Add Connie Gallippi’s name to the list of creative minds who immediately saw new and exciting uses for Bitcoin and the blockchain.
Ms. Gallippi is the founder and executive director of BitGive, the first Bitcoin 501 (c)(3) nonprofit, a designation providing it federal tax exempt status in the United States. BitGive offers service and humanitarian organizations practical applications for Bitcoin.
Ms. Gallippi said her background is in the environmental field, where she spent most of the past 15 years working for non-profit agencies. She was working for such an agency when she first heard about Bitcoin.
“I learned about Bitcoin and the blockchain and I immediately saw the opportunity for it to be revolutionary like the internet,” she recalled.
In 2013 Ms. Gallippi founded BitGive to capture the successful elements she saw in Bitcoin and the blockchain and deploy them for philanthropic use.
Four years ago is an eternity in the crypto space, and back then Ms. Gallippi admits she was early to the game. So she spent those first years establishing relationships with foundations and reaching out to educate non-profits about what Bitcoin and the blockchain are and telling them why they should care. At first, the obvious attraction was the ability to move money much more quickly and safely.
“Then we transitioned,” Ms. Gallippi said. “When the focus was on transparency we were ready.
“At the time there was big excitement, a big push for merchants to accept Bitcoin. Some (nonprofits) wanted to be part of that bandwagon with fundraising, others saw it as an avenue to Silicon Valley, and others saw it as a way to attract millennials.”
During the recent Money20/20 show in Las Vegas, Ms. Gallippi unveiled GiveTrack, a blockchain-based platform providing the ability to transfer, track and provide a permanent record of the route donations can take from the recipient to their intended destination anywhere in the world. Provided it is displayed to the donor in a seamless fashion, blockchain technology brings the ability to improve the transparency of every charity’s internal operations.
With increased attention paid to executive salaries, overhead, effectiveness and even how many cents on every dollar actually help the people the agency serves, effective agencies should welcome this development as a clear differentiator in the competition for donors.
BitGive is currently in beta and working with two organizations, Ms. Gallippi said. Medic Mobile delivers world-class software for health workers providing care in the hardest to reach communities. Working in more than 140 countries Medic Mobile provides workers with cell phones so they can more easily report medical conditions to doctors miles away.
“In some countries, volunteer health workers may be responsible for 50 people,” Ms. Gallippi explained. “They will visit with each one, take notes on paper and walk miles to the nearest hospital, get doctor feedback and walk back again.”
Medic Mobile is developing specialized software that will allow those workers to collect information on mobile phones and upload it to databases that can be accessed by medical professionals. They recently began work with the East Bali Poverty Project in Desa Ban, Bali. Together the two organizations are supporting health workers serving malnourished children via an app that calculates weight-height-age ratios and turns them into actionable recommendations. They want to purchase cell phones for workers, train them and expand the program to additional posts that are scheduled to open early next year.
And the total ask? 1.5 Bitcoin. It goes a long way over there.
“They’re doing amazing work,” Ms. Gallippi said.
The second initiative is The Water Project, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization unlocking human potential by providing reliable water projects to communities in sub-Saharan Africa who suffer needlessly from a lack of access to clean water and proper sanitation.
“They work in a number of different ways,” Ms. Gallippi said. “They build and drill wells, capture rainwater, watershed restoration, sanitation and hygiene projects.”
The Water Project is working with the Western Water and Sanitation Forum at the Chandolo Primary School in Kenya to provide them with a new rain catchment tank, latrines and training. The school’s current tank can barely get them through two days. When it runs dry, each child has to leave their studies to gather water from a spring.
“At least two students are out with waterborne diseases each school day,” the Water Project says in a statement on their web page. “Though the community spring is protected and should be yielding clean water, it is likely that water is being mishandled and stored improperly before it’s consumed.”
A shortage of latrines create long lines that keep people from classes and force them to relieve themselves wherever they can, the stench and hygiene problems create additional problems. There are also no hand washing stations.
The goal for this project? Three (3) Bitcoin.
Learn about how BitGive recently completed a successful partnership with the Water Project in Western Kenya: