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Bitcoin: Aiding Charities Across The Globe

Bitcoin has seen a lot of growth this year, and charities are jumping on board. Not only have bitcoiners started new unique charities, and donation drives, some of the worlds largest charitable organisations have started accepting bitcoin too.

charity quote1Donation Cup

While people watched football games and enjoyed festivities, during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, 10 Bitcoin companies got together to run the bitcoin Donation Cup. Led by BitPay, Volunteers canvassed the crowds at stadiums, holding signs with a QR code, encouraging bitcoin donations.

The donations from the volunteers and companies went to one of 12 Latin American charities supporting women right’s, community development, and increasing literacy.

“This is a great opportunity for BitPay to support many important charities throughout the world while introducing bitcoin to fans throughout South America.” – BitPay’s Latin America Regional Manager, Albert Vega

United Way

At $4.27 B in annual revenue, United Way is the largest US charity by donations size. In September the charity started accepting bitcoin for it’s Innovation Fund. The fund is used to build stronger communities by improving education, financial stability and health.

The CEO of the 127 year old organization, Brian A. Gallagher, said in a press release bitcoin allows the organization to be more efficient and reach its goals.  "Achieving United Way’s vision for the world – where all individuals and families achieve their human potential – requires innovation powered by new technology and outreach methods." He went on to say, "In that spirit, integrating Bitcoin donations with the United Way Worldwide Innovation Fund helps us achieve this crucial goal."

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Mozilla is an international charity dedicated to free and open source software. Since 1998 Mozilla has fostered a community of developers who have created numerous open source pieces of software, including the Firefox browser, Firefox Mobile OS and Thunderbird email client.

After a year of considering the possibility, the organization decided to accept bitcoin donations in November due to customer demand. “We’ve heard this request in discussion forums, Reddit threads, and via email and social media. We listened, and now Bitcoin is one of the many ways individuals can support Mozilla." – Mozilla spokesperson

Medic Mobile

Medic Mobile is a mobile app for healthcare workers, allowing them to track disease outbreaks, medical supplies, and other related information. It is currently being used by over 7,000 healthcare workers in Asia, Latin America, and Africa.

"We build mobile and web tools that help health workers provide better care that reaches everyone." – Medic Mobile

Capitalizing on the explosive adoption of mobile phones in Africa and other developing markets, Medic Mobile uses apps to empower overworked and under resourced hospitals. The app helps users to harness the power of cheap telecommunications in the region, aiding the effective service of local communities.

The BitGive Foundation, a non-profit promoting the use of bitcoin by charities, delivered Medic Mobile its first bitcoin donations. The charity participated in Bitcoin Giving Tuesday, a day dedicated to charitable bitcoin donations, and received bitcoin donations directly.

“We are excited to partner with the BitGive Foundation and offer a way for Bitcoin’s passionate community to support our mission. Every donation helps support community health workers in the hardest-to-reach places.” – CEO of Medic Mobile, Josh Nesbit

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Unlike many charities, Greenpeace USA is not afraid of using radical tactics, even going to jail to make their message clear. Members have been fined, banned, and jailed for various acts of protests against degradation of the environment, and the development or use of nuclear weapons.

Their controversial tactics and hostile relations with many powerful corporations and governments is one of the reasons they chose to accept bitcoin. Besides their interest in the cheaper transaction fees, and using cutting edge technologies, the increased privacy, and protection of free speech were key reasons why the US chapter of the charity decided to  accept the digital currency.

One of their recent successful protests was ending Lego’s long standing promotion deal with Shell. Though many forms of protest tried, the one that sealed the deal and stopped Shell themed logo sets was a youtube video. The video was made using only lego, depicting the Arctic and its many inhabitants being swallowed up by oil as Shell drilled in the region.

Save the Children

Save the Children is a charity focused on the welfare of children. They provide education, health services, and emergency reflief to children in numerous countries including Afghanistan, China, the Philippines and the United States.

The charity’s first exposure to bitcoin was through their partnership with the BitGive Foundation last year, raising funds for the disaster relief efforts of Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Haiyan, one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, caused around 6,300 deaths and 600,000 people were evacuated from their homes. With the help of the bitcoin community, BitGive raised $4,850  dollars worth of bitcoins in one day for the charity.

Save the Children’s director of digital marketing and social media, Ettore Rossetti, explained why they added the currency. “Accepting bitcoin donations seemed like a natural next step for us.” She went on to say, “We have already seen the generosity of the bitcoin community, and working with BitPay allows us to keep 100% of the donations, helping us serve even more children.”

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross is one of the longest lasting charities in America. Since 1881 the charity has been providing disaster relief to victims of hurricanes, plane crashes, and numerous other disasters. They also provide Americans basic health and wellbeing services. They hold regular classes around the country on important medical training like CPR.

The distinguished charity teamed up with a bitcoin payment processor in late November to start accepting Bitcoins. “The Red Cross is thrilled to partner with BitPay to offer a different way for generous donors to support our humanitarian mission,” said Jennifer Niyangoda, executive director of Corporate and Foundation Programs. “This gives a new generation of supporters the opportunity to help people in need.”

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Wikimedia Foundation

The San Francisco, California based non-profit, Wikimedia foundation, runs the popular free online encyclopedia, Wikipedia. Wikipedia is one of the largest sources of information on the internet. The website hosts user created articles that anyone can edit or contribute to. A wide variety of topics can be found, ranging from nuclear physics, 18th century exploration of the Amazon rainforest, to obscure foreign films. The online encyclopedia ranks in the top ten most visited websites worldwide and is available in numerous languages.

“It has always been important to the Foundation to make sure donating is as simple and inclusive as possible. Currently, we accept 13 different payment methods enabling donations from nearly every country in the world, and today, we’re adding one more: bitcoin.” – WikiMedia Foundation

Bitcoin Against Ebola

While talking to one of the few bitcoin accepting charities fighting the spread of Ebola in west African countries, Beam, a Ghanan bitcoin remittance company, saw an opportunity to help. “I was talking with the guys at Sierra Leone Liberty Group one day (they were one of, if not, the first Ebola related charities to accept Bitcoin) about how they are converting their BTC to the local currency and they told me that they send the Bitcoins to their friends in the USA who then changes them to USD on Coinbase and then Western Union the money over.”

Shocked by the inefficiency and cost of the system, he decided to use Beam’s remittance platform to send bitcoin donations to charities fighting the Ebola outbreak. After partnering with mobile payment services and charities in Sierra Leone, the Bitcoin Against Ebola campaign was launched.

Working with three charities, Beam allows you to send bitcoin to any of the participating charities for a flat 2% fee, according to the company that is 10% lower compared to traditional methods. Several minutes after the time of your donation, the charities will have the money in their hands and ready to use for the fight against the deadly disease.

“I received the amount within 10 mins and was able to buy the supplies immediately. Before Bitcoin Against Ebola, we had to use Western Union which was expensive and would take very long.” – Mustapha Cole, Sierra Leone Liberty Group


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