Within the philanthropy world, we mainly hear about one certain philanthropist at a time. For example, Jeff Bezos $2 billion donation to start the Day 1 Foundation but what about his company, Amazon? Over the past year, big organisations, such as Amazon and Microsoft, have added new corporate investment to their strategies. Finding new and exciting ways for people to donate money to the causes they care about whilst becoming ‘corporation philanthropist’.
The Power of an Amazon Smile
Even though this has been around since 2013, there are many people who have never heard of Amazon Smile. But this year they were able to hit a massive milestone, having donated $100 million to over 1 million charities.
Amazon Smile is a philanthropy-based version of Amazon itself. It is the exact same site that we know (and love) but instead of you simply purchasing your items, a small percentage of the price (0.5%) goes to a charity of your choice.
To set this up, you simply have to use the URL smile.amazon.com. No new user account is required, and you get the chance to choose your favourite charity from a huge list. The list includes well-known not-for-profits such as WWF and ASPCA but you can also search by location or name to find local charities near you.
Yes, 0.5% isn’t a huge amount of money, but when it is at no extra cost to the user and due to how easy it is (as well as the fact they currently sell over 606 million products) this can quickly become a large sum of money. So next time you are buying something through the largest online retailer, use Smile instead.
This year is also the first year that Amazon has made a donation to Wikipedia. As you may know, Wikipedia is a free, collaborative encyclopedia which relies heavily on donations and volunteers to keep it running. Voice assistants, such as Alexa, Siri and Google Home, are becoming more and more popular thanks to their ability to answer any of wildest questions. However, these pieces of tech don’t have the answers. They simply use the internet, and more precisely Wikipedia for their information.
Google and Apple have donated large sums to Wikipedia in the past, and even have repeat donations set up to never miss a payment. However, until this year, Amazon had offered nothing. Thankfully, they saw the error of their ways and has now donated $1 million to the online encyclopedia. Hopefully, this won’t be the last…
Microsoft Goes Viral
There are some things that nobody can resist, whether individual or a tech giant and a Facebook post by Okwura Kwadwo is one of them. Kwadwo was teaching an ICT class in Betenase Junior High School, Sekyedumase (Ashanti Region, Ghana), but struggle due to lack of resources.
Kwadwo and his class had no computers, therefore teaching ICT proved to be difficult. However, he didn’t let this stop him, and drew the layout of Microsoft Word on a chalkboard to help his class learn the layout and features of the software. Taking to Facebook, Kwadwo wrote “Teaching ICT in Ghana’s school is very funny. ICT on the board paa. I love ma students so have to do what will make them understand what am teaching” with a photo attached.
This post instantly went viral, catching the attention of entrepreneur Rebecca Enonchong, who quickly sent it on to Microsoft with the idea to fund the school with the appropriate equipment. Microsoft jumped at the chance to help with Warren La Fleur, Education Lead for West East and Central Africa at Microsoft saying, “As a technology brand that is on a mission to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more — Microsoft believes that enablement must start at grassroots level – by way of education.”
Microsoft partnered with eSolutions Consulting, a local Education partner in Ghana and were able to equip Okwura Kwadwo with a teaching device as well as setting up a computer lab that includes ‘devices for students and lab teacher, tables and chairs, school uniforms, mathematical sets, device security storage units, 1-year free 3G connectivity, a projector, screen, UPS back up and routers. All devices will also be provided with Office Professional Plus software.’
This isn’t all the Tech giants have been apart of this year. As a surprise to some, Microsoft has joined the open source community and has donated 60,000 patents. This does leave them without a certain form of security however means for the users, that the technology is streamlined through different software and technology. This could also lead to new and exciting pieces of tech to be discovered thanks to the help of their patents.
As well as donating equipment to colleges all around the world. Such as computer equipment valued at $60,000 to Big Bend Community College (BBCC). Let’s hope this philanthropy continues on through 2019.
An Apple a Day
Hurricane Florence was a huge natural disaster, leaving thousands of people without food or water. Many companies did their part to help, including Google (matching up to $1 million in donations) and Apple donation $1 million to the Red Cross for hurricane relief.
The Carolinas are in our hearts. To our employees there, first responders and everyone in Hurricane Florence’s path, please stay safe. To help those affected, Apple is donating $1M to the Red Cross.
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) September 14, 2018
This isn’t the first time Apple has jumped in to help after a natural disaster, having donated $2 million to the American Red Cross after Hurricane Harvey in Texas. Apple has also created a feature to make it easier for users to donate after natural disasters for Hurricane relief through iTunes.
Everyone loves limited edition items, and this especially counts if a portion of the profits goes to charity. Apple has had a long relationship with the charity The Global Fund to help fight HIV and aids. They had already donated $160 million to the charity, which is more than certain countries!
To take their contribution one step further they have released a new iPhone, called Product(RED). This is the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in a beautiful shade of red. Last year they released the same for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, which raised $30 million and this year is expecting to have more due to the new beautiful design. A classier red and a black front are leaving people in awe. This not only helps raise money for the charity but also brings some much-needed awareness for the cause.
It’s not just about raising money, Apple has also donated 1,000 watches to a research study to help research binge eating disorder and bulimia nervosa. The report quotes “Researchers will monitor their heart rate using the device’s sensor over the course of a month to see if there are spikes before binge eating episodes. It’s likely that a binging and purging episode would cause some biological change that would show up in the Apple Watch data.”
It’s amazing the things technology can help within the philanthropy field, through donations, research and collaboration. It’s also great to see big corporations using their status and wealth to help people all over the world. We hope to see more of this happening next year and the following years to come.