It turns out the future of charity may look a lot like the future of everything else; it’s going to involve a lot of online startups. Google.org, Google’s non-profit arm — yes, Google has a non-profit arm — recently partnered with charity startup accelerator Fast Forward to hold and event that was a sort of TechCrunch Disrupt for charitable start-ups. Not only did they give the startups a chance to demonstrate what it is they do, they also donated $20,000 to each company, and offered to match all other donations dollar-for-dollar, up to $100,000 per organization.
Here are the organizations that were there, according to VentureBeat:
One Degree bills itself as a “Yelp for social services.” Its site is a directory of local nonprofits and social services that residents can learn about. They can even click through to the services they need.
Although our communities could always provide more and better resources, an even bigger problem is that people who qualify and would benefit from the existing resources often don’t know what’s available and where to find it. Many don’t even know what they qualify for.
Sirum is one part sustainability, one part heath care, and one part philanthropy. Clinics and hospitals constantly dispose of unused medications their patients didn’t take or need, sending them off to medical waste incinerators. Sirum’s team thought, “Why not collect these medications and donate them to clinics with patients who need them but can’t afford them?”
With Sirum’s app, nurses in donor clinics can upload tallies of their leftover and untampered with medications, creating a manifest of their available inventory. Sirum then finds recipient clinics in need of them.
With mobile and web technology becoming more and more accessible in developing countries, Medic Mobile is building tools that enable community health workers to better care for others.
Through parallel SIM cards, little microcontrollers that slide under the SIM card and run apps, Medic Mobile’s apps enable community health workers to register pregnancies with a local hospital, coordinate urgent care, alert clinics that their community is experiencing an outbreak, and so on. Local clinics and hospitals install Medic Mobile’s dispatch software and can keep track of these incidents. Since Medic Mobile works through the text messaging protocol, it doesn’t require an Internet connection.
Noora Health focuses on what happens to patients once they leave the hospital. Oftentimes, family members are overwhelmed and don’t have the basic skills to help their loved ones with aftercare, such as changing bandages properly and frequently, checking vital signs, or providing care that’s specific to a patient’s situation.
Noora Health takes waiting rooms and turns them into classrooms, as co-founder Katy Ashe said on Wednesday. Noora Health trains hospital and clinic employees to teach family members how to take care of patients once they go home. The health workers also teach and keep in contact with the families and patients through video-chat, since hospitals are sometimes far from where they live.
Although health and related needs are crucial, Moneythink is taking on a different kind of challenge: financial decision-making. Unfortunately for many teens and young adults, frivolous and impulsive financial choices often have huge repercussions on their lives later on.
Moneythink, created by University of Chicago alumni, started out as a year-long, in-class program for high school students in at-risk communities. Moneythink volunteers spend time every week teaching the students about money management and ways to be responsible with their finances.
But Moneythink’s team soon realized that the classroom is not where these teens are making their financial decisions — most of that takes place when they’re not in class. So the startup recently released a photo-sharing app, described as a “gamified Instagram for finances” by students, which helps them share their good decisions with their classmates.
So what do we think of the future of charity? Would you donate to any of these apps?