Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Frictionless Philanthropy And The Cure For Childhood Leukemia - Doing Good In Fewer Clicks

Posted by Tom Foremski - June 5, 2014

By Christina Resasco, Founder of Mobilize For the Cure.

The tech community is not always doing all it can to get involved with philanthropy. The truth is that sometimes, the tech community just has a different approach to getting involved, compared to other industries.

The same way the technorati have embraced low-commitment services like Uber and GrubHub, they like philanthropy to be tailored to their lifestyles and busy schedules. That's why the philanthropic sector needs to develop new ways to get tech folks involved.

 An example is the Venture Capital Master's Auction Series, where anyone can bid on a chance to meet with the top venture capitalist in the Valley, with 100% of the proceeds benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Greater Bay Area Chapter.

Since 2010, venture capitalists including David Lee of SV Angel, Sean Parker, Tim Draper, and many more, have participated in the online auction where they donate their time, whether it's a lunch meeting or a private dinner, to this worthy cause. The VC auction has raised over $500,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and has funded ten years of cancer research by LLS Fellows at Stanford, UCSF, and UC Berkeley.

Each year, people from around the world participate in the online auction in hopes of being the winning bidder and getting that once in a life time opportunity to meet with a venture capitalist, who just might fund their dream.

As someone who lives in San Francisco, access to venture capitalists might not be so hard to come by, but imagine you live in the Philippines, Poland, hell even middle America, where there is little to zero chance of you getting a meeting with a top Silicon Valley VC.

This auction not only grants people from all over the world access to top VCs, but the money they spend on the auction goes directly to support cancer research and drug development. An innovative twist on fundraising that allows VCs to donate their time a little at a time and based around their schedules.

There are no galas, no photo-opps -- the money goes straight to charity.

It also leverages these high-profile folks to get the broader community involved. People in tech take philanthropy and charity very seriously, and not just investors, but entrepreneurs as well.

Whether it's direct donations, creative fundraising efforts, or even venture funded nonprofits, they need to use their strengths and high-profiles to make a difference.

The auctions are just another way investors can use one recourse, a few hours of the day, to make an impact, and to introduce new people to the mission.

Philanthropy comes in many shapes and sizes. Innovation is key to taking philanthropy to the next level.

So, whether it is you giving $5 to help a homeless person get lunch, or a VC donating his lunch time to help fund the cure for cancer, participating in your own form of philanthropy will make all the difference.

In the past 50 years, the survival rate for childhood leukemia has gone from non-existent to over 90% of children surviving today.

If we are to make further progress against this heartbreaking disease, which devastates so many families, we need the type of innovative research and execution that is found among the VC and tech communities of Silicon Valley. 

The 5th Annual VC Auction is open for bidding on CauseVault.com.

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