Haiti, Stanford donations and micropayment technology

Posted by at 12:46PM

Building on an earlier post on how Stanford Hospitals will match donations to the last Port-Au-Prince hospital–details at the Stanford Medical center web page, I came across a new NYTimes article about how 2 million USD has been donated by text messages to Haiti disaster relief:

Anyone with a mobile phone and an account with a major wireless carrier can text the phrase “Haiti” to the number 90999 and donate $10 to the Red Cross. That amount is charged to the donor’s cellphone bill.

One of the fascinating aspects of being a student at Stanford is that you get insight into both cutting edge social entrepreneurship but also the technology sphere, being miles away from Apple, Google, and smaller for-good efforts such as the microloan-based Kiva.org.

The area of Bas-Ravine, in the northern part o...

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Alas, up until recently such donations were either slow (mobile phone carriers bill slowly) or incurred incremental costs (credit card companies would skim for each transaction even for disaster relief! up until just hours ago).
Before coming to do a Engineering PhD at Stanford, I worked as an SDE at Amazon.com, where my boss helped lead the effort to put Tsunami relief donations on the main/front page of Amazon (the “gateway page”), and for a while, Amazon can accumulated more donations than the entire United States government.
And while ChipIn.com is a small player in this donation space, one has to wonder or be on the look out for a socially conscious Stanford MBA/CS student pair to launch micropayments on a global platform such as Twitter in a way that bypasses or at least minimizes the way PayPal / Credit Card companies skim off these smaller transactions. Calling all Stanford entrepreneurs, are you in? =)

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One Response to “Haiti, Stanford donations and micropayment technology”

  1. Leslie says:

    Also see CrisisCamp Haiti — Silicon Valley:
    This Saturday!
    Find a http://twitter.com/crisiscamp near you


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