This is a guest blog post by Daniel Ahmadizadeh, a member of the Watsi community since 2013. Daniel is a 2x CEO of Y Combinator backed startups now consulting companies like Compound, amongst other high growth startups. He is a current student at Columbia Business School and instructor at Columbia University teaching entrepreneurship and innovation.
Next time you donate on Watsi, give the below a shot:
Dedicate $5 or however much you feel comfortable in honor of a friend, family member, or even someone totally random in your network. They’ll be notified of your donation and have the opportunity to learn about Watsi through a newfound personal connection to it. Doing this not only contributes towards the cost of care but also opens the possibility that your contribution will start a ripple effect that keeps on giving. Years later, you may be surprised by the impact that your small act had.
Ten years ago, I learned about Watsi while I was a summer associate at Uprising, a venture capital firm in San Francisco. The partners of Uprising were founding donors of Watsi. I learned that Watsi was a platform making it possible to crowdfund the cost of life-changing care for people around the world in a fully transparent way. To know 100% of funds would go towards the cost of care was incredibly inspiring then, and remains true a decade later. At the time, I was new to the world of startups and to see one that was able to use technology to make an impact at a scale of that magnitude gave me goosebumps.
Upon returning to Stony Brook University that fall, I started what I believe to be Watsi's first college chapter, rallying fellow students to raise awareness and facilitate donations for the organization. Together, we hosted events and channeled our shared passion for Watsi's mission.
As all of this went on the Watsi team supported us and kept in contact, and I was able to chat with Watsi founders Grace and Chase. I even briefly worked with them! I was in the middle of my classes in New York when I learned that they needed someone to help them for the winter holidays. I flew out to San Francisco, spent Thanksgiving there, and after a few weeks made it back just in time for finals. Being able to work alongside the founding team and experience what great culture feels like and looks like first-hand were lessons that I carry with me to this day. Chase gave me autonomy on day one as if I had been there for years. I was an intern! I’ll never forget that.
As my college experience drew to a close, I graduated knowing that I had made a lasting impact, even though I couldn't predict what the future would hold for the chapter. I thought I had passed the proverbial torch to my younger brother Darian, who started raising money for Watsi via lemonade stands at our local park. Little did I know, the flame had spread to multiple students, and would for years to come.
Years passed, and I continued supporting Watsi as a dedicated donor, always eager to see the far-reaching effects of my small contributions. $5 here, $10 there, each time dedicating the donation to someone in my life. The emotional connection I developed with Watsi inspired me to dedicate donations to friends, family, and even strangers. This simple act of kindness allowed me to share the joy and gratitude I felt in helping others.
Fast forward to about a month ago. Mackinnon reached out for us to connect. We had a lovely chat where I was able to get a deeper glimpse into the impact of the organization and also share a bit more about my experience with Watsi. Towards the tail end of our conversation, she shared the news with me that made my day for days to come. She informed me that, to my surprise, the Watsi chapter at Stony Brook was not only still active but had raised $26,000, funding the cost of care for two-hundred forty-nine people!
The realization that the initial spark of starting a small college chapter had ignited a decade-long flame of giving was both humbling and heartwarming.
This emotional moment affirmed the importance of taking action, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, as it can lead to meaningful change. A big kudos to the students at Stony Brook over the years for continuing to make such a meaningful impact on the lives of so many. A likewise massive thank you to Mackinnon and the Watsi team for the work they do and for sharing this special news with me. I’ll never forget it.
As my donor journey with Watsi continues, I remain grateful for the lessons I've learned and the emotional connections I've forged along the way.
On Global Pay-It-Forward Day, I encourage you to embrace the power of giving by making a Watsi donation and dedicating it to someone you know or even someone you've never met.
Did you know Watsi’s platform allows you to dedicate your donation by typing in the email of the person you would like to dedicate your donation to? In doing so, you can create a ripple effect of kindness and impact, inspiring others to join this cycle of compassion for years to come. Most importantly, the lives of people around the world are better-lived thanks in small part due to your involvement to make their improved health a reality. And thanks to Watsi, we can all become more inspired to adopt a more positive outlook for more equitable global health.
The Watsi Team
Everyone deserves healthcare.