Philanthropy and Sponsorship
Grace Garey became interested in global issues at a young age through the influence of her parents. Her father was a supporter of peace and her mother was an English teacher who placed focus on global studies. After high school Grace studied political science and global international studies. She travelled to Ghana where she lived and studied for eight months. During this time Grace assisted with research at a Liberian Refugee camp and became concerned with the issues that refugees were facing. She was inspired to do something about solving some of the problems she noticed and took an internship at International Rescue Committee – a humanitarian non-profit organisation. The aim of the organisation is to convince the government that investment should be channelled to helping people around the world to have clean water, nutritious food, a safe place to live and other basic human rights.
The next internship Grace took was with Kiva – an organisation that operates online and provides micro-loans to entrepreneurs all over the world. During this time Grace came to realise how technology can play a big role in making social changes on a large scale.
Grace was becoming more entrenched in solving some of the issues people were experiencing around the world when a friend arrived back in the US after spending time with the Peace Corps in Costa Rica. The friend, Chase Adams, told Grace about something he experienced while he was in South America. He was on a bus when a woman boarded and started asking passengers for donations to help her son to have a vital medical procedure she could not afford. The experience inspired Chase to use online crowdfunding to help other poverty stricken people in need of healthcare procedures. Grace, Chase and another friend, Jesse Cook started the website and called it Watsi – named after the small province in Costa Rica that Chase was travelling through when he got the idea to start Watsi.
While Watsi was being launched, Grace was working in the marketing department at Kiva where she launched an education outreach program named KivaU. After this project was successfully completed, Grace took a four month fellowship to live and work in a hospital in India where she was helping to build a micro insurance program. She spent every spare moment planning and building Watsi up because of her belief that everybody in the world deserves healthcare and that this is only possible if people help one another.