Donor spotlight: eBay

We are grateful to partner with eBay to create a more inclusive financial system. Allie Ottoboni, President, eBay Foundation reflects on the company’s culture of philanthropy, commitment to small businesses, and ongoing work towards racial justice.

eBay’s support for Opportunity Fund comes from so many levels of the organization. What does it mean to have a “culture of philanthropy” at eBay?

Since eBay’s inception 25 years ago, we have been a catalyst for a better and more sustainable form of e-commerce—one in which people are empowered and opportunities are open to everyone. We create economic opportunity by connecting people from widely different backgrounds and geographies in a global marketplace that is open and inclusive for all. This sentiment also fuels our approach to philanthropy at eBay.

Through the eBay Foundation, we’re focused on our mission of inclusive entrepreneurship and partnership with organizations like Opportunity Fund which provide meaningful resources to entrepreneurs from untapped communities. We rally our employees around this mission, too: over 50% of eBay employees participated in our Foundation programs in 2019.

Through eBay for Charity’s COVID-19 relief matching campaign, an opportunity for the eBay community to buy, sell, and donate in support of nonprofits, we featured and raised nearly $55,000 for Opportunity Fund. We also offer community members the chance to support the Opportunity Fund on eBay by purchasing a Gift That Gives Back, or one of the items listed on their behalf or to donate at checkout.

Why do you support small businesses? Why is this support especially important both in the short term, and in the long term?

As a purpose driven company, eBay seeks to empower people and create economic opportunity for all. Championing small businesses around the world has been a part of eBay’s DNA since the company’s earliest days. eBay created an ecommerce marketplace that is accessible, inclusive, and fair. We empower small businesses to grow and reach new buyers online with little barrier to entry, regardless of size, background or geographic location—just as our founder Pierre Omidyar envisioned.

Small businesses have been essential to making eBay one of the world’s largest and most vibrant marketplaces. Realizing the impact that COVID-19 and shelter-in-place mandates had on small businesses and brick-and-mortar businesses around the world, we built on the work of our Retail Revival program to invite brick-and-mortar retailers to keep their business going on eBay through a small business initiative called Up & Running, which evolved to adaptations in over 25 markets worldwide. Beyond the effects of COVID-19, supporting small businesses has been and will continue to be a priority at eBay, both on our marketplace and through our philanthropic efforts.

The eBay Foundation supports small businesses through our grantmaking, like our recent employee-led program Global Give: Rapid Response, an initiative to support entrepreneurs from untapped communities around the world in response to the tremendous challenges they are currently facing as a result of the pandemic. Beginning this summer, we asked employees to learn about and vote for nonprofits that our company should support with grants, based on applications sourced by the eBay Foundation. Employees contributed 16,000 votes to organizations supporting entrepreneurs around the world, resulting in $3 million in total grant funding distributed to 53 organizations around the world.

Please tell me about eBay’s commitment to racial justice, and how your philanthropic priorities reflect that.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion sit at the heart of everything we do at eBay—they are at the core of who we are and how we build an eBay for everyone. From how we recruit talent, to the spaces we create for employees to express themselves and the way we empower small businesses—DEI is woven into the fabric of eBay.

The eBay Foundation’s mission aims to support historically untapped groups as they start and grow their businesses — including Black, Indigenous, People of Color, Women, Veterans and LGBTQ+. We have invested in organizations that support these groups, including Kiva, Inner City Advisors, and Hello Alice for a number of years.

eBay also offers a matching gifts program to increase the impact of our global employees’ donations and their volunteer time. This year, we also offered a bonus matching gifts program to ensure that employees can further this impact to organizations that matter to them—including those focused on racial justice.

Additionally, this summer we donated over $1 million, split between the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Equal Justice Initiative, in an effort to take action against systemic racism and injustice. We will continue to invest in untapped communities through our efforts. 

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