'Tackle Ebola' campaign shows how private sector can make a difference

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

As West Africa struggles to cope with the deadly Ebola virus, organizations such as the Paul G. Allen Foundation have rushed to respond with initiatives such as Tackle Ebola, a beautifully engineered website designed to let people fund specific Ebola-related projects.


If you want to help pay for the medical evacuation of infected healthcare workers, it's as easy as a single click —  and Mr. Allen will match your contribution.

The donation process is easy, the website interface pleasing and the sense of agency even better.

While governments have struggled to utilize technology — *cough* healthcare rollout — private foundations are often leading the charge.

As the Washington Post noted Sunday, the Zuckerbergs (Facebook), the Gateses (Microsoft) and Allen (Microsoft) have pledged $175 million in aid to fight Ebola. Private donors overall have pledged around $348 million.


While that figure is slightly less than what the U.S. government is expected to contribute, it's also more accessible — and with Ebola, accessibility and the speed of the response is critical to stopping its spread.

In other words, foundations like Allen's have been critical in rising up to halt the spread of Ebola.


And where citizens are weary, even wary, of government at the moment - foundations have successfully tapped into their tech-savviness and global sensibilities, prompting them to open their wallets in a big way.

In just a couple of months, hundreds of people have donated thousands of dollars to fighting Ebola through one portal.


The foundation, which is supporting Fusion's own Rise Up effort, has capitalized on the power of social media, establishing Facebook and Twitter profiles to share news with followers and urge them to contribute. Launched just two months ago, the Facebook page has nearly 4,000 likes.

While Ebola is a formidable enemy and in some ways an unpredictable one, technology, particularly social media, has allowed foundations to catalyze a global solution.


Emily DeRuy is a Washington, D.C.-based associate editor, covering education, reproductive rights, and inequality. A San Francisco native, she enjoys Giants baseball and misses Philz terribly.