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Hope Equity: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

June 27, 2008

Hope_equity_2The Web is a cool place. And thanks to a newly relaunched site called Hope Equity®, it just got a little cooler. The brainchild of the folks at the Heifer Foundation, a spinoff of Heifer International, the widely admired international-aid organization, the site aims to make endowment giving easy and accountable to donors interested in causes and projects related to hunger, poverty, and environmental conservation. The main innovation of the site is something called Micro-Endowments™, which function like typical endowments (the principal remains intact and only the income goes to work toward the designated cause) -- with a major difference: Your endowment gift can be of any size.

The existing Micro-Endowments™ on the site, many of which originally were set up to support the foundation's work, are dedicated to activities in a specific country (e.g., Cameroon, Ghana, Nepal, Nicaragua, the U.S.), a specific cause (disaster recovery, economic development, gender equity, health), or a specific population (Native Americans, women, youth at risk). If you're not drawn to any of those, you can set up your own Micro-Endowment™ -- in fact, you can set up as many you'd like, designating each to be either public or private. And the latest in social networking technology makes it easy for you to monitor the size of your gifts, see when funds are allocated, read about the progress of the projects you are supporting, and connect with other like-minded donors.

As I said, an idea whose time has come. If you don't know the site, take a few minutes to check it out; you'll be amazed at how far online fundraising has come.

(And while you're at it, be sure to cast your vote in this week's PND Poll, which asks: How long will it take for online giving to fundamentally alter the charitable giving landscape? To cast your vote, visit: http://foundationcenter.org/pnd/.)

-- Mitch Nauffts

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