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JJ Ramberg: Searching For Charitable Success

In 2005, journalist JJ Ramberg, who reports on business for MSNBC, partnered with her brother Ken, a dot com entrepreneur, to launch, a Yahoo-powered search engine that donates half of its revenue to the charities and schools its users designate.

The Rambergs wanted to create a way for people to effortlessly support and feel connected to their favorite charities. They knew everyone cares about a cause—whether it’s finding a cure for AIDS, rescuing stray animals, cleaning up the environment, or improving education—but not everyone has the time or money to devote. They identified a way to take something that most of us do every day—search the Internet—and turn it into doing good simultaneously. Ramberg says search engines earned more than six billion dollars in advertising revenue last year and with she’s hoping to redirect some of that money to organizations trying to make the world a better place.

Ramberg, who graduated cum laude from Duke University and holds an MBA from Stanford Business School, is no stranger to philanthropy. She has volunteered overseas in India and Uganda for microfinance organizations. After watching her mother lose her battle to cancer, Ramberg knows how great the need is to raise funds to care for those suffering from the disease. Her nephew is fatally allergic to peanuts so her family works to raise money for an organization searching for a cure. And one of her best friends started the TEAK Fellowship program, which fundraises to support its effort to help economically disadvantaged children get into good schools.

While our favorite non-profit is the Women For Hire Foundation, which was established in 2005 to assist displaced, low income women with career development, users can choose to support any cause they wish. Each time you conduct a search, just as you would on any other search engine, a penny goes to your favorite charity, which is generated from’s advertising revenue. One hundred people searching just four times a day will raise more than $1,400 a year for a cause.

More than 21,000 organizations are listed on GoodSearch, ranging from giants like the United Way to an Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, and the first round of checks were mailed in December 2006. Ramberg says it was incredibly rewarding to see how her enterprise is working to fund so many great causes. Her efforts are certainly good news for all of them.