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Benj and Jessica launched a nonprofit. Follow our journey as we built a 501(c)(3) and a web site, and now usher in an endless stream of worthy charity nominees and monthly grant winners!

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Spotlight on nominee RIP Medical Debt

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nominee RIP Medical Debt Charitocracy Facebook share

Next in our series of posts about new Charitocracy nominees, we have nominee RIP Medical Debt, nominated by donors Alistair and Rebecca. RIP Medical Debt empower donors to forgive the billions in oppressive medical debt at pennies on the dollar, so far $715 million for ~240,000 Americans. You can find their web site here.

A few words on Charitocracy

Firstly, for newcomers: here's how it works. Donors pool their monthly contributions, as little as $1. The cause with the most votes each month wins the pot. No matter how much or how little you contribute, each donor at Charitocracy gets one vote. This is where charity meets democracy. So please share this post (scroll down for social sharing icons) and ask your friends to join us and vote! That's how we spread the word and, as a result, grow the monthly pot. The bigger the pot, the bigger our positive impact on the world!

About nominee RIP Medical Debt

We work on behalf of individuals, foundations and corporations to abolish medical debt and provide relief for those in need.

How It Works

  1. Your donations allow us to purchase debt at pennies on the dollar — and forgive it, forever.
  2. Using data analysis, we locate the medical debt that is most crucially in need of relief.
  3. Those helped are no longer obligated to pay even a cent, and have no adverse consequences.

As medical costs rise to unspeakable levels, so does un-payable medical debt.

Medical debt has destroyed the financial stability of large segments of America’s most vulnerable communities: the sick, the elderly, the poor, and veterans. It also particularly targets the middle class, driving many families who are barely getting along into poverty.

So visit the page of nominee RIP Medical Debt to vote for, like, or discuss this cause! And check out this segment from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver to hear him explain it best.

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Fifty thousand reasons

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Fifty thousand reasons

Fifty thousand reasons... for what?

Fifty thousand reasons it's hard to run a charity?
Fifty thousand reasons to complain about solicitation registration paperwork?
Fifty thousand reasons to decry social media advertising costs?
Fifty thousand reasons to give up?

This morning I'm writing out Reach Out and Read's $1722 award check. That's for winning the October monthly pot, plus drawing an unusually high $540 worth of "pot sweetener" one-time donations. And I'm noticing something worth mentioning...

We have crossed the $50,000 mark!

As of this morning, Jessica and I have cut $50,000 worth of grant checks. They're for worthy nonprofits you've selected, packed full of your donation funds. You guys are ever-generous, and also gift us with the continued motivation to make Charitocracy even better each month.

I have some big plans for Charitocracy. I probably say that a lot, and I mean it every time. There's no joy like adding new features, fixing old bugs, and doing whatever I can to make Charitocracy easier to use for current donors and more attractive to prospective donors. If you asked me, a GPU software engineer, ten years ago or even five years ago, I never would have predicted this is how I'd be getting my kicks on the eve of the year 2020.

And yet 4 years ago this week we were registering the charitocracy.org domain and kicking off the logo design. We were setting up social media pages, and purchasing this laptop I've been banging away on ever since in my free time. And 4 years ago next month we'd be filing to become a nonprofit corporation in the state of North Carolina. As far as we've come in 4 years (3 years fully operational), I have a feeling 2020 will be our biggest yet.

Fifty thousand reasons to be proud, and fifty thousand reasons to keep at it. ❤️

Show Benj the money

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October 2019 winner Reach Out and Read

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Charitocracy's 38th check to October winner Reach Out and Read for $1682

We have good news about October winner Reach Out and Read, right after this quick update...

Sharing is Caring

Over the past couple weeks I've made a big push to improve the experience of sharing at Charitocracy. Whether you nominate a cause, vote for a nominee, or just read about one in our blog, you can share that with your friends and family on social media. That's how we'll attract new donors and more dollars in the monthly pot, without the cost of ads. You are our advertising department!

