By Katie Couric
Edward Norton is a Hollywood A-lister with memorable roles in "Primal Fear," "Fight Club" and "American History X." He's also a passionate philanthropist with an entrepreneurial spirit. After running the New York City Marathon for charity in 2009, he got the idea of developing an online platform that would combine fundraising with social media; soon after he co-founded Crowdrise.
Crowdrise is a for-profit company that makes money by charging small transaction fees on charitable contributions while maximizing the dollars that actually reach an organization. Norton says he expects more than $100 million to be donated through the site this year alone.
Part of the charm of Crowdrise is that it encourages those looking to raise money for a cause to think outside the box. One of the best examples comes from St. Louis, where Tony Cerame and John Simon came up with an idea to raise money for MS after Simon was diagnosed with the disease. The music lovers pledged to go to a concert of a band they couldn't stand, completely sober. "It started as a joke, and it's something that's grown a lot bigger," Cerame says.
After initally going to a Creed show, they brought on board a third member, Jason Struttmann, and have since "endured" Cher and the Backstreet Boys, raising over $15,000 so far. And in an unlikely twist, the trio did admit to becoming big fans of Cher after the show!
Norton says that it's efforts like that which help a great cause without the organization ever having to lift a finger: "This money just arrives at their doorstep, which is exactly our dream."