Celebs Pump $25 Million into Social Change
18 December 2014 at 10:58 am
What do Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Arianna Huffington and Ashton Kutcher have in common?
Aside from all having healthy cheque books, they have all joined a list of well known business leaders and celebrities that have committed to donating a combined $25 million to support a global petition website.
Change.org, which receives funding from Not for Profits including Amnesty International and the Humane Society in return for hosting their petitions, announced that it had secured a $25 million investment in order to increase its influence.
Founder and CEO of Change.org, Ben Rattray, said the money would mean more people would be able to use the internet to instigate social change.
“Our new investors include Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, Ashton Kutcher & Guy Oseary, and the founders of many of the largest Internet platforms, including Linkedin, Twitter, Yahoo!, and eBay,” Rattray said.
“This investment represents the next step on our path to building the largest network of people taking social action ever assembled, and gives us the opportunity to transform the nature of civic participation globally.”
Describing the website as the largest social change platform in the world, Rattray said it was important that everyday people could be given a voice.
“We’ve grown from 35 million to more than 80 million users in 196 countries. Our users now win nearly one campaign every hour of every day on a vast range of issues — from getting people access to life-saving Diabetes drugs in Argentina, to helping stop acid attacks on women in India, to persuading police around the U.S. to wear body cameras,” he said.
“We have also hired top executives from leading technology companies like Google, Twitter, and Netflix, and expanded our global staff to support citizen movements in 20 of the world’s largest democracies.
“Yet as much as we have accomplished, we have much further to go. For as long as there are people in the world who feel they have no voice and as long as leaders in business or government are making decisions that are disconnected from the public interest, we will have not fully lived up to the challenge and opportunity in front of us.”
Petitions posted on Change.org have made international headlines, such as one that called on the killer of 17-year-old African American student Trayvon Martin to be prosecuted, which recieved more than 2.2 million signatures.
Rattray said much of the $25 million raised would go towards expanding the organisation’s engineering team with a goal of pushing online petitions into the mobile domain.