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Facebook Helps Couple Raise $3.4mn For Reuniting Immigrant Families

Over 83,000 people have contributed to the cause on Facebook so far

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Facebook faces lawsuit for hiding job ads from women. Pixabay
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A couple in the US has seen outpouring of support from thousands of people when they set out to raise money on Facebook for reuniting immigrant parents with their children, helping them raise $3.4 million in a matter of three days, the media reported.

Charlotte and Dave Willner, set a target of raising $3.75 million, the USA Today reported on Monday.

The money raised from the Facebook campaign, “Reunite an immigrant parent with their child,” is channelled to RAICES, a Texas-based nonprofit that provides free legal services to immigrants and refugees.

Over 83,000 people have contributed to the cause on Facebook so far.

“The funding we are receiving will save lives. It will keep people from being deported to unsafe countries,” Jenny Hixon of RAICES was quoted as saying.

Facebook mobile app
Facebook mobile app, Pixabay

“It speaks to the outrage the cruel policies at the border have provoked. It honestly gives us hope in what has felt like a very dark time,” she added.

The US administration policy that separates immigrant parents from their children at the Mexico border has drawn criticism from different quarters, including the US First Lady Melania Trump.

According to the the Department of Homeland Security, nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families after illegally crossing the US border in April and May.

Also Read: Facebook To Block Defensive Ads Targeting Under Adults

Launched in 2017, Facebook’s fundraiser platform allows people to raise money for different causes, including personal causes.

Personal fundraisers allow people to raise money for a friend, themselves or a sick pet directly on Facebook.

The social media giant waived fees last year for nonprofit fundraisers. (IANS)

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Facebook Birthday Feature Raises Money For Charity

Stan Jensen, retired from working in sales at a Silicon Valley firm, received a message from Facebook asking if he wanted to mark the occasion of his birthday by dedicating the day to a cause. He did.

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Silhouettes of mobile users are seen next to a screen projection of Facebook logo in this picture illustration. VOA

When Behnoush Babzani turned 35, she threw a party. She also used her birthday to ask friends to donate to a cause she cares about deeply: helping people who need bone marrow transplants.

She herself received a bone marrow transplant from her brother.

“It’s not that my body was making cancerous cells, it was that my body was making no cells,” she said. “So think about the boy in the bubble. I had to be isolated. I didn’t have an immune system to protect me.”

Using a new feature on Facebook, Babzani in a few clicks posted a photo of herself in a hospital gown when she was receiving treatment and she asked her friends to help raise $350.

New way to raise money for causes

Facebook has always been a convenient way to send birthday wishes to friends. Now users have started taking advantage of a new feature introduced a year ago by the popular social networking site to turn birthday wishes into donations to help a favorite cause.

It’s turned into a huge success for charities. In its first year, Facebook’s birthday fundraiser feature raised more than $300 million for charities around the world. With a new revenue source, some charities are rethinking some of their standard fundraising activities.

The success of the Facebook birthday feature comes as social media users have begun to question how internet services connecting friends and family around the world have also become a mechanism for some to spread hate or influence foreign elections.

Facebook
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, left, accompanied by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey are sworn in before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on ‘Foreign Influence Operations and Their Use of Social Media Platforms’ on Capitol Hill. VOA

Networks used to spread hate

Along with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, testified in the U.S. Senate recently about steps the company has taken to identify and remove posts that violate the company’s terms of service.

“We were too slow to spot this, and too slow to act. That is on us,” Sandberg told the Senate committee.

Yet, the birthday fundraiser feature shows the power of using social media for good, says Facebook spokeswoman, Roya Winner.

“It gives people who are celebrating a birthday, a chance to turn that day into something that’s bigger than themselves,” she said.

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The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is one of the biggest receivers

Some of the biggest recipients have been St. Jude, the children’s hospital, the Alzheimer’s Association, the American Cancer Society, No Kid Hungry, which focuses on child hunger in the U.S., and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

In the days that followed, Behnoush surpassed her goal, raising more than $1,700. Her social network became an army pulling together to do good.

Rescuing sea lions

Two weeks before his 65th birthday, Stan Jensen, retired from working in sales at a Silicon Valley firm, received a message from Facebook asking if he wanted to mark the occasion of his birthday by dedicating the day to a cause. He did.

He turned to 1,400 Facebook friends to help raise money for the Marine Mammal Center in Northern California, where he volunteers once a week helping injured sea lions.

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He turned to 1,400 Facebook friends to help raise money for the Marine Mammal Center in Northern California. Flickr

He raised $2,300.

“It surpassed my wildest dreams,” he said, and he let his friends know they made a difference.

“You’ve bought a ton of fish,” he told them. “You are feeding all the animals we have on site for several days.”

Also Read: At St. Teresa Charity Home, Out of 450 Births only 170 are in Record

His birthday is coming up again, and the sea lions are always hungry. He’s perfecting his pitch: “I know I’m special to you, but I’d like just the cost of a Starbucks coffee. Just $5. Please.” (VOA)