ULM, Germany — This week car2go, the mobile app-based car sharing service, launched a new donation initiative called “ride2provide,” a service that offers its customers the opportunity to help end global poverty.
Car2go began in 2008 in Ulm, Germany. Over the past six years, car2go has added 26 new cities and accrued around 120,000 customers across Europe, Canada and the United States. The company’s website boasts that they have “redefined urban mobility” by allowing members to access an eco-friendly vehicle whenever and wherever they need one, with no fixed locations or designated rental area as with other ride-share services. Car2go has redefined in-city transportation by being more economical as well as environmentally conscious; and now it is adding social responsibility to the list.
The ride2provide campaign allows existing customers to select one of the many cleverly named “heart cars” while browsing for a ride on the iPhone or Android app. According to Betakit, the heart cars are labeled with $1 donations based on the location within the member’s “Home Area,” which is the area where he or she can reserve, pick up and drop off a vehicle.
For each heart car that is used, car2go will donate one large lump sum directly to Whole Planet Foundation.
Established by Whole Foods Market in 2005, the Whole Planet Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization that provides microfinance institutions in over 50 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The MFIs foster microfinance and entrepreneurship programs, training and financial services to poor populations in high need areas.
According to the Whole Planet Foundation’s website, 100 percent of every donation goes directly to the MFIs. Since it granted its first international loan in April of 2006 (which was for a mere $184), the organization has distributed nearly $36 million to 764,937 borrower-families outside of the United States. Additionally, of the individuals and families reached, 89 percent were female recipients.
To bolster the Whole Planet Foundation’s impressive figures, it’s worth noting that the global repayment rate is an astounding 97 percent. And although the monetary value of the loans cannot be exact, it is estimated that they are worth $288 million. This, of course, does not take into account the countless positive impacts this organization and the MFIs have made in the lives of recipients, their families and their communities.
With the clear and positive mission of the Whole Planet Foundation, coupled with the steadily increasing popularity of car2go, it’s becoming more apparent that the importance of global aid projects and partnerships like these is on the forefront of companies’ minds. This is great not only for the public relations department of these companies, but also for the lives of those in poverty across the globe and for those here at home who wish to make a difference.
Car2go’s initiative makes it easy and convenient for people to donate and have a hand in ending global poverty. Customers feel that they are making a small yet sincere and meaningful impact on communities worldwide, simply by driving to their next location with a service that is already available to them.
With initiatives like these through recognized and trusted sources, true change can and is taking place in developing areas that need it most. Programs such as ride2provide are also a surefire way to promote and provide public awareness, action and advocacy.
– Kelsi Auld