BT is Giving Away $100,000.
FOR RELEASE ON AUGUST 13, 2018
A five-person personal injury law firm based in Atlanta, Georgia, Butler Tobin, is giving away $100,000. But they don’t know where the money is going—yet.
The firm’s stated goal is to do “the greatest good for the greatest number.” On its webpage devoted to the gift, the firm writes that “[f]or less than the cost of a bicycle or a leather couch, we can save children from death by malnutrition, cure blindness caused by parasitic flies, or distribute hundreds of malaria-stopping insect nets. These opportunities are too good to pass up.”
“We’re lawyers, not professional philanthropists,” explained Jeb Butler, one of the firm’s founding partners. “We want to do good in the world, but we don’t know where the best place to give is. So we created a simple application process.”
The firm is open to giving to any reputable, 501(c)(3) organization. But the firm says that giving money to an organization that operates in the developing world is most likely because they believe it is “the most cost-effective way to make a positive difference,” according to the webpage. The firm explains that although there are many worthy causes in the United States and Georgia, problems like malnutrition, death from easily-curable diseases, and displacement as a result of civil wars are far more common in the developing world. The firm is open to addressing those causes or others—the overriding goal is to provide as much help to as many people as possible.
Darren Tobin, the firm’s other founding partner, said that the firm had been looking forward to being able to make a substantial gift for a long time. “We’ve always wanted to do this,” Tobin said. “We committed to giving a certain percentage of our profits away if our profits hit a certain threshold, and in 2017, they did. Now we’re living up to the promise we made to ourselves.”
To apply to receive the gift, a charitable organization should go to www.butlertobin.com/bt-giving to see how the process works. Then the organization should email a written application and the link to a short, explanatory YouTube video to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The other three members of Butler Tobin also expressed excitement at the prospect of making a difference. “It’s a really special thing to get to work with people who want to help others, and always look for more ways to do good,” said Alyssa Baskam, an associate attorney with the firm. “I feel lucky to be a part of it.”
Sarah Christy, the firm’s longest-tenured paralegal, added “We’re all excited to see BT’s hard work extend beyond the office walls, Georgia’s state lines, and hopefully have an impact across the globe.”
Devin Ripley, who joined the firm in 2017, said “Helping others is what we do here. With this, people’s lives can be saved. There’s no greater purpose than that.”
Members of the firm say they were inspired by Peter Singer, a moral philosopher who teaches at Princeton University. Notably, Singer gave a TED Talk in 2013 describing what he termed “effective altruism,” the process of giving in such a way as to maximize the positive effect of the gift. Singer’s TED Talk has been watched over 1.6 million times.