When I Got My Philanthropic Act Together

When I Got My Philanthropic Act Together


4 years of craigconnects

Hey folks, I started doing a lot of philanthropic stuff around 2000 or so, after getting a good sense of my personal mission. This was around the same time people helped my understand that, as a manager, I kinda suck, and decided I was much better devoting myself (at CL) to customer service.

Several years ago, I decided to get my philanthropic act together, ultimately to help everyone have a voice and even power via the Internet.


Here's what doing good has looked like at craigconnects the past 4 years…

Crowdfunding Charity Challenges

  • Holiday Challenges – I really believe in giving back (always have). It's important to collaborate, help one another, and create the change we want, and that takes time. It's really important to give back to our communities.
    • Since I first started supporting the CrowdRise's annual Holiday Challenge in 2013, a total of $6.4 million + has been raised for charities creating real change.
    • Some of the top winners have included:
      • Cure JM Foundation, which helps advance Juvenile Myositis (JM) research, a rare and life-threatening autoimmune condition affecting mostly children.
      • US Friends of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, who supports and cares for orphaned elephants in Africa.
      • Hope and Opportunity Through Literacy supports education and health programs for the poor living in Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Africa, Portugal, and the United States.
      • Wildlife SOS, who's responsible for taking action against animal cruelty, rescuing wildlife in distress, working to resolve man-animal conflicts while promoting and educating the public about the need for habitat protection.
  • Veterans Charity Challenge – It's my philosophy that if someone's willing to serve overseas and risk taking a bullet for me, I should give back at least a little. Also, everyone should remember that it's not only a troop serving, it's also their family who gives up a lot for all of us.
    • Since we started the Veterans Charity Challenge in 2013, a total of $793K + has been raised for nonprofits that really have their boots on the ground supporting America's heroes, including vets and their families.
    • Some of the top winners have included:
      •  Warrior Canine Connection (WCC), who utilizes clinically based Canine Connection Therapy to empower returning combat Veterans who have sustained physical and psychological wounds while in service to our country.
      • Dogs on Deployment, which gives military members peace of mind concerning their pets during their service commitments by providing them with the ability to find people and resources able to help them.
      • Leave No Veteran Behind (LNVB), which focuses on innovative educational debt relief scholarship, community service, employment training, and job placement programs. LNVB invests in heroes who have honorably served our nation and seek to continue their service as productive citizens in their communities.
      • Honoring the Path of the Warrior, which provides returning veterans a safe environment and enables them to rediscover meaning, purpose, and joy in their lives through mindfulness, meditation, and community.
    • Upcoming: Stay tuned for the 2015 Veterans Charity Challenge.
  • Infographic – Cracking the Crowdfunding Code, We researched and released this data to show you just how effective and accessible crowdfunding can be. Crowdfunding raised more than $5B worldwide in 2013, and peer-to-peer nonprofit fundraising for charities is seeing explosive growth.


  • Bottom line: (to reiterate,) if someone volunteers to risk taking a bullet to protect me, I should stand up and help out. This might date back to my mid-teens, towards the end of the Vietnam war. I saw returning vets getting treated without respect. At that time, I knew that was wrong, but couldn't articulate it.
  • Nerd-in-Residence: The Department of Veterans Affairs has named me "Nerd-in-Residence." You can find more under VA team bios > Craig Newmark. Far as my team's concerned, this makes me the biggest nerd in the USA…maybe the world.

Journalism Integrity

Voter Suppression and Voting Efforts

  • Bottom line: My deal is that people across the world remind me that the US really is "the shining city on the hill." I really feel seriously that this really is our civic duty, a shared responsibility to our communities and families to vote.Some politicians have tried to manipulate voting laws for their benefit, that's not right. We need integrity in our elections and voting that's free, fair, and accessible.
  • InfographicThink You Have the Right to Vote? Not So Much! – This is about voter protection, and I've continued to support efforts to make sure everyone has a fair chance to vote.
  • InfographicExtra, Extra, Read All About It – The poll we conducted to create this infographic addressed the question, do people still trust the news during election season?

Women in Tech

  • Bottom line: Women and girls still face a lot of obstacles in shaping technologies. The digital gender divide might be getting worse. Women and girls everywhere are missing, underrepresented, and dropping out from technology fields.As a result, today's tech – and increasingly today's world – does not reflect the diversity of women's experiences or ingenuity.This isn't fair, it's not treating people like you want to be treated.
  • My team and I make an effort to highlight folks who are the real deal. Here are just a few lists of women creating change:
  • InfographicThe Rise of Online Harassment – This released data about how prevalent and harmful online harassment is. You might not be surprised to learn that women are harassed more often than men. One thing that the majority agreed on was that the current laws about online and in-person harassment either aren't strong enough or are nonexistent.
  • Upcoming: I'm supporting the Women Startup Challenge and TeleSummit. This is something you can get involved with in the next month.

Tech for Good and Public Diplomacy

  • Bottom line: Folks who are in working for good in the public sector are the real deal. Public teachers are a great case, doing mission critical work for little recognition and less pay. Once in a while they find students they prize, who show real promise, and that can be rewarding. Otherwise, it can be a tough life, worse when you feel the need to pay out-of-pocket for needed supplies, like pens and paper, with low pay. If you want to help, check out DonorsChoose.org.
  • I support the Ekialo Kiona Center (EK Center) and the Organic Health Response, and they're creating real change. I get updates every so often, and I like to share the good work they're doing. They seek to activate information technology, social solidarity, and environmental sustainability to turn the tide against HIV/AIDS across Lake Victoria (in Kenya).

My team and I have supported lots of issues over the last four years, and will continue living by the philosophy "doing well by doing good" for the next twenty, or more. One of those efforts is supporting the work Roya Mahboob's doing to teach Afghani girls about technology (important and dangerous work).

The big thing I've learned here is that for me, tech skills and money aren't what gets the job done. What works is bearing witness to the good works of others. This can work partly through helping 'em get their social networks going, by sharing their stuff and supporting their work.



Stuart Smith

Pretty serious good your doing there Craig. May I suggest helping with bikes in the city's and expanding recycling further.

Ivonne Teoh

Thanks Craig! That is great work that you & your network are doing. I also support The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust & other charities. Giving back or paying it forward is rewarding. Keep up the good work!


Hi Craig,
I watch all these people spending money in other countries and in cities and see two underserved places that need help and get very little. First–Native Americans. Have you ever visited any reservations? Reservations have the highest rates of both alcoholism and violence against women. Health care is bad. Most of this because most reservations in isolated areas where job prospects almost nil. They have little hope.
For all we owe the Native Americans, it seems more people should be concerned and reach out. I am not touting for any particular charity here–just a heads up.

The other place is rural America. There are a lot of people who are trying to maintain rural lifestyles and yet not be totally excluded from modern America.
Places where you have to drive 30 miles or more to get groceries or see a doctor.
People who live on old pioneer family farms, or who moved to the country to grow healthy food and keep their kids away from gangs, etc. Or war vets who need to be away from people. I would love to see one of those small loan foundations to lend rural people money to start small businesses as they try to live a country lifestyle and still find ways to make a living. It is very difficult to make a living just doing small scale farming. We have a Grange in this valley with a kitchen that could easily be upgraded to a commercial kitchen where locals could go and make jams, syrups, nut butters, etc for sale locally, for instance. But the Grange, which had been closed 10 years and has just been resurrected, just doesn't have the money for the needed upgrades. Yet there are 10,000 families in this valley trying to hang on.
Anyway, something for you to think about. Not that you haven't given a lot already.

Sarala T. Iyer

I want to join the good & Socio noble cause.Kindly update me the process

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