TripAdvisor found a unique way to earn itself some PR by donating $1 million to charity—and letting users vote online on where the money went. The "More than Footprints" program (not to be confused with carbon footprints) ended up getting more than a million user votes (voting was free), allocating the funds between 5 different charities. The people have spoken. Here's the breakdown of funds each charity is to receive:• $392,000 - Doctors Without Borders
• $347,000 - Save the Children
• $137,000 - The Nature Conservancy
• $70,000 - Conservation International
• $54,000 - National Geographic Society
Though these are all fine charities, I can't help but feel ambivalent about this contest as a whole. On one hand, it could easily be considered a corporate gimmick (Rosario Dawson even chimed in at one point and urged users to vote in a YouTube video)—but the fact that the initiative involved so many in the philanthropic process is certainly positive. And though I can't help but feel that running important non-profit organizations head to head in a sort of popularity contest is unnecessary, at the very least, it may have familiarized some folks with charities and organizations that don't regularly get publicity. Also, the popularity generated by user participation may inspire other corporations to undertake similar philanthropic drives. Thoughts?
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