As I’m sure you’ve noticed, we are in the throws of a viral fundraising phenomenon called the #IceBucketChallenge to help raise awareness and funds for ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).
Over the past two weeks, the months-old challenge has exploded across social media outlets and particularly in the Boston area, thanks in large part to former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates and his family, who have used the challenge to raise awareness and funds for the disease. Frates, 29, was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease in 2012. To learn more about the Pete Frates #3 fund, visit his page.
For those who don’t know, the Ice Bucket Challenge is a lot like it sounds. Essentially, you get nominated by one of your peers online to pour a bucket of ice water on your head or donate $100 to ALS. Then, you pay it forward by nominating others to do the same (capturing it on video, of course). The beautiful thing about this challenge is that while thousands of people have accepted the challenge to dump ice water on their heads, they’re also donating to the cause.
Last Thursday, OpenView formally accepted the challenge and we passed it on to all of our portfolio companies. But, why stop there? Our Charitable Giving Committee (which I’m a part of) felt compelled to make a difference and add a little more fuel to this icy challenge. So in addition to our own firm donation, we’re donating $100 to the ALS Association for every portfolio company who joined in.
Typically, viral campaigns like this come and go without leaving a true impact on anything. And while it’s great to see everyone in your Facebook feed dumping ice on their heads with good intentions, it’s easy to feel like the challenge is becoming more about them and their creativity than about the cause itself. However, the ALS Association released some data on Friday that revealed it raised more than $168,000 last week. By comparison, the ALS foundation raised about $14,000 during the same time period last year.
Now that, my friends, is impact.
For those reasons and more (we have a few strong personal connections to the cause here at the firm), I’m proud to say that OpenView and our portfolio companies have joined together to make a difference for this tragic disease.
Check out our #IceBucketChallenge videos below — both from here at OpenView and from within our portfolio — and, again, please visit the ALS Association website to learn more or contribute to this cause.
OpenView Venture Partners