CrowdRise Launches Holiday Charity Challenge Because Giving Back Is Supposed to Be Fun Craig Newmark of craigconnects and a Few Other Generous Philanthropists Offer $200K in Prizes for Winning Charities; Any 501c3 can join, plus anyone else can fundraise for and donate to their favorite causes

DETROIT, Nov. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- CrowdRise launched the third annual Holiday Charity Challenge – the holiday season's largest and most fun crowdsourced online giving and fundraising event -- with the announcement of Craig Newmark and other philanthropists' generous donations of $200K in prize money for competing charities.

The Challenge, with support from The Huffington Post, runs from 12:00 p.m. ET, November 18 through 11:59 a.m. ET, January 9 and promises grand prize donations to the three charities to raise the most money during the Challenge; a record $100K for first place, $40K for second place and $20K for third place. Charities will also have the opportunity to win thousands of dollars more in prizes during weekly Bonus Challenges.

More than $75K was raised during the first 24 hours of the Challenge, the fastest start to any CrowdRise Holiday Challenge and a reflection of how many charities and celebrities are making CrowdRise their go-to site for holiday giving campaigns.

Some of the entertainment industry's biggest talents including Will Ferrell (Cancer for College), Sean Penn (J/P Haitian Relief Organization), Ian Somerhalder (Ian Somerhalder Foundation) and Seth Rogen (Hilarity for Charity) are joining this year's Challenge to help raise the most money for the causes they are most passionate about with exciting prizes, including two tickets to the Anchorman 2 movie premiere at the Beacon Theater in New York City and a feature article in The Huffington Post about your favorite charity.

Other participating celebrities and their causes include: Edward Norton (Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust), Sophia Bush (The Nature Conservancy), Jason Bateman (City Year), Kristen Bell (Epath.org), Olivia Wilde (Artists for Peace and Justice), Christy Turlington (Every Mother Counts), Eliza Dushku (THRIVEGulu), Brittany Snow (Love Is Louder) and Conan O'Brien (Children's Hospital Los Angeles).

The Holiday Charity Challenge on CrowdRise consistently represents the largest crowdsourced philanthropy event during the holidays for anyone to fundraise for or donate to their favorite causes. Last year's Challenge crowdsourced $1.1 million in small donations benefiting charities across the country.

This is Craig Newmark's third CrowdRise campaign. His past contributions on CrowdRise have leveraged to raise more than a half million dollars for charities supporting veterans and Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. A number of brands and foundations have used CrowdRise for fundraising Challenges, including the Skoll Foundation, Groupon, Newman's Own Foundation, Martha Stewart and Mozilla. The Challenge model, which is exclusive to CrowdRise, is quickly becoming a favorite of forward-thinking corporations, philanthropists and foundations, for whom crowdfunding is a needed update on the "giant check presentation" standard of institutional philanthropy. Countless charities plan for CrowdRise's recurring Challenges as critical moments in their yearly fundraising cycles.

"CrowdRise is an effective way to help out nonprofit groups, and I'm excited we already have more than 500 charities and counting coming together this holiday season to raise a lot of money for nonprofits getting the job done," said Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and craigconnects.

"At HuffPost, we're delighted to be a part of the Holiday Charity Challenge, using the HuffPost platform to share stories of giving," said Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-In-Chief of The Huffington Post Media Group. "There's no better time than the holidays to open up the conversation about the unique power of giving to not only improve the lives of others, but to help us bring purpose and meaning to our lives." 

 "Our supreme focus at CrowdRise is to make giving back fun," said CrowdRise cofounder and CEO Robert Wolfe. "And we're relentless about finding awesome and notable ways for people and organizations to be so, so psyched to raise money for their favorite causes. The CrowdRise Holiday Challenge creates 'that moment'...a moment that isn't a dinner or disaster. The CrowdRise Holiday Challenge is just a cool and fun way to rally your friends to engage and give back and drive some kick ass impact."

About CrowdRise

CrowdRise is a crowd-funding platform for people and organizations to raise support for charitable causes. CrowdRise's core principles are that people have unprecedented power to use the power of networks to leverage their personal capacity and that raising money for charity and giving back should be fun. CrowdRise's custom-built platform and game theory, as well as the company's proven record of designing innovative crowd-funding strategies, provide individual fundraisers, charities, and events with powerful tools to raise the most money for their causes and share compelling philanthropic stories with their personal networks. The site lets anyone turn their friends into an active base of donors for any cause and lets any organization, company, or event unlock untapped leverage out of their existing platform.

About craigconnects

Launched in March 2011, craigconnects is Craig Newmark's personal, Web-based initiative to support philanthropy and public service. The initiative spotlights individuals, organizations, and agencies working for veterans and military families, open government, public diplomacy, back-to-basics journalism, consumer protection, and technology for the common good. 

About The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post is a Pulitzer Prize-winning source of breaking news, features, and entertainment, as well as a highly engaged community for opinion and conversation. The Huffington Post has 46 million monthly U.S. unique visitors and 78 million monthly global unique visitors (comScore, August 2013) posting over eight million comments each month. The site has over 50,000 bloggers -- from politicians, students and celebrities to academics, parents and policy experts -- who contribute in real-time on the subjects they are most passionate about. The Huffington Post has editions in the UK, Canada, France, Spain, Italy, Japan and Maghreb.

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