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The EOL (Blockchain) Fund

Create a charitable fund using blockchain to go beyond nonprofits and peer funding to create true crowdfunding for those in need.

Photo of Jim Rosenberg
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Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine the end-of-life experience?

The EOL Fund is designed for individuals and families facing the end of life. The experience is hard enough without the added financial stress from medical bills, lost income, and anxiety about the caregiver's job security. The EOL Fund imagines a frictionless charitable fund that aggregates giving from a very broad community to support anyone in need during the end of life experience.

The end of life is a stressful experience for individuals and families. There are emotional challenges in dying or losing someone you love that are inherently human. But there are practical stressors that we can alleviate (e.g. making it easier for caregivers to find a place to stay through "Respite Care Share"). One of the critical issues in the end of life experience is the  financial stress that many families feel due to medical expenses, lost income, anxiety over the caregiver's job security, and new expenses such as new costs for childcare.

How can we get more money into the hands of individuals and families who need help during the end of life experience? Many nonprofit organizations provide aid, but they have limited resources, limited reach, often cumbersome qualifying processes, and significant overhead to raise and manage the funds. Peer funding sites such as GiveForward.com and GoFundMe.com help families and communities pull together to collect money. However, these sites create a new burden on the people going through the experience to "market" their need. These sites rarely succeed at tapping money from outside the family's network so the total financial resources available are tied to the wealth of the family's community (the exceptions on these sites tend to be when there is a child in need and the child's story is picked up by the media or a celebrity). 

The EOL Fund creates a large scale charitable fund using a different approach. It builds on the blockchain to create a frictionless, verifiable charitable giving system that can efficiently engage a broad population of donors and efficiently distribute help to a broad range of families. The ask to donors is simple: help make sure families facing terminal illness or death aren't made to suffer more by expenses they can't cover. It's a simple, human, emotional ask that people can connect with from their own experiences with friends and family. The EOL Fund approach, using blockchain, gives donors the trusted path to turn their small good deed into a big collective help.

Anyone can make a donation simply by entering an amount into their mobile device (using a credit card, Paypal, mobile payment system, bitcoin, etc.). Giving is open to everyone, including individuals, corporations, and foundations, all using the same simple online tool. The blockchain by design provides the donor with verification of their gift (for accounting, tax reporting, etc.) and ensures that 100% of their gift is used for exactly the purpose they intended. The goal is to aggregate a large number of donations, so any and every amount is cheered and the fund grows and grows via the crowd. 

Families in need simply sign up on the EOL Fund using a smart contract. The smart contract verifies the family's status ("experiencing end of life") by tapping into electronic health records or the data of participating healthcare systems. The family simply fills in very basic identifying information into the registration on their mobile device, and that's it -- they are immediately eligible for support.

The EOL Fund makes its giving decisions algorithmically. No need for families to produce evidence of specific needs or for a panel of people to evaluate and prioritize giving. The algorithm is public so the values embedded in the code can be seen, reviewed, and debated (e.g. the weighting given to total family assets, or any goals set to help specific underserved populations). The EOL Fund considers the amount of money it has available in the fund and uses data analytics to forecast the future pace of giving and the future size and pace of needs. The smart contract with the families taps into networked systems to collect data on medical expenses, related expenses, lost income, and other factors that add up to the financial need for each family (the family has approved and identified the connections to make as part of the smart contract). All of this information is used in the algorithm to determine the mix of support grants the Fund should make to families. The system distributes funds directly into family accounts as identified by the family in the smart contract. And the family can see the aid they have received and prediction for future aid via the registrant tool on their mobile device.

The EOL Fund gives millions of people a simple way to make a real, practical difference in the lives of others. It also gives big donors a simple, guaranteed, and effective path to impact with their money. The EOL Fund uses the blockchain and smart contracts to create an immediate, perfectly efficient channel for giving money to reduce one of the key stressors during the end of life experience.



What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Use a two sentence description of the idea to test donor interest in giving money to this cause if this channel were available.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

I'd love to hear general reactions to the idea: is there a need, would you give, could the technology work, would you trust it? Blockchain and smart contract expertise would be great too.

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Photo of Pearl Sequeira
Team

Hi Jim,

Love the idea!

I came across Careticker. It is an online platform that supports and rewards caregivers for the work they do. From my research, it appears they provide rewards across many categories, including finance. I do not know the specifics of the product, but wonder if there could be an opportunity to learn more about their model. May be add  a philanthropic arm to the Careticker model that would dedicatedly support  economically fragile families? 

References:
http://www.springwise.com/interactive-platform-celebrates-work-unpaid-caregivers/
http://www.longevitynetwork.org/news/entrepreneur-of-the-week-chiara-bell-careticker-founder-ceo/

Photo of Jim Rosenberg
Team

Thanks Pearl. Caretiker is really interesting -- using the financial incentive that exists for health organizations if home care is better informed and more effective to support tools and create incentives for home caregivers. I like the idea of using apps and software channels like them as a way to reach families to register for financial support. And perhaps use their data and analytics as part of the smart contract that identifies / verifies financial needs. Thanks for the pointer (both for this concept and just for my general learning about interesting things people are doing).   

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