PORTLAND, Ore. -- Julien Leitner is 13 years old -- and he intends to change the world.
The Northwest Portland teen developed a web site and posted a YouTube video asking a million people to donate two dollars each.
“What’s it cost to change the world? Two bucks,” he says on the video.
The idea developed over the last two years, Leitner said, as he thought about service projects. The Caitlin Gabel student worked with “Head Start” students in the past. But this time he wanted to do something more. He hit upon the idea of leveraging the power of the Internet.
“Just loved the idea of trying to get a bunch of people to give a little bit of money um, cause it lets anyone be a philanthropist, let's anyone change the world," Leitner said.
On his video, he points out the ways many of us waste two dollars. "For two bucks you can buy a bag of chips or a quarter hour of parking...Or for two bucks, you can change the world," he said.
Leitner launched his web site in August and began taking contributions. Payment is accepted by Paypal at the site. The money is held by the Charitable Partnership Fund which is a 501CR non profit. The Partnership Fund will handle the money and make the final payments, leaving Leitner to focus on raising the money.
He's picked 3 different charities---contributors will vote on who gets the money---and the winner takes all.
Each spend 80 percent or more in the field, none have a religious mission, and all are relatively small.
“I don’t want them to have a huge, primary fund raiser. Like Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. You know two million buck to them is a drop in the bucket. But any of these three: Invisible Children, Outreach International, and Village Reach, its huge," Leitner said.
Leitner says he grew up learning to help others from his parents. His dad Peter is a chiropractor. His mom, Victoria is executive director of the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art.
His mom says the 13-year-old has taken his project much farther than she expected. “I think it’s been pretty astounding. It’s a great journey for him. A real incredible learning experience. Very ambitious. Very ambitious for a 13-year-old but he is a smart, empathetic and ambitious 13-year-old," Victoria Frey said.
Julien Leitner's web site archimedesalliance.org has collected $6,000 so far. But as more people find him on the web, the pace of donations is growing. And he's confident he'll meet his goals, changing the way we think about philanthropy and raising $2 million - two bucks at a time.
More at: Archimedesalliance.org
UPDATE: Within the first 72 hours of the airing of KGW's story, donations to Archimedesalliance.org increased 50 percent.