Saturday, April 9, 2011

Apolo Ohno on SeeYourImpact and Making a Difference

This is my new post, which was co-written by fellow Huffingtonpost blogger Ann Tran. It is also cross-posted in the Huffingtonpost Impact Section.

For those dedicated to the social good, every day brings an opportunity to move humanity forward in a positive way: leaving an imprint in every corner of this beautiful planet, and laying a foundation for a culturally enriching future. This is what you want a nonprofit to be. And this is the mission and the reality of SeeYourImpact.

Their model works this way: 100 percent of a donation goes to the gift the person selects. Maybe you're purchasing a wheelchair, a mosquito net, or a medicine kit. You make small donations ranging from $10 to $85, and within two weeks, you're notified about how your money is changing lives, and transforming communities.

Apolo Ohno, the most decorated Winter Olympian in history, author and winner of Dancing With the Stars, gave us an interview about his role with SeeYourImpact, something he calls "the future of philanthropy." He strongly believes in giving back, and embodies the heart and soul of this charity, which proves that whether $20 million or $20, the strength of your impact can be enormous.

Apolo Ohno, with Scott Oki, SeeyourImpact Co-Founder and
Chairman of the Board. Photo Courtesy of SeeYourImpact

Apolo, what inspired you to get involved with SeeYourImpact.org?

I'm the first to say I got to where I am because other people, especially my father, played a crucial role in my life. With SeeYourImpact.org, each of us has an opportunity to see the crucial role we play in someone else's life. The thing with giving back is that most people donate and immediately wonder where it went. "Did my gift matter?" On SeeYourImpact.org, you know without a doubt that your gift changed someone's life.


What's unique about SeeYourImpact.org?

Let's say you give a $10 bed net to protect someone from Malaria in Sierra Leone. Two weeks later, you get a photo of that person with your bed net. You might read about their home or find out they have no plumbing or electricity. The coolest part is that I feel like I get to know the person. I get to see them in the photo and hear about how I helped and what they're doing, like this story of Manasa.

A $10 donation gave Manasa a pair of glasses her family couldn't afford.

And to make sure that every gift, no matter the size, has the biggest impact, 100 percent of your donation goes to the gift you selected. That's what I love about it. Showing people the impact of their donations makes it possible for anyone to have a huge effect on someone's life.


It looks like SeeYourImpact.org supports causes and issues all over the world. Which are your favorite and why?

One of my favorite causes is this charity in northern India that's providing sporting opportunities to youth. You can change the life of a child by sending them to school or you can empower them through sports. The thing is, SeeYourImpact.org is a network of dozens of charities doing incredible work on the ground. So whether you're passionate about helping single moms in the U.S. or getting clean water to families in Uganda, find the cause that matters most to you. Then donate.


What has the response been from the public?

The response has been mind blowing. SeeYourImpact.org is really powered by a community of grassroots supporters. They give feedback on the site. It's the donors who allow the charities to expand their work and get more kids fed and in school. Take Maria Ellen. Check out her Impact Page and you can see how one person can make a tremendous difference. And there's thousands of people just like Maria who are making dreams come true. Lots of people in the nonprofit community are impressed with your organization - myself included.



What's next for you guys?

We're constantly adding new charity partners. And we're also adding new ways you can get involved. For example, if you have a birthday, a wedding, just any event you want to dedicate to giving back, you can start a fundraiser. Then, your friends and family can see the impact of their donations. You'll see every photo and story your fundraiser made possible, and it's an awesome way to bring a community together. One mom, Winda, held a fundraiser for her son's fourth birthday, and then she showed the stories to her son. But hopefully what's next for us is you. If you're reading this, wherever you are, take a moment and check out the site. Change someone's life. I promise, it'll make their day -- and yours.

To learn more about the exciting projects at, and ways to get involved with, SeeYourImpact, fan them on their Facebook page and follow them on their Twitter feed.

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