Bitcoin for a Charitable Cause: An Interview with Connie M. Gallippi

Connie Gallippi is the Founder and Director of BitGive, a California-based non-profit charity. Connie has expressed how BitGive not only raises donations for charities but demonstrates Bitcoin’s social value by giving back and making a positive, global impact.

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Bitcoin for a Charitable Cause: An Interview with Connie M. Gallippi

Connie Gallippi is the Founder and Director of BitGive, a California-based non-profit charity. Connie has expressed how BitGive not only raises donations for charities but demonstrates Bitcoin’s social value by giving back and making a positive, global impact.

The Coin Telegraph: Could you tell us a little about your previous work, pre-Bitcoin, in nonprofit organizations?

Connie Gallippi: My background is in working for and with nonprofits in the environmental field in California. I have been working in this realm for over 14 years and more than half of that time has been spent working on policy and funding strategies, from mostly public funding sources. The nonprofit world is very challenged financially to do the good work they do.

CT: When you learned about Bitcoin — did you immediately see a potential within the work you were already doing?

CG: I attended the Bitcoin Foundation's first conference in San Jose, CA in May of 2013 just for fun, with no intention of getting directly involved. I went to visit my brother, meet the BitPay team, and learn more about Bitcoin.

There was a lot of great energy and innovation there. The conference was full of bright young entrepreneurs, brilliant computer programmers and financial professionals, and numerous investors - from Angel investors to venture capitalists. I have always seen the potential for Bitcoin as a game changer on many levels; and with this level of intelligence, energy, and investment funds behind it, I knew it was going to take off and be very significant.

I saw the potential for Bitcoin to be very significant – the next .com boom for sure – and wanted to find a way to capture a fraction of the profits and gains for charitable causes.

CT: Do you notice a similar realization, through your foundation’s own efforts and in general, among others in the Bitcoin community that the currency has specific social value?

CG: Absolutely. In fact, I believe this is the true beauty of Bitcoin and our mission is to demonstrate that. I also think this is a great way for Bitcoin to reach the average person and show them things they can relate to and they care about and how Bitcoin can help. Demonstrating the social value of Bitcoin can help us bridge the gap from early adopters to mainstream by reaching the average person.

CT: How do you feel about the results of your first campaign for Save the Children and the current campaign with The Water Project?

CG: They have both been fun and rewarding. For Save the Children, we raised funds for Philippines Relief Efforts after the typhoon last fall. It was such an acute and immediate need. It was our first campaign, and we did as part of the Bitcoin Black Friday event. We helped to spearhead the charity drive aspects of the whole Bitcoin Black Friday event, over 30 charities participated and over 1000 Bitcoins, valued at over $1million at that time were raised for charities. BitGive specifically raised funds for Save the Children. We were able to raise $4,850 in just one day, which was very rewarding. They have been a pleasure to work with as well and recently sent us this six-month update on their efforts.

The Water Project has been an amazing experience as well. They announced they were accepting Bitcoin in January and we were their first Bitcoin campaign. We decided to go for the largest goal of $10,000 (BTC equivalent) and sponsor an entire water project. We have surpassed 50% of our goal at this time and have some exciting partnerships and projects coming up that we hope will help get the campaign some more exposure and donations. You can track our progress and learn more about our campaign here.

CT: Can you tell us about some upcoming or longer term plans for the foundation?

CG: We have some exciting opportunities we are currently exploring with well-known mainstream organizations as well as with new startups working to reach the developing and third world. We are lining up several more charitable organizations for future campaigns, and have some conferences and fundraising events scheduled as well.

Coming up on June 8 we are hosting a Bitcoin Bowling Fundraiser Tournament in San Francisco and have teams signed up from BitPay, Kraken, Xapo, Gyft, Blockchain, Quickcoin, and Vaurum (and more) who will compete in a bowling tournament for a big trophy while having fun and raising funds for BitGive.

We are looking for ways to shift the Foundation from a volunteer organization to a full-blown philanthropic platform for the community, and we are exploring many ways to accomplish this goal. There is so much need and opportunity, and we get so many inquiries from folks and people who have great ideas. We would really love to be able to provide these services to the community and to charitable organizations. Demonstrating the social value of Bitcoin is a win-win for both charitable organizations and the Bitcoin community.

 

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