Fundraising from space – Fundraising & Philanthropy Australasie Magazine
Two billionaires, four intrepid space tourists, 72,000 donors and $ 210 million raised for a children’s hospital.
Photo credit: Inspiration4 / John Kraus
History was made on September 16, 2021, when the first fully civilian manned space flight mission was launched from the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It was also the first time that a person wearing a prosthesis had ventured into space.
But, for the fundraisers among us, perhaps what is most historic about this expedition is the “astronomical” amount (see what we did there?) Tweet.
The Inspiration4 mission was designed by billionaire businessman Jared Isaacman, 38-year-old founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, and accomplished pilot and adventurer. Isaacman spent an undisclosed amount to charter a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule and detonate himself and three of his teammates in low earth orbit, crashing safely into the Atlantic after completing a three-day flight. .
It was undoubtedly a giant leap for space tourism, but this mission was more than just revolutionary space travel; at the base was also a colossal fundraising goal.
Beneficiaries back on planet Earth
In 1962, the same year an American circled the earth for the first time, a new hospital opened in Memphis, Tennessee, with the aim of finding cures for children with cancer and other deadly diseases. , regardless of their race, ethnicity, beliefs or a family’s ability to pay.
That hospital was the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which invented treatments responsible for increasing the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to over 80% in the United States.
The Inspiration4 mission aimed to raise US $ 200 million for St Jude. A very ambitious goal for a very worthy cause, but the fundraising goal was not the only connection between the expedition and the children’s hospital.
The three lucky adventurers to join Jared Isaacman
Hayley Arceneaux was one of the lucky three crew members to secure a seat alongside Isaacman on the Inspiration4 mission. She is also a medical assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and a childhood cancer survivor. Hayley was diagnosed with bone cancer at the age of 10. Her family turned to St. Jude for her treatment and care, which included a dozen cycles of chemotherapy, limb preservation surgery with knee replacement, and placement of a titanium rod in her. bone of his left thigh. As an adult, the experience inspired her to continue her role as physician assistant to cancer patients in St. Jude.
Hayley completes a historic trifecta of being the first person with a prosthesis to enter space and being one of four crew members of the first fully civilian human spaceflight while also being the youngest American to fly in space at 29.
She and Isaacman are joined by Chris Sembroski, a data engineer who entered a raffle by donating to St. Jude, and Sian Proctor, a geoscience professor who won his spot by entering a competition for digital entrepreneurs. .
Unlike the years of training completed by professional astronaut crews, the Inspiration4 crew only undertook six months of preparation, scaling Mount Rainier together and completing astronaut training activities.
Each of the four crew members represent the pillars of the mission of leadership, hope, generosity and prosperity.
Jared Isaacman, as the leader of the mission, brought with him the rather useful skill of being a skilled jet pilot. He also contributed US $ 100 million to the fundraising goal of US $ 200 million.
But wait, we said of them billionaires right? So where does the second come from?
Wouldn’t it be nice to think that we could all get our next major donation just by posting a Tweet to communicate the need? Well, that’s exactly what happened to the Inspriation4 crew when they requested more funds upon their return to Earth.
This resulted in an engagement from the CEO of SpaceX, who happens to be the one and only Elon Musk. His answer ?
Look, we do recognize that there was some envisioned strategy and pre-existing relationships involved, not to mention Musk’s interest in space travel, but his donation is impressive nonetheless and brings the fundraiser total to so far at $ 210 million.
With millions of dollars raised for childhood cancer research and historic firsts in spaceflight and manned exploration, the sky is certainly not the limit when it comes to what we can accomplish with it. space travel … so watch this “space”!
You can watch Inspriation4’s splashdown here or, to deepen this historical journey, consult the docuseries “Countdown: Inspiration4 mission in space”, broadcast for a limited time on Netflix.