(NEW HOPE, PENN.) October 21, 2008 -- Members of the fast growing website myYearbook.com are making millions of donations to make the world a better place. The launch of "Causes" on myYearbook allows its users to support a number of charities by purchasing concrete, real-world items like grains of rice for the hungry, ounces of CO2 to remove from the atmosphere, and square feet of rainforest for preservation, among other items.
"Many people really want to help, but they may not have a lot of money. We thought it would be a good idea if we could find a way to have their virtual currency 'Lunch Money,' which is so important to myYearbook, actually buy real-world things," says Catherine Cook, the teenage co-founder of myYearbook.
Users choose from 11 different Causes and use their Lunch Money to purchase different quantities of real-world items to help their favorite causes, ranging from research time for cancer and AIDS to blankets for the homeless.
In the first week of the beta testing period, one million members of myYearbook made over four million donations.
Catherine notes, "While giving a few grains of rice may seem small, when multiplied by the millions of myYearbook users who login every month, we are able to have a real impact on the world stage."
Advertising revenue enables myYearbook to make contributions. "The genius of Causes," notes Geoff Cook, the company's CEO and Catherine Cook's older brother, "is in connecting the people who want to donate to charities with the sponsors who want to reach them."
To fund the charitable giving, myYearbook members choose their own profile sponsor from a large number of choices. The revenue from the profile advertising funds the charitable giving. "For charities, members, and sponsors, it is win-win-win," explains Geoff Cook.
"Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation is excited to be one of the first non-profits working with myYearbook on this unique venture," notes Jay Scott, father of Alexandra "Alex" Scott and founder of Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF). ALSF began in 2000 as the brainchild of 4-year-old cancer patient Alex who decided to host lemonade stands as a way to raise funds to help all children with cancer. Since the Foundation's inception, the Pennsylvania-based non-profit has raised $25 million for childhood cancer research through more than 5,000 annual lemonade stands and corporate sponsorships.
"Cancer is the leading cause of death for children under the age of 15 in the United States," notes Jay Scott. "ALSF has always encouraged people of all ages to give back, but understands they are often limited in their ability to make monetary donations. We love the concept that myYearbook is exploring to expose its members to giving through virtual currency while using advertising dollars to fund real giving."
For their part, myYearbook users have been happy with the new feature. In a note to Catherine Cook, one member named Angel writes, "By offering us, your members, the ability to contribute to real causes you have raised myYearbook from 'just a place to hang out and play' to a true philanthropic organization with a heart. The 'Causes' tab is not just a fantastic idea; it is a way to make a difference in the world. YOU ROCK!"
To learn more about myYearbook's newest initiative, visit http://causes.myyearbook.com.