"Join with BitPay, Xapo, LibraTax, Roger Ver and others who kicked off an initial fundraising campaign that began last week for the BitGive Foundation. They are raising initial funds for capacity and their long term fund for charitable giving. BitGive welcomes support through their Founding Donors Campaign and Membership Program for organizations and individual donors who wish to support the organization’s mission."
To support the BitGive Foundation, donations are being accepted at: http://bitgivefoundation.org/
"BitGive Foundation has become the first nonprofit bitcoin organization to achieve 501(c)(3) status, meaning the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officially recognizes it as a charitable organization in the US. - CoinDesk Magazine
Connie Gallippi has worked with non-profit organizations for over 14 years, specializing in strategic consulting, policy, funding assistance, and program management for environmental organizations in California. She founded the BitGive Foundation after learning about Bitcoin in its early years, recognizing its tremendous social value and the potential for capital formation, and having a desire to benefit charitable causes worldwide.
WA: Can you briefly tell us about yourself and your background?
CG: I am originally from Maryland and have been in California since 2000. My degree is a Bachelor of Science in Forestry and Natural Resource Management from Virginia Tech. My career path prior to Bitcoin (and still currently as my “day job”) has been in the environmental field. My background is in working for and with nonprofits in the environmental field in California. I have been working in this realm for over 14 years and more than half of that time has been spent working on policy and funding strategies, from mostly public funding sources. The nonprofit world is very challenged financially to do the good work they do.
WA: What inspired you to create Bitgive foundation as a charity to leverage the power of the Bitcoin community to improve public health and the environment worldwide?
CG: I attended the Bitcoin Foundation's first conference in San Jose, CA in May of 2013 just for fun, with no intention of getting directly involved. I just wanted to visit family and learn more about Bitcoin. There was a lot of great energy and innovation there. The conference was full of bright young entrepreneurs, brilliant computer programmers and financial professionals, and numerous investors - from Angel investors to venture capitalists. I have always seen the potential for bitcoin as a game changer on many levels; and with this level of intelligence, energy, and investment funds behind it, I knew it was going to take off and be very significant.
I saw the potential for bitcoin to be very significant – the next .com boom for sure - and wanted to find a way to capture the revolutionary technology and its anticipated profits and gains for charitable causes.
WA: Based on your experience working with non-profit organizations for over 14 years, what do you think are the main advantages of using Bitcoin as their financial system?
CG: I think the most revolutionary aspect of Bitcoin’s technology allows funds to be sent to anyone anywhere at any time – direct transactions without banks or government intervening. For nonprofits working overseas this is a tremendous revolution. We can move money to where the need is without getting bogged down in the many steps, which also open the transaction up to fraud.
The second, or perhaps equally beneficial, aspect of Bitcoin to nonprofits is the reduction in fees. Currently, nonprofits are paying up to 3% in transaction fees for credit cards or PayPal. Additional fees are charged if you are transferring funds overseas and also for banking fees on either end of the equation.
Another great benefit of Bitcoin is that it provides an avenue of freedom to give to causes and organizations that are of personal importance when donors may not feel comfortable having their charitable gifts be public knowledge for a variety of reasons. We face a number of issues today that are politically charged or polarizing; and yet many are extremely important issues that must be addressed. Bitcoin offers a way to support such causes without public scrutiny or backlash.
WA: How do you see the future of Bitcoin for non-profits, especially for those that are operating in developing countries?
CG: Peer-to-peer transactions anytime, anywhere allow us to access the most remote places of the world directly with aid and support. Of course the technology is new and pieces of the ecosystem are still being put into place; however, soon through SMS transactions, we will be able to reach the need – directly. This blows open a global donor market in a single consistent currency to charitable organizations working in the most remote and impoverished parts of the world.
The Water Project - BitGive Foundation
WA: What do you think of Women's Annex Foundation's operations, using digital currencies to support digital literacy globally, starting from Afghanistan?
CG: The Women’s Annex Foundation is a central piece of my inspiration! I absolutely love what you are doing. It is the pure essence of what I see is the most exciting and powerful aspects of Bitcoin - using the revolutionary technology to help people! I personally am extremely impressed with the work the Women’s Annex is doing and love the integration of Bitcoin for the further empowerment of the women learning and working with the Women’s Annex Foundation. The BitGive Foundation also has partnered with the Women’s Annex Foundation and would love to do more to support their mission in Afghanistan and as they expand into other countries and parts of the world.
Fereshteh Forough - Bitlanders Senior Editor