Location: San Francisco, California
Profession: I work on Watsi, a global crowdfunding platform for healthcare.
What was the first charitable gift you ever gave?:
I started trick or treating for UNICEF when I was in preschool! I guess that’s collecting and giving away other people’s money. But I remember how good it felt to send in my contributions every year. With so many problems in the world, it felt good to be a part of a solution.
The first time I ever donated my own money was to Human Rights Watch. I’ve always been blown away by their work. I think ensuring a strong, independent defender of global human rights is one of the most important things we can fund in the world.
What inspired you to launch Watsi?:
It’s seemed crazy to me that despite the world being more connected than ever before, we hadn’t figured out a way to use those human connections to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems, like lack of access to healthcare. The world is getting smaller, and I saw Watsi as an opportunity to connect people and make it better.
What was unique experience being a part of Y Combinator as a nonprofit?
The most surprising thing was that we weren’t all that different than the for profits!
Who or what inspires you to give?:
Getting to know real, individual people, who are more like me than they are different, inspires me to want to participate in their lives in a useful way.
What motivates you to give?:
The idea that I can make a real impact on someone’s life.
How do you give of your time?:
For most of my life I’ve given of my time by volunteering (I volunteered at a ton of nonprofits in high school and college, and we built the first version of Watsi as volunteers). Now that Watsi is my full-time gig, I’d say I give of my time by supporting other great organizations whenever I can.
What advice do you have for others to consider giving?
Find a cause that’s meaningful to you. Do some research to make sure you understand where your money’s going and who it’s helping. And remember that for almost every nonprofit on the planet, your vocal support is just as valuable as your financial support. Telling your friends, family, and coworkers about where you give creates waves of impact beyond what you can do on your own.