After ten fabulous years at GlobalGiving, I fully turned over the reins to my co-founder, Mari Kuraishi, at the end of December. This completes a transition that we began in 2008.
Although the decision to step down was hard, I feel that now is the right time. We have proven the concept, established a world-class online platform, and made a big impact. When we started ten years ago, the idea of an open-access approach to aid and philanthropy seemed radical; it is now becoming the new norm.
To date, we have helped direct over $47 million to 3,000 organizations in 110 countries. This funding has come from nearly 140,000 individual donors as well as from many of the world’s most innovative companies, along with their employees and customers. We have been featured in over forty books and countless magazine articles, radio and TV pieces, and online media. Our success has spurred similar initiatives in other sectors and countries, and we now partner with some of these organizations to push the whole sector ahead.
Our accomplishments and momentum are the product of an amazing team here at GlobalGiving. Our people are stellar, but more importantly they all work together like a finely oiled machine. Our project team, donor team, business development team, tech team, finance team, and operations team work seamlessly. They can move new ideas, opportunities, and features from concept to execution and evaluation faster than any organization I have ever worked with. I really am in awe of the people I have had the privilege to work with at GlobalGiving.
In late 2000, Mari and I left the World Bank to pursue a simple idea: that everyone in the world with an idea for improving their world should be able to have their voice heard. We believed that any person, company, or organization should be able to support the ideas directly. Not everyone would succeed, of course, but everyone would have an opportunity. We had spent our previous careers in aid agencies that granted access to ideas and funding to only a select few. We thought the time had come for an open-access market connecting ideas with funding that provided a level playing field for all bona fide participants.
We also felt that with open access should come increased transparency and accountability – and an emphasis on continuous improvement. Our idea was that groups seeking funding should have their proposals displayed publicly, should be willing to answer questions from potential supporters, and should provide frequent updates on the site so that donors could see the impact of their support. We felt that beneficiaries and others should be able to post reviews and comments on the site for everyone to see. We felt that organizations that learn and adapt should be encouraged and rewarded. We felt that donors should be able to talk to each other about which projects and organizations they supported, and why.
Though we have not yet achieved everything we set out to do, the bottom line is this: For the first time in history, any group pursuing good in the world can now have its voice heard. And donors of all sizes are empowered to make a tangible contribution to good in the world by connecting to those groups. I could not be more proud of that.
Even as I turn over all day-to-day responsibility to Mari, I will remain very active in GlobalGiving. I will be out there raising awareness, raising money, and advancing the mission. I believe that over the last ten years we have laid the foundation for our next act, in which GlobalGiving’s impact will be ten times greater. I intend to help make that happen.
In the first half of 2011, I plan to devote more time to writing and speaking on the general concepts behind GlobalGiving, which are applicable in many other sectors and endeavors. During that time I will do some consulting for organizations that are looking to break down barriers so that they can unleash the potential of their own people, constituents, and customers.
Finally, I want to thank you for your encouragement and support over the years. We could not have done it without you, and I am profoundly grateful for what you have done, in ways both big and small.