Five Wharton students are proving that not even a failing financial market can curb the desire to donate.
Givology.org, a new nonprofit Web site developed by a group of 2008 Wharton alumni, gives users a more participatory role in making donations to improve worldwide education.
The Web site partners with non-profit organizations, local communities and schools to sponsor education grants and infrastructure projects like schools and libraries for impoverished students and communities in other countries.
Current partners include Phelex Foundation, Peach Foundation, and Zhuhai Charity Federation, which all provide education outreach in rural China, the area Givology's field operations are currently limited to.
The idea started in April 2008 with a mutual goal by the group to blend their interests in development and education. At the beginning of September, the Web site went live and the rest is history, said Jennifer Chen, president of Givology.
Even though the site was only started a few months ago, the team is already in preparation for worldwide expansion.
"We decided to start in China because I had worked with Phelex there before and knew the right people to contact," said Chen. "But we're already looking into partnerships in Iran, Ecuador, Vietnam and India."
These partners conduct field visits to collect information about students and projects in need of support.
The data is then posted on the site to be shared with donors who can search the profiles and target donations to individuals, communities, and projects of their choice.
"Givology springs from our motto 'Give to learn, learn to give,' where the philosophy of giving is something that can be mastered through learning to give," said Xiang Li, the group's vice president.
Once a student or project is fully funded, the donations are aggregated and funds are transferred to field partners who give the amount to the intended recipient.
"This is something that actually helps children directly and is transparent enough for users to feel connected to the people they help," said Chen.
Through the messaging and blogging system, donors can send messages to students, as well as receive updates on their progress.
"Givology strives to help those in need of education, and that's a message that needs to be spread," said Wharton sophomore Catherine Gao, who recently joined Givology as a marketing associate.
"I think one of the core solutions to solving a lot of the problems we face in the world is through education," she said.
Givology's homepage also posts a daily updated report of the "Total Impact" of their efforts, which come out to $1,040 in 50 donations to 19 students since it went live. There are 54 total donors registered.
"One common thread that ties us all together is our belief that the circumstances in which a child is born into should not dictate his or her future, " said Li.
"With the help of philanthropic individuals, their small Internet donations can become a powerful sum that will let students and communities take ownership of their futures."Comments powered by Disqus
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