Sharing Is Caring

Many of the building blocks, such as opening the site content to non-donors, creating share images for each nominated cause, and writing one-liner descriptions, I've slowly completed throughout 2019. But now you can click on those Facebook and Twitter share buttons, and put all my work... to work! While you're at it, go ahead and Like/Follow us if you don't already. Thanks, as always, for supporting us.

October 2019 winner Reach Out and Read

At midnight on Halloween we named Charitocracy's 38th monthly winner. Congratulations to Reach Out and Read, nominated by donor RoamX. They give young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together. You can find their web page here.

Now you have a week to further sweeten the pot with a special one-time donation of any amount, which we'll add straight to the check we write to Reach Out and Read. We've already received one giant $500 pot sweetener! ❤️

Before you go, check out this inspiring video describing Reach Out and Read's fantastic Leyendo Juntos (Reading Together) program for Spanish-speaking families. Then feel good about your part in our collective $1682+ grant to help with their work!

Have a great November and be sure to log into Charitocracy to update your votes or nominate a new cause!

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No such thing as over-Sharing

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Social Sharing Pop-Up

Sharing is Dead

Sharing nominee cause pages has been broken at Charitocracy for a long time. Any time you voted or nominated a cause, you'd get an annoying pop-up asking you to share with your social medium of choice. And no matter which cause you just nominated or voted for, it would always just share a link to Charitocracy's home page with a generic image. BORING!

And then even that annoying pop-up stopped working. Some change in my Charitocracy code or our social sharing plugin broke it, and I didn't bother to fix it. Honestly, that pop-up disappearing was an improvement, since the social sharing experience was terrible.

Well, I'm proud to announce: The annoying pop-up is BACK!

Long Live Sharing

I've been quietly laying a lot of the groundwork all year:

  • Most of the site, including the discussion/voting pages for nominated causes, was unreachable to the general public behind the "pay wall" unless they donated and logged in. So you really couldn't share anything but the front page anyway. I opened up the whole site to everyone, but only donors can click on Vote buttons.
  • When sharing, you want a nice big image to go with it. Furthermore, Facebook and Twitter prefer images of different sizes and aspect ratios. So I had to make some! 87 x 2 so far, to cover all past nominees.
  • After voting, Charitocracy used to redirect you to the Dashboard page where you could cancel votes or adjust percentage split between different causes sharing your vote. But then if you tried to share after voting, you'd be sharing the Dashboard page instead of the cause page. Nope! So now the vote adjustment controls are at the top of each Vote page, and voting just reloads the same page. So you're at the right place when it's time to share.

Call to Action

If you're on Facebook or Twitter, I hope you'll share your voting activity with friends and family each time. (If you're on both, please share to both!) You don't have to write anything extra in your posts, so it takes literally 2 buttons clicks. It may take some time, but when your people see your engagement with Charitocracy and the great causes you're supporting, they're bound to get curious and get tangled in our web of love and generosity.

And no better time to test it than right now. Get on there and vote!

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September 2019 winner Dorian Relief @ Red Cross

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Charitocracy's 37th check to September winner Dorian Relief at American Red Cross for $1305

We have good news about September winner Dorian Relief @ Red Cross, right after this quick update...

Home Again

Jessica and I returned home last weekend from our epic family RV trip, ending with my brother's beautiful and so-much-fun wedding in Montana! Now we're getting back in the groove of our normal routine, inspired by the end of another month, and its well-deserving winner:

September 2019 winner Dorian Relief @ Red Cross

Last night we named Charitocracy's 37th monthly winner. Congratulations to Dorian Relief @ Red Cross, nominated by donor TdotWING. The American Red Cross provides food, shelter, comfort, and hope to families affected by Hurricane Dorian. You can find their Dorian web page here.

Now for a big shout-out to TdotWING. We have a handful of two-time winning nominators, and had one other three-time winner (props, Stephanie!). But this is a brand new Charitocracy record, her fourth successful nomination out of four!!

Now you have a week to further sweeten the pot with a special one-time donation of any amount, which we'll add straight to the check we write to the American Red Cross.

