Dreams Within Reach, Great Causes

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Omaze co-founder Ryan Cummins is revolutionizing the idea of the charity auction. And he'd like to know if you'd like an opportunity to go out for pizza with Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Tom Brady, in Boston. Or, possibly, to be a VIP guest at the first Festival of Disruption, in L.A. The exciting part? Anyone can win, for a ten-dollar donation. Unlike traditional charity auctions, Omaze contributors don't shell out thousands of dollars, to become the "highest bidder" for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Ryan says that frequently, the top-prize winner has given a ten-dollar donation. Omaze, which is run as a sweepstakes (not a lottery), has raised, literally, millions for charity through their campaigns. The causes they've benefited include Artists for Peace and Justice, the UNICEF Foundation and the Geffen Playhouse. And if people donate, but don't win the "dream experiences" they've hoped for? "Campaign perks", for donations of twenty-five dollars or more, range from digital thank-you cards to T-shirts and autographed memorabilia. Ryan talked about his background in filmmaking and entertainment, how he and co-founder Matt Pohlson came to create Omaze in 2011 and some of his favorite stories about their campaigns. On this edition of Over Coffee® you'll hear: How Ryan's growing-up years led to his passion for storytelling and the work he's currently doing; Some of the experiences he and Matt had, prior to Omaze, as filmmakers and producers; The experience that led to the creation of Omaze; The steps Ryan and Matt took, toward making their idea a reality; Ryan's recollections from the business's early days; What was involved in growing the platform from there; How Omaze works; How they select the causes they support; A hint of new model they'll be premiering next year, to benefit other nonprofits (more information to come!); What services Omaze offers, and how donated funds break down between operational costs and amounts given to the charities; (While we can't break it early), a hint of some of Omaze's upcoming "dream experience" offerings; Some of Ryan's favorite stories about celebrities' (very positive) responses to their winners; The resources Ryan found most helpful; One of the best lessons he learned, as an entrepreneur.

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