ChangeFunder's mission is to change the world by facilitating direct and ongoing global connections between people of means and people of need over a single digital platform.
We believe that traditional models of international aid and charitable giving are inefficient, opaque, and in some cases, broken. But that hasn’t stopped people from giving. In 2018, individual Americans donated a combined $23 billion to international causes, more than the entire budget of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
ChangeFunder’s model combines the power of the internet with support for direct community engagement and empowerment to achieve three primary goals:
ChangeFunder is the brainchild of three entrepreneurs who want to make a contribution to a better world, by using technology to empower community leaders to share their ideas and needs, and connect them to benevolent individuals willing to support them.
The initial seed of the idea traces its origin to Lake Naivasha in Kenya, in February of 2017 where two of our founders met a Maasai tribesman named Joseph. Having spent several hours with him, hearing about his community, his family, and his efforts to help maintain his tribe's cultural heritage in the face of a rapidly-changing context, he gave us his WhatsApp contact information. That evening, under the expansive canopy of stars and possibility, we started asking why -- now that access to the internet was widely available and affordable -- there wasn't a platform that could more directly connect community leaders in developing countries or post-crisis situations over a social media platform with those who want to help; and why there was not yet a way to more directly provide them with financial support.
Soon, a more intentional planning effort was under way, leveraging the input and ideas of a core group of advisors, looking at the data, the market opportunity, and the challenges. In August 2018 the three founders incorporated ChangeFunder LLC and by the end of September 2018 they left their full-time jobs to focus on ChangeFunder's mission. Over the next 12 months, with a combination of their own resources and some initial investment from some generous supporters, the team developed an initial "alpha" platform and took it to Kenya to pilot.
Having received positive feedback and increasing interest, the team supported the establishment of a formal 501(c)3 charitable organization called ChangeFunder.org, and is now in the process of recruiting additional board members. The operations of ChangeFunder LLC and its technology platform are continuing as well, but with a formal arms-length relationship to enable its use by other global charities if needed.
ChangeFunder.org is overseen by an independent Board of Directors with relevant experience in a range of complementary sectors, including international development, financial inclusion, and philanthropy.
Our founding Board Chair is already engaged, and we expect to announce the full list of initial board members by November 2019.