New global charitable fund-raiser for “everyone” launches out of Seattle

What do a Seattle-based global real estate firm, trees and Tony Blair have in common with fighting poverty and inequity worldwide?

They’re all a part of a new charitable fund-raising initiative called Everyone Gives that launched this week out of Seattle. Here’s former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair making a pitch for everyonegives.org, and for his own philanthropy aimed at finding common ground among different faiths.

Anyone can raise money for their charitable cause through Everyone Gives, nominate a charity to be included or donate to a cause of their choice. So far, the project has raised about $200,000 for more than 1,000 charities worldwide.

Oh, and the trees? You can watch donations to your cause grow by virtue of an online Giving Tree.

Doug Frye

Everyone Gives has been launched by Colliers International, a global real estate firm headquartered in Seattle. I called Colliers CEO Doug Frye to ask him why they are doing this.

“We have offices all over the world and had this (web) platform already in place,” Frye said. Many employees in Colliers were contributing to charitable organizations already, he said, so they decided to just build an online mechanism that allows anyone, everyone, to easily contribute any amount of money to any cause they like.

Colliers is covering the costs of Everyone Gives and taking no overhead cut, Frye said, meaning 100 percent of what you donate goes to the cause — which you can track on your web tree.

“We intend for it to be a social event as well as a fund-raising event,” he said.

Some may have concerns about the fact that Everyone Gives does not appear to vet any of the organizations it is helping to raise money for. I thought about nominating Humanosphere, or maybe myself, but they do require you be registered as a non-profit organization.

Some may think it’s odd that a real estate firm is running the operation. I did, which is why I called Frye to ask him what the heck he thought he was doing.

“Seattle is a truly international community,” he said. “We believe in social responsibility here. This is just something we can do, to help everyone else also do what they can.”

But there seems little question about whether or not the method works. Just a few days in and they’ve already raised $200,000.

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Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at]humanosphere.org or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.