Seen through the eyes of people working hard to raise funds for very deserving causes, it can sometimes appear that big multinationals are rather detached from the realities of life on the ground. Well sometimes no doubt they are, but thankfully, not always. Working closely as we do at GoRaise with charities and fundraisers, it is always refreshing to come across a company that gets it – a good business understands it’s good to give something back, right?

So when we formed a partnership with the world’s biggest on-line auction site, eBay, we decided to take a good look at their philanthropic credentials. We were pleasantly surprised at what we found.

ebay foundation 3

Check out their credentials for yourself – it makes pretty interesting reading. Here are our 10 most intriguing facts you may not know about eBay…

1.  ebay was set up as AuctionWeb on September 4, 1995, by e-entrepreneur and as it turns out quite the philanthropist French-born computer programmer Pierre Omidyar.

2.  One of the first items sold was a broken laser pointer to a collector of broken laser pointers. I ask you. Mr Omidyar was clearly on to something…

3.  Fast forward 20 years and eBay now represents an impressive 18 per cent of global e-commerce.

4.  eBay set up their very own charitable foundation in 1998 and in 2014, the eBay Foundation gave a total of £3.1 million in grants to nonprofit organisations worldwide, bringing their total giving since the start to nearly £23 million. Yes, that reads £23 million.

5.  It seems they are really into employee matched giving – according to the  eBay Social Impact review last year, they matched more than £988,000 of employees’ charitable contributions, and their employees volunteered more than 30,000 hours of their time to nonprofit organisations worldwide in 2014. I know a few charities who wouldn’t mind getting themselves a slice of that particular action themselves…

ebay foundation

6.  The eBay Foundation has teamed up with four governments including the UK’s Department for International Development, to establish a whopping £132 million venture capital fund to support the Millennium Development Goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030. The plan is to support innovation and entrepreneurship in developing countries. Excellent work.

7.  Through collaborative partnerships with nonprofit organisations and the development of business accelerators, eBay has successfully provided funding for early-stage entrepreneurs impacting 52,000 micro-entrepreneurs and 2.2 million individuals.

8.  A lesser known fact, eBay has been listed as a Best Place to Work for the LGBT community in the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index since 2009.

9.  The Ethisphere Institute, an international think tank, named eBay as one of the world’s most ethical companies for 2014. This is the fourth time that the company has earned this honour from the Institute. “Wahoo” I hear them cry from distant and no doubt slightly warmer California.

10.  Pierre Omidyar says he wanted to create an Internet trading forum that build notions of community into the workings of eBay because he believed that people are basically good, and given the chance to do right, they generally will.   

Looks like my pals and I at GoRaise have partnered up with some kindred spirits. Just the job.