Morrison, who lives in the District, founded Citizen Effect in February 2008. The nonprofit helps individuals raise money for charity by doing things they love. Their most recent project is the 30 Day Yoga Challenge, which kicked off June 30 in Malcolm X Park.
What is Citizen Effect?
We're an online platform that allows anybody to partner with a community in need around the world and raise money for that community to build a life-sustaining project. ... We're kind of like match.com for international development.
How'd you get the idea for Citizen Effect?
I met this woman who runs the Self-Employed Women's Association, out of India. ... I ended up there in winter of '06 touring around rural India. I'm a suburban kid from Chicago, and I had no idea what it was like to live in those circumstances. ... One day a woman said, "I have to walk four hours to get water every day."... When I got back I told friends and family about her, and they gave me $500 checks, and we raised $5,000 for a well. ... If you actually give people a very specific project, and give them the tools to raise money for something they really believe in, they'll get their friends and family involved. You don't have to be Bill Gates to do good in the world.
What's the craziest thing someone has done to raise money?
This one guy went to India and wanted to raise money for toilets in [a village there]. He rode his bike 3,092 miles across the country and has raised money across the way to build the toilets. It took him a couple months. We also had two retired teachers -- on fixed incomes, not a lot of extra money -- throw a chili fest. They raised almost $10,000 for water sanitation projects in India.
-- Liz Essley