. We got to know Robin Hauser, the director and producer, through the process and thought she was awesome.

When she told us last summer about her new documentary called Bias, Amy and I jumped on the opportunity to be the executive producers. The sizzle reel is out and was shown at Mark Suster’s Upfront Summit. Take a look (click through to watch on Vimeo.)

Bias Documentary Sizzle from Finish Line Features, LLC on Vimeo.

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Jan 30 2017

AVC, Gotham Gal, and Feld Thoughts Communities Rally $100,000+ For The ACLU

Sunday morning Fred Wilson put up the following blog post: A $20,000 Match Offer On ACLU Donations Today. Joanne Wilson put up a similar post titled A $20,000 Match Offer On ACLU Donations Today on her blog.

It came after a flurry of emails that started with one from me at 7:41am.

“Inspired by Chris Sacca, Amy and I are considering doing an ACLU grant with a 100% match”

Joanne, Fred, Amy, and I were all distressed by Trump’s executive order on immigration, which Fred wrote about in Make America Hate Again and I wrote in Unsettled and Disgusted. We had seen the ACLU already jump into action so we collectively decided to do something about it by supporting it.

Fred’s partner Albert Wenger and his wife Susan Danzinger had already started a match for $15,000 so we (Fred, Joanne, me, and Amy) agreed that when they maxed out they’d hand the ball to us to match for another $20,000.

Jet lag then ate my soul and I went to sleep for a few hours. When I woke up, Amy said “we did something good while you were asleep.” I had well over 100 tweets with ACLU receipts, Fred had started a spreadsheet of all the matching gifts, and we had blown through our $20,000 match. By the end of the day, we were over $90,000 of matches with more coming in so we stopped counting and, with our $20,000, were easily over $100,000 to the ACLU in one day, which started with Fred’s blog post.

By the end of the day it had picked up enough speed to become a TechCrunch article: Some tech executives are matching ACLU donations amid immigration ban protests.

We know more executive orders on immigration are expected. Bloomberg is hinting Trump’s Next Move on Immigration to Hit Closer to Home for Tech. Regardless of how this plays out, I’m hopeful that Congress will step up and do their job at this point, rather than just let executive orders slide by, create chaos, and get litigated in court. Remember – Congress makes the laws and the President is supposed to execute the instructions of Congress.

In the mean time, thanks to everyone who contributed to the ACLU match yesterday. We helped the ACLU raise $24 million since Saturday morning. For perspective, the ACLU typically raises a total of $4 million in a year. Amy and I have been long time ACLU supporters and I expect they will have an outsized and important role in our democracy in the next four years.

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