PayPal raises a record $45.8M for charity in a single day

The company was able to raise $857 million for charity over the entire holiday season

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
January 7, 2016
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A lot of press about Silicon Valley seems to be pretty gossipy and negative. That's what grabs the best headlines, of course, and we are also guilty of sometimes perpetuating those same stories. Isn't it nice, then, when we can run a positive story? Maybe it won't get as much publicity as story like this. Ok, it definitely won't. But at least I can do my part to spread some happiness. 

PayPal has managed to find its way into the Guinness Book of World Records, by managing to raise the most money for charity in a 24 hour period, it was revealed on Thursday.

In November PayPal had announced a partnership with 92nd Street Y, founders of #GivingTuesday, with the specific goal of breaking the previous record of $19 million, though it does not say who the previous record holder was.

On December 1st, PayPal raised more than $45.8 million to charities in, more than doubling the previous record. 

Edit: A spokesperson for Guinness World Records explained to me that the previous record is not identified as a Guinness World Records title, and was newly established by PayPal.

"For a record to be recognized an application needs to be put through our system and approved by one of our adjudicators," the spokesperson said. "In the case of PayPal it is possible that they didn’t apply last year for this record."

So, to be clear, PayPal does currently hold the record, it's just that there was no official record to break. 

Even more impressive is that the company raised a total of $857 million for charities through its platform during the holiday season, which started on November 27 and ended of December 31. In all, 7.24 million people from 183 countries gave their support to 258,759 charities around the world. 

The total amount included donations made through PayPal to any charity, as well as an additional 1% given by PayPal to any donation of over $10.

When it was broken down bu country, the United States was, by a very large margin, the country that gave the most, with $692 million, following by the United Kingdom, which gave $49 million and Canada, with $43 million.

Silicon Valley charity

Silicon Valley companies, and their founders, have a long history of giving to charity. 

In 2014, Twitter announced a homeless learning shelter called The NeighborNest, which will be located directly across the street from Twitter's headquarters at the Essex Fox Plaza, and then revealed that it was going to pledge at least $3 million to nonprofits in San Francisco over the next four years.

The company had donated a combined $360,000 over the last two years. By 2018, it will be donating nearly a $1 million alone.

Uber also launched a new non-profit ridesharing program in Beijing called "People's Uber," where riders only cover the driver’s costs. The company expanded the feature to more parts of China.

Messaging startup Wickr announced that it was splitting into two companies, keeping its encrypted messaging platform, while also launching a new non-profit organization called Wickr Foundation, which it said will be "dedicated to supporting a strong free society by championing private communications and freedom of information through the Private Web."

When it comes to charitable giving, though, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan are pretty much the gold standard in the tech world.

In 2012, he donated 18 million shares of Facebook stock to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Mountain View, California that says on the About Us section of its website that it provides investment management and guidance “on the art and science of giving.” At the time those shares were worth a total of $500,000. 

Zuckerberg and Chan were named the most charitable people in 2013, having donated 18 million shares of Facebook stock, which amounted to a total of $992.2 million.

That same year Zuckerberg founded the Startup: Education foundation, and donated $100 million to the public school system of Newark, New Jersey. He has also held fundraisers for two New Jersey politicians: Senator Cory Booker and Governor Chris Christie.

Zuckerberg and Chan topped the list of most charitable people in 2013. Together, the two donated 18 million shares of Facebook stock, which amounted to a whopping $992.2 million. The money was given to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. At only 29 years old, Zuckerberg was  the youngest person to ever top this list. 

Around $4 million of that money went gone to a Boston education start-up that gathers data to assess progress at public schools. Another $5 million went to a community health clinic for low-income families in East Palo Alto.

The couple continued their philanthropic efforts this year, donating $75 million to San Francisco General Hospital in February, then giving $20 million to EducationSuperHighway in November.

Zuckerberg, along with Chan and Bill Gates, recently formed a new cleantech initative called  The Breakthrough Energy Coalition, which will invest in early stage startups in sectors that include energy and agriculture.

That is not to mention, a PAC formedin 2013 to tackle issues such as immigration, education reform and science funding, as well as, the organization formed by Zuckerberg that same year to bring the entire world online.

His biggest contribution, though, will be through their pledge to give away 99% of their wealth in their lifetime, which adds up to $45 billion. 

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