Crowd Funding Medical Care
By Jean Fagan
Corporate social responsibility is “old school”. There is a new approach to tackling social challenges that is serving the dual role of delivering social and environmental good, whilst also delivering financial returns for companies and finance providers. In a new era approach, communities as well as multi-stakeholders are building partnerships that are co-creating new models to deliver social benefits
Crowd funding medical care is one such new era partnership being used by Not for Profit, Watsi to successfully provide medical care to those in need who cannot afford to pay. Their vision: Healthcare. For everyone on the Planet. Founder, Chase Adam was moved to establish the Not for Profit whilst serving in the Peace Corps in Central America. A woman boarded the bus he was travelling on asking passengers for money to pay for her son’s healthcare. Watsi is named after the town Chase Adam was travelling through at the time.
Watsi is modelled on for-profit companies and unlike other NFPs, it donates 100% of the money received. It is currently the only crowdfunded NFP and the first NFP to be funded by
Y-Combinators ( a community of over 1,400 funders with companies that have a combined value of US$30 Billion. Y-Combinator has been funding start-ups since 2005. Typically, it’s investors look for equity and profit. In the case of Watsi, the criteria for investment is Watsi’s commitment to help those in need of medical care, not money.)
To date, Watsi has received donations from 10,639 donors and funded life changing healthcare to 3,580 patients across 19 countries.
Patients who can’t afford to pay for their healthcare request help through a Watsi partner which may for example be a hospital or medical practitioner. Once accepted by Watsi for funding, the request is posted for donations. The patient receives the care ( if necessary, before the treatment is fully funded) and donors are sent updates by the healthcare provider. Watsi partners must meet strict ethical and selection criteria.
Watsi passes 100% of the donations to the healthcare by having its operating expenses covered separately by foundations, philanthropists and donors.