Mission: To provide medical care to individuals who need it, regardless of income or circumstance.
Background: Watsi was founded in 2012 by Chase Adam, a Peace Corps volunteer, who got the idea for the site as he was traveling by bus through Watsi, Costa Rica, and witnessed a woman board the bus and ask for donations to help pay for her son's medical care. Back in the States — and with crowdfunding website Kiva as a model — Adam decided to create an online platform that made it easy for people to support low-cost, high-impact medical treatments for the underserved in the developing world. The procedures funded through the site range from the straightforward (setting a broken bone) to the complex (removing a brain tumor). To be considered for funding, a patient must have an injury or condition that, if left untreated, will severely affect his or her quality of life. Based in San Francisco, the Watsi team leverages its efforts by partnering, on the medical side, with the likes of the African Mission Healthcare Foundation, Project Medishare, and the Children's Surgical Center in Cambodia, and with Google, Dropbox, Periscope, and many others on the donor side. To date, more than 13,400 donors have funded healthcare for some 4,800 patients, and the Watsi team offers a guarantee that 100 percent of any donation will support the procedure toward which it has been given. (The platform's operating expenses are underwritten by foundations, philanthropists, and individual donors, who are presented with the option of leaving a "tip" for that purpose during the "checkout" process.)
Outstanding Web Features: The Watsi platform aggregates funds from site visitors, who are presented with patient profiles contributed by Watsi's medical partners. Individual patient profiles are kept on the site until the patient's procedure has been fully funded, and, by way of insurance, Watsi maintains an emergency reserve equal to the total number of unfunded profiles it has accepted from its partners to ensure its promises are kept. Visitors to the site who choose to donate can opt to become a "dedicatee" and receive an email about their donation as well as regular updates on the patient's progress. Watsi also offers a Universal Fund option for individuals who'd like to donate on a recurring monthly basis. Those who opt in to the Universal Fund will have their first month's donation matched by Tencent, a Chinese holding company whose subsidiaries provide media, entertainment, Internet and mobile phone services in China. The site also makes it easy to send gift cards to family and friends via email or as a downloadable PDF. (Donating bitcoins is also an option.) Visitors to the site also can browse profiles of the organization's medical partners, founding donors, and in-kind donors; watch a video detailing the the organization's origin story; and, via the Watsi blog, learn more about the organization's student interns and volunteer writers, the "masterminds" behind every patient story on the site.