eBay Inc. employees in Shanghai recently completed a donation drive for those affected by the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that hit Sichuan province, in southwestern China, on April 20. They raised 68,885 yuan, or about U.S. $11,000, in cash and via PayPal.
The earthquake killed more than 200 people and left tens of thousands homeless in a mountainous, rural region. The same area had been devastated by an earthquake in 2008 that killed 70,000 people and left at least 4 million homeless.
“I remember it clearly right after arriving in the office on Monday,” said Snow Geng, a software development manager and GIVE Team leader. “I got called, pinged, emailed, all about the same thing: what we can do for those earthquake victims.”
Snow described rapid coordination to launch the donation drive across Marketplaces and PayPal teams in China, with volunteers stepping up from each organization. “With the co-effort, the donation event quickly started on Tuesday afternoon,” Snow said.
The funds raised will be sent to the One Foundation via PayPal. eBay Foundation will be matching donations as well. The One Foundation, an independent fundraising organization established by action movie star Jet Li, focuses on disaster relief, children's welfare and philanthropy development. Its efforts in response to the Sichuan earthquake have included aid in search and rescue, disaster relief and rebuilding.
When last month’s earthquake hit, eBay Inc. employees from around the world were en route to Sichuan for a mission with Habitat for Humanity.
Although Wuzhi, the town where the eBay employees were heading, was not affected, the tragedy underlined the importance of their work.
“Being in the Sichuan region right after the earthquake happened brought many emotions to our Habitat team,” said Vicki Perryman, vice president, Global Customer Experience, Marketplaces. “We were reminded of the importance of the work we were doing to provide soundly built homes for our partner families – we took the alignment of each brick seriously, knowing that if we didn’t do it right, the foundation and walls might not hold up in a strong earthquake.”
“Seeing the ‘sweat’ we put into just one home made me appreciate the enormity of the task ahead in repairing the earthquake stricken areas,” said Lambert Kiang, a senior manager in Product Management for PayPal Australia.
One morning, on the way to their Habitat worksite, the team saw a donation station and stopped their bus to contribute. The volunteers were all clearly touched, Vicki said.
For the past two years, eBay Inc’s holiday donation as a company was made to Habitat for Humanity, with employees applying for the opportunity to build a home for a family in need. This year, teammates went to India, Brazil, China and a site in the United States.
Watch a video of the team in Sichuan: http://youtu.be/pVrguvgxSn8
Photo of the Habitat team making a donation to earthquake victims in Jianyang, Sichuan: From left to right, Cameron McLean, Vicki Perryman, Maria Mutamiri, Prashanthi Ravanavarapu, Anna Tataruch-Krawczyk and Jocelyn Fiorello. Photo by Henry Chai.