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A couple of months ago, we reported that Paul Buchheit, co-founder of FriendFeed and, before that, the engineer behind Google Mail, had inspired a discussion around the best use of $20k for the common good. Looks like that conversation has lead to something more concrete. Paul calls it collaborative charity.
Donating money to worthwhile causes seems like a good idea, but doing it right requires knowledge, wisdom, intelligence, time, and of course money. I have at most two of those things. The traditional solution is to rely on “experts”, but that has its own problems.
His solution? Solicit advice from the internet at large.
There are a couple of constraints. Paul is only looking to benefit 501©3 registered nonprofits. And it’s not clear about how much money he intends to donate (“it depends, but could be a lot”). But either way, the project has inspired conversation in a couple of places:
- Donation ideas can be submitted for discussion on a FriendFeed group called Collaborative Charity
- To date, 107 different ideas have been submitted a Google Moderator series. Altogether, these ideas have received nearly 2,000 votes.
Paul hopes that these conversations will help him make funding decisions.
I’d like to see broad support (from real people, not spam accounts) along with some evidence that it’s a good idea, and perhaps endorsements from knowledgeable people.
One thing is clear, there’s no shortage of donation ideas. Looking forward to seeing how the crowd sifts through the choices—and how we evaluate the results.