One Percent. A little bit goes a LONG way

Are you a philanthropist? Would you even know where to begin if you wanted to be one? Most people think philanthropy is something that you do once you have reached a ripe old age. This however is far from the truth.

Enter the One Percent Foundation, a non profit organization that believes that philanthropy should not be driven by how old you are or by your income level, but by the power of collective group action to make a BIG difference.

The concept is relatively simple, by donating 1% of your daily income to the collective group you can make a huge difference with others in the one percent foundation. By pooling together donations with other individuals, the combined effort is multiplied and can have a substantial impact on the recipient organization.

The  One Percent Foundation was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal and also won a business plan competition in the YouthBridge Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation Competition.

We love the idea of collective giving and have chosen The One Percent Foundation, as the Socialize Your Cause Cause of the Week!

How did the whole idea for the One Percent Foundation come about?

The One Percent Foundation (OPF) was founded in 2007 as an attempt to overcome the barriers to giving for a small group of friends. The organization began as an informal, small giving circle of people in their 20s who were otherwise socially conscious and civically engaged. The circle was based on the premise that the barriers to giving could be overcome through a collective giving model which asked its members to give at least one percent of their annual income, pooled donations, and engaged with the entire group in sharing the research and assessment burden to identify high-performing organizations. Over the course of 2007 and 2008, OPF received substantial external enthusiasm and unsolicited interest, opening the door to the possibility that OPF’s approach might provide a solution to a generational problem. By thinking about the barriers to giving as macrostructural problems rather than specific to this insular group, OPF’s opportunity presented itself: if OPF could build a community of philanthropists that was excited about being empowered, viewed its giving as part of a movement, and embraced opportunities to fund innovative ideas, this community could be a powerful vehicle for change.

Why is this cause close to your heart? Why should other support it?

We passionately believe that each of us can make a difference in the world through our philanthropy. We care about this cause because we believe that most people want to give back, but don’t necessarily know how. The One Percent Foundation helps them do so in a meaningful and strategic way.

This next generation of philanthropists is not simply about those with the individual capacity to make significant donations. It’s about each of us, contributing generously based on our own means, and doing so together. If every American in their 20s and 30s gave one percent of their annual income to philanthropic causes, this generation would have over $16 billion to give away a year, which is more than the Gates Foundation donates.

This cause is close to my heart because I believe that philanthropy is a core tenant of civic engagement. Anyone with earned income can afford to donate 1%, and by donating through OPF our partners learn about how-to give strategically, have access to a community of like-minded people, and are exposed to new and innovative non-profits. I want our generation to play an active role in shaping the non-profit sector, and by combining our donations we can have a big say. We are out to make a movement to change what philanthropy means, so that in the future when someone thinks of a philanthropist, they think of someone like themselves, not an old man with grey hair!

Do you have any other events or fundraisers that you would like others to know about?

The One Percent Foundation hosts a variety of online and offline events, webinars, and conference calls. This Tuesday, April 27, we will be hosting a conversation with Kari Dunn Saratovsky from the Case Foundation, Maya Enista from, and Iara Peng, founder of Young People For, to discuss the intersection between philanthropy and civic engagement.

The One Percent Foundation is also leading the way in creating new and exciting ways for people in their 20s and 30s to engage in meaningful philanthropy. Last month we piloted the first ever “Grant Madness,” in which each entrant made a $10 donation and the pooled funds went to a non-profit selected by the person with the winning March Madness bracket. Stay tuned for more of these types of programs throughout the year.

For those who are thinking about joining the One Percent Foundation Giving Circle, do so before April 30 and you can nominate an organization for our International Aid grant cycle. The organization chosen by our Partners will receive an $8,000.01 grant!

Finally, please feel free to check out the One Percent Foundation calendar at for more information on upcoming events in your area.

What do you have planned for the future of One Percent Foundation?

In the future we want to grow our own giving circles and provide a platform for others to create giving circles themselves. We believe there is power in giving as a community instead of an individual. We also want to enable companies to engage their employees in giving. Additionally, OPF is coming up with new ways of making philanthropy fun, like our recent Grant Madness pool where people filled out $10 March Madness brackets and the winner of the pool made a $1,500 donation to a non-profit of his choice.

We have a webinar on Tuesday, April 27, 12pm Pacific/3pm Eastern on Philanthropy 2.0: Enabling Next Generation Philanthropic Engagement

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