Before you go, check out this 1:20 video describing how the American Red Cross is helping the people of the Bahamas in addition to those affected in the U.S. Then feel good about your part in our collective $1305+ grant to help with their work!

Have a great October and be sure to log into Charitocracy to update your votes or nominate a new cause!

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Happy News gives us a Happy Birthday

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The Happy News

September brought with it another Charitocracy birthday! We've been online, spreading your dolla dolla bill to worthy causes, for 3 years now!! Whether you've been with us the whole time, or just joined us recently, THANK YOU. It's your birthday. And we have some happy news to share.

Or better put, The Happy News has us to share! Thanks to donor Ealish Wilson, Jessica and I have been nominated as Everyday Heroes! Aww, shucks. ☺️

Benj Lipchak and Jessica Sands as Everyday Heroes

Big thanks also to Emily Coxhead for publishing Ealish's kind words in her extraordinary newspaper, and for making Charitocracy's birthday extra happy this year. ❤️

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Spotlight on Hurricane Dorian Relief @ Red Cross

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Nominee Dorian Relief @ Red Cross

Next in our series of posts about new Charitocracy nominees, we have nominee Dorian Relief @ Red Cross, nominated by donor TdotWING. The American Red Cross, among many other things, help people affected by Hurricane Dorian by preparing for, responding to, and helping people recover from this disaster. You can find their web site here.

A few words on Charitocracy

Firstly, for newcomers: here's how it works. Donors pool their monthly contributions, as little as $1. The cause with the most votes each month wins the pot. No matter how much or how little you contribute, each donor at Charitocracy gets one vote. This is where charity meets democracy. So please share this post (scroll down for social sharing icons) and ask your friends to join us and vote! That's how we spread the word and, as a result, grow the monthly pot. The bigger the pot, the bigger our positive impact on the world!

About nominee Dorian Relief @ Red Cross

Hurricane Dorian carved a path of devastation in the Bahamas, leaving behind catastrophic damage and affecting an estimated 76,000 people and more than 13,000 homes.

As the storm continues to move along the U.S. coast, pummeling communities with high storm surge, rain, and tornado threats, the American Red Cross is there to provide food, shelter, comfort, and hope.

Hurricane Dorian Response

More than 2,500 Red Cross disaster responders from across the country have worked with kindness and compassion to support people in threatened communities across Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. In preparation for this powerful storm, 110 emergency response vehicles and 104 tractor-trailer loads full of relief supplies, including cots, blankets, and 63,000 ready-to-eat meals, were mobilized near evacuation centers and at-risk communities.

Your gift helps us support hard-hit communities in many ways

  • Pre-position supplies for faster response
  • Open evacuation shelters to keep people safe during the storm
  • Provide shelter and food until families can return home
  • Distribute water, food and relief supplies in impacted neighborhoods
  • Help those who need first aid or medical care
  • Give hope, help, and comfort
  • Provide clean up supplies
  • Assess damage in impacted neighborhoods
  • Create recovery plans to get families back on their feet

So visit the page of nominee Dorian Relief @ Red Cross on Charitocracy to vote for, like, or discuss this cause!

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August 2019 winner National Institute for Reproductive Health

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Charitocracy's 36th check to August winner National Institute for Reproductive Health for $1335

We have good news about August winner National Institute for Reproductive Health, right after this quick update...

Roadtrip Half Over, or Roadtrip Half Left?

It just so happens that Jessica and I, halfway through our epic family RV trip, find ourselves auspiciously with a real Internet connection at a campground near Mesa Verde, Colorado. Perfect for blogging about our new winner! And today we also celebrate 3 years of Charitocracy being online, but we can save that celebration for the end of our birthday month, when we'll be back home at Charitocracy HQ with proper birthday cake baking capabilities.

August 2019 winner National Institute for Reproductive Health

Last night we named Charitocracy's 36th monthly winner. That's 3 years of winners!! Congratulations to National Institute for Reproductive Health, nominated by donor Bethany (her second winning nom)! They build power to change policy, galvanize support, and normalize women’s decisions about abortion and contraception. You can find their web site here.

Now you have a week to further sweeten the pot with a special one-time donation of any amount, which we'll add straight to the check we write to NIRH.

Before you go, check out this 5 minute film covering how the National Institute for Reproductive Health helps promote reproductive freedom. Then feel good about your part in our collective $1335+ grant to help with their work!

Have a great September and be sure to log into Charitocracy to update your votes or nominate a new cause!

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Spotlight on nominee Gifts of Hope Unlimited

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Nominee Gifts of Hope Unlimited

Next in our series of posts about new Charitocracy nominees, we have nominee Gifts of Hope Unlimited, nominated by donor Marthaek. They support and assist individuals affected by relationship violence gain access to resources for a safe and empowered future. You can find their web site here.

A few words on Charitocracy

Firstly, for newcomers: here's how it works. Donors pool their monthly contributions, as little as $1. The cause with the most votes each month wins the pot. No matter how much or how little you contribute, each donor at Charitocracy gets one vote. This is where charity meets democracy. So please share this post (scroll down for social sharing icons) and ask your friends to join us and vote! That's how we spread the word and, as a result, grow the monthly pot. The bigger the pot, the bigger our positive impact on the world!

About nominee Gifts of Hope Unlimited

Who We Are

We support and assist individuals affected by relationship violence gain access to resources for a safe and empowered future.

What We Do

Gifts of Hope collaborates with the Sudbury town social worker and Voices against Violence, who identify families in need of financial help and are struggling with meeting their most basic needs.

How To Help

Please consider donating the following items:

Household Goods (Dishes, Glasses, Pots, Pans, Silverware), Small Kitchen Appliances, New Bed Linens, New Bath & Hand Towels, Washcloths, Furniture, Feminine Hygiene Products, Diapers (any size), Visa, Uber And Lyft Cards, Pharmacy and Grocery Cards.

So visit nominee Gifts of Hope Unlimited's page on Charitocracy to vote for, like, or discuss this cause!

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Spotlight on nominee The Pipsqueakery

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Nominee The Pipsqueakery

Next in our series of posts about new Charitocracy nominees, we have nominee The Pipsqueakery, nominated by donor xelay. They're a rodent rescue and sanctuary located in Bloomington, Indiana, focusing on medically and behaviorally needy hamsters. You can find their web site here.

A few words on Charitocracy

Firstly, for newcomers: here's how it works. Donors pool their monthly contributions, as little as $1. The cause with the most votes each month wins the pot. No matter how much or how little you contribute, each donor at Charitocracy gets one vote. This is where charity meets democracy. So please share this post (scroll down for social sharing icons) and ask your friends to join us and vote! That's how we spread the word and, as a result, grow the monthly pot. The bigger the pot, the bigger our positive impact on the world!

About nominee The Pipsqueakery

So, what, or who, is The Pipsqueakery?

The long answer is that we are two adults who happen to love hamsters (and other rodents)! We got our first hamsters together in March 2012, adopted 3 more from our local shelter in the summer of 2012 (including our lovely little Pipsqueak), and then began fostering for EARPS, Inc in May 2013. We lead busy personal lives as a nurse and a recently lawyer, but our real passion is for the hamsters.

We like to keep our numbers under 50 hamsters, but we are also equipped to handle large intakes. We have a particular soft spot for medically needy hamsters and the medically needy hamsters have a forever home with us. We have had hamster with diabetes (they get two injections of insulin a day), blind hamsters, deaf hamsters, hamsters missing limbs, hamsters with chronic eye issues, hamsters with kidney failure, hamsters with chronic respiratory issues, hamsters with no teeth, hamsters who have been severely abused or neglected, hamsters with serious injuries, and many simply elderly hamsters that need a place to live out their time in comfort.

If you are interested in helping us please go to www.thepipsqueakery.org/help to see all the different ways you can help!

So visit nominee The Pipsqueakery's page on Charitocracy to vote for, like, or discuss this cause! And check out this 15 second video of Baby Elvira. (There are more Pipsqueaks where this came from!)

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