LONDON, U.K. – November 14, 2008 – The results are in – and not just for the presidential election, but for TripAdvisor’s “More than Footprints™” philanthropic initiative. TripAdvisor® (www.tripadvisor.co.uk), the world’s largest travel community, believes in the power of the collective voice, so the company recently asked the public to decide how to allocate its £649,928.73 ($1 million) donation to five travel-related nonprofits.
Placing the power in the people’s hands, between 15 September and 9 November more than one million votes were cast at TripAdvisor, allowing TripAdvisor travelers to weigh in on how the donation should be distributed. Based on the percentage of total votes each organization received, the final results are:
· Conservation International – £45,619.67 ($70,000), based on 7% of the vote
· Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) – £255,681.59 ($392,000), based on 39.2% of the vote
· National Geographic Society – £35,221.44 ($54,000), based on 5.4% of the vote
· The Nature Conservancy – £89,283.03 ($137,000), based on 13.7% of the vote
· Save the Children – £226,140.22 ($347,000), based on 34.7% of the vote
TripAdvisor has experienced tremendous growth over the past eight years, putting the company in a position to support some outstanding nonprofits that are making a positive difference in people’s lives and the natural environment. Some of the ways these organizations could potentially use the TripAdvisor donation to improve the world are below.
· Conservation International – Support from TripAdvisor will help Conservation International’s efforts around the world, such as protecting and restoring tropical rainforests in Brazil, promoting eco-tourism in Madagascar, addressing climate change and saving irreplaceable species. It will also help scientists carry out work in more than 45 countries across the planet.
· Doctors Without Borders – TripAdvisor’s donation could help Doctors Without Borders’ medical teams reach thousands of people uprooted by violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, provide assistance to people displaced by floods in Haiti, and treat thousands of malnourished children in southern Ethiopia. Donations are also used to purchase supplies – $15 (or £9.75) can buy seven measles vaccinations, $75 (or £48.77) can provide 1,330 people with 20 gallons of clean water a day for one week.
· National Geographic Society – The donation from TripAdvisor could help support National Geographic’s annual Geotourism Challenge, a competition in partnership with Ashoka's Changemakers, which identifies and showcases innovators in local tourism development and management. The competition is a program of the National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations, which works to protect the world’s distinctive places through wisely managed tourism and enlightened destination stewardship.
· The Nature Conservancy – The TripAdvisor donation could contribute to the Nature Conservancy’s Campaign for a Sustainable Planet, which supports the Conservancy’s ambitious goal of doubling the protected area of all the world’s major habitat types by 2015, including forests, oceans, rivers and lakes, grasslands, and deserts and dry lands.
· Save the Children – According to Save the Children, the TripAdvisor donation will help “make profound changes for children in need around the world.” Some of the ways Save the Children helps families and children include providing mothers with prenatal care and newborn training, supplying life-saving immunizations for children, and building schools and training teachers.
“It was great to see such strong voter turnout to help nonprofit organizations,” said Steve Kaufer, founder and CEO of TripAdvisor. “Thanks to the guidance of people around the world who participated in this ‘democratic philanthropy’ initiative, each of these nonprofits is a winner.”
The inspiration for the initiative name “More than Footprints” comes from the popular travel mantra, “Take only pictures, leave only footprints.” TripAdvisor believes people can leave more than footprints behind when traveling – by making a difference in the places they visit.