Where do your donations go? A new site takes out the guesswork
The 3 Million Club allows you to buy and track life-saving products that go directly to needy recipients in developing countries.
Do you ever wonder where those donation dollars go? You know, the ones that pour in after a disaster or crisis, when folks in developing countries are at their lowest points and in desperate need of help?
The answer isn't always clear. Traditional, large-scale charities collect money and don't always publicize where it's going. Others use a large portion of their donations for overhead.
For their own nonprofit, a group of Israeli entrepreneurs decided to focus on products instead of money. Three veterans of the Israeli startup industry – Franck Benhamou, Dan Vigdor and Ran Tushia – envisioned a clear, transparent pipeline for aid products to be sent to the needy. They teamed up with longtime nonprofit executive Chamutal Afek-Eitam of Tel Aviv to create the 3 Million Club, an e-commerce site that allows people to send supplies directly to people in need.
Right now, the 3 Million Club (named for the number of children under age 5 who suffer from life-threatening malnutrition) has two products for sale: a food basket filled with vitamin-packed, hunger-fighting energy bars, and a water collection system that reduces suffering and long-term injuries associated with carrying heavy loads. More items are expected to be added in the near future.
More than 200,000 of the therapeutic food bars have been delivered to clinics in Haiti, Nepal and India. Donors who buy the bars can track their barcodes, so they know how their money's being spent and where the bars are going.
"A child that can hardly walk or stand up eats it, and after between three and 12 weeks they can run and play football," Afek-Eitam told WIRED Magazine. "And they look like a child, whereas before they looked like a skeleton."
The nutritional bars are just the beginning of the 3 Million Club's vision for a "life-saving products shop," which would include items that address many deficits in impoverished communities. The water-collection system, known as the Hippo Roller, was added in September and enables people in Africa to collect five times more water than with a traditional bucket.
It all fits squarely into the company's motto: What you buy is what they get.
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Related Topics: Humanitarian