BETHESDA, MD (June 29, 2004) — On June 20th, CNN ran a feature story about the negative impact The Patriot Act has had on international giving. The reporter had done a previous story on the work of Bernard Krisher, an ex-journalist who has been running an economic development project in Cambodia for years and has had his project posted on GlobalGiving.com since 2003.
Due to a misunderstanding about a policy change here at GlobalGiving, Mr. Krisher thought that his project was being wrongly terminated. Mr. Krisher assumed that this policy change was solely the result of The Patriot Act and felt that he was being unfairly singled out by both GlobalGiving and the U.S. government. In fact, this was not the case. The policy change we made enables us to more effectively manage our growing project supply, ensuring that it can scale with donor demand in a way that ensures high project quality. It is an effort to keep our overhead costs down in order to provide the most efficient means of getting donations directly to social and environmental projects around the world.
Recently, GlobalGiving asked Mr. Krisher to provide additional materials in order to remain on the site . Mr. Krisher misinterpreted this request, feeling that he had been dismissed from the site.
For the purposes of quality, accountability, and scale, we at GlobalGiving have implemented new standards for posting projects. This requires that every project on the site must be sponsored by a secondary support organization that essentially vouches for each project, ensuring that it is legitimate and well-run.
The support organizations who sponsor projects, called "Project Sponsors" have deep experience in identifying and investing in grassroots initiatives . In most cases, these organizations sponsor initiatives within their portfolio. In other cases, they sponsor projects that they are jointly carrying out with partner organizations in developing countries.
The project sponsor model not only allows GlobalGiving to scale supply, but also creates a mutually beneficial relationship. Project sponsors use GlobalGiving as a viable fund-raising channel for projects they support and GlobalGiving is able to present donors with high-quality projects.
This requires that project leaders and project sponsors maintain regular communication with GlobalGiving - ensuring accountability for donations made and building relationships with donors and other project leaders.
This system enables us to deliver the highest quality projects to donors, and ensures that GlobalGiving is meeting government guidelines as presented in the Patriot Act and other international philanthropy protocols.
This system will enable GlobalGiving to meet its ultimate goal - enabling the greatest number of excellent participants in the marketplace at the lowest cost and in the most efficient manner. In the future, we intend to invest in auditing and reputation-based systems that will enable our community of donors and project leaders who have built great reputations to validate project quality.
In the meantime, while all new projects come via a project sponsor, GlobalGiving has asked project leaders who are currently on the site but do not have a project sponsor to identify a sponsor for their project. Sponsors could include a funder, an international organization with whom they've partnered, or the sponsor of an international award that has been presented to the project in question.
The CNN story
The reporter who previously ran a segment on the good work that Bernard Krisher is doing in Cambodia ran a new segment on how the Patriot Act has increased the challenges donors face in making contributions to projects led by grassroots groups overseas. Bernard's project being dropped from GlobalGiving was used to prove this point.
Though the CNN piece supported our claim that GlobalGiving, a two-year old company, lacks the resources to do extensive background checks on individual organizations like Mr. Krisher's, the piece gave considerable weight to Mr. Krisher's view that GlobalGiving had bowed to a climate of fear created by the Patriot Act.
"I blame GlobalGiving for giving in to the pressure," Krisher said. "It's GlobalGiving's own perception of what they think they shouldn't be doing. And maybe they're wrong. And maybe no one exactly told them to do this... but they want to play it safe."
We are sorry that Mr. Krisher is frustrated by our strategy and policy change. We expect to have over 400 projects this year, grassroots initiatives that despite many hurdles (including language barriers and access to email) have been agreeable to meeting GlobalGiving's sponsorship requirements. We hope that Mr. Krisher will do the things necessary to meet these requirements so that we can continue to support his project.
GlobalGiving is the emerging marketplace for international aid. It directly connects social entrepreneurs in the developing world with individuals, corporations, and institutions that have an interest in funding social, environmental, and economic development projects. Founded in 2000 by two ex-World Bank executives, GlobalGiving is growing the overall development market by engaging donors and social entrepreneurs who have historically been marginalized by the international aid system. GlobalGiving has partnerships with Visa International and Hewlett-Packard and has received financial support from the Skoll, Omidyar, Sall, William and Flora Hewlett, Mott, Kellogg and Calvert Foundations, as well as USAID. For more information, please see www.globalgiving.org.
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