GiveForward Helps Families Raise $7 Million For Out-Of-Pocket Medical Expenses

Updated on October 21, 2011

We came across the release below about a wonderful organization and wanted to share it with our readers.—Harvey

Study shows Americans unprepared but Chicago crowdfunding startup, GiveForward, helps people cover costs

Studies show Americans, even those with insurance, are not able to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses. Chicago startup GiveForward has changed this and since August of 2008 has helped people raise over $7 million for out-of-pocket medical expenses.

On the cutting edge of the crowdfunding revolution, GiveForward provides online fundraising pages that empower friends and family to support a loved one in need. Over $7 million has gone to help people cover the cost of medical treatment, out-of-pocket medical expenses or purchase medical equipment.

A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research shows 50% of American households certainly or probably wouldn’t be able to cope with a $2,000 expense, such as a medical co-pay. The average medical fundraiser on GiveForward raises almost $3,000.

“There is a huge gap in this country between what insurance covers and what people are expected to pay when they get sick,” says GiveForward co-founder Ethan Austin. “In creating GiveForward, we’ve been able to shrink that gap by giving people the tools to tap into the generosity of their social networks.”

GiveForward by the numbers:

  • $7 million raised
  • Over 84,000 donations made
  • Over 6,500 completed fundraisers
  • Two co-founders both under 30 years old

Who Is GiveForward?
GiveForward was co-founded by two young entrepreneurs, Desiree Vargas Wrigley and Ethan Austin, with the philosophy that too often, people are comfortable with giving gifts of money during times of celebration such as a graduation or wedding but during times of real need, like a critical illness, people are afraid to give financial help. GiveForward’s focus is to turn this perceived negative situation into an opportunity for the community to come together in support of a loved one. The simple fundraising page makes it easy for friends and family, no matter how far away, to contribute in a meaningful way by sending love and financial support.

But it is more than just a website, the GiveForward team provides support through every moment of the fundraising process with step-by-step guides, fundraising coaches, and details on how to use free fundraising tools like social media to make fundraisers successful. For more information, visit

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