• Dec. 9, 2016, 1:43 am

CaringCrowd supports public health

“The better part of the world doesn’t have access to healthcare,”  Derek Fetzer said. “We were looking for a better way to engage that.”

That better way led to the development of CaringCrowd, a crowdfunding platform dedicated to addressing global health issues through the power of the crowd.

Mr. Fetzer is a featured speaker at the fifth annual Global CrowdFunding Convention. Held at the Planet Hollywood Las Vegas from Oct. 15-17, the Global Crowdfunding Convention features discussions with more than 60 of the top crowdfunding experts from equity, reward and donation crowdfunding. Many top angel investors will also be in attendance.

CaringCrowd's Derek Fetzer

CaringCrowd’s Derek Fetzer

Derek Fetzer is well-positioned to address global health issues. He has more than two decades of experience in different industries across the United States, Latin America and the European Union. For the past decade he has worked in the infectious disease sector on HIV/AIDS, HCV and tuberculosis product launches.

Working with colleague John Brennick, Mr. Fetzer wanted to look at new initiatives that could benefit public health. They proposed the concept of CaringCrowd to the senior leadership at Johnson and Johnson, who powers the CaringCrowd platform and matches all donations (up to $250 per person per project) until a $100,000 cap is reached.

CaringCrowd is a crowdfunding site solely dedicated to public health. Project owners find donors and people supportive of public health can find projects in need of immediate funding. Any U.S.-based registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization can post a project at no cost.

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Mr. Fetzer said only projects which raise 100 percent of their goals receive funding, as it is hard to safeguard the integrity of donations if a project they support cannot proceed. Times on the platform range from 15 to 90 days and projects may raise up to 110 percent of their goal.

CaringCrowd provides the infrastructure and access to an audience interested in public health and encourages the individual organization to reach out to its supporters. While CaringCrowd has future plans to promote the platform it does not plan on promoting individual projects, Mr. Fetzer said.

One of the many reasons Mr. Fetzer loves the crowdfunding model is because it simplifies coordination. Instead of going back and forth to potential funders and revising proposals, organizations can present their project to the crowd and let them immediately decide whether or not to support it.

Best of all the CaringCrowd does not charge project owners for platform usage.

People in the developed world need to remember even small donations go a long way. $2,200 expands mental health services to people in northern Uganda struggling with the effects of war. $3,000 empowers Kenyan girls. $6,000 provides care for critically ill mothers and infants in Malawi. CaringCrowd projects range from $1,000-$30,000.

“One project provided pediatric heart surgery in India,” Mr. Fetzer said. “At $1,000 per person it’s incredibly inexpensive for such an important surgery.”

While most of CaringCrowd’s current projects are based in the developing world, there are plenty of needs in the United States that would qualify on CaringCrowd. After all, health is a universal concern.

“Health is central to everybody’s lives,” Mr. Fetzer said. “And public health that translates into a benefit for so many. As people are recognizing we are living in an interconnected world everyone’s health is related to everyone else’s health.”

Think SARS or ebola. Many global health issues can be treated most inexpensively in the developing world. A lengthy treatment regimen for tuberculosis in some regions costs less than $100.

“I love this whole notion of democratizing funding,” Mr. Fetzer said. “It makes it easier for these organizations close to the ground to access funds.”

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