Friday, June 26, marked the 70th Anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Charter in San Francisco. Along with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Gov. Jerry Brown, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and other dignitaries, a cohort of 70 digital leaders were invited to celebrate the historic event. Included among the 70 was BitGive Foundation founder Connie Gallippi and Alyse Killeen of March Capital, both representing the Bitcoin industry.“It was a true honor and pleasure to be invited to join the United Nations 70th Anniversary Celebration and luncheon for the Top 70 Bay Area Tech Leaders,” Gallippi said. “Attending this event and representing Bitcoin’s philanthropic foundation was truly an inspiring and educational experience.”After the formal public ceremony at City Hall, which included speeches and the presentation of the Key to the City of San Francisco to the U.N. secretary-general, there was a luncheon followed by a group discussion among the digital leaders.”Our #UN70 Digital Leader peers generally came from two camps: 1) sophisticated technology innovators and investors, and 2) social impact entrepreneurs and funders,” said Killeen. “What was most exciting was the overlap that existed between these groups. The technologists were highly socially aware, and the social impact leaders were technically savvy. Bitcoin and blockchain further connects the two camps, and, as a result, was a popular topic of discussion.”Killeen also noted that there was a good deal of diversity among the members. The list of leaders in the consortium included men and women from around the world.“I met so many top-notch entrepreneurs and tech leaders with a common passion for making a positive social impact,” Gallippi added. “Everyone was very positive and open-minded, and many were curious and inspired by the possibilities for Bitcoin to help drive change on important issues.”To everyone’s surprise, the secretary-general introduced a special guest at the leaders’ luncheon: Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai. She had asked particularly for the opportunity to speak with the digital leadership group.“Meeting Malala was the highlight of the event for me,” said Gallippi. “She is such an amazing inspiration.”She added that Malala spoke “off the cuff” about the potential impact of technology on empowering girls and women in the developing world, but that tech companies must be sensitive to the needs of the people they are trying to reach. The existing infrastructure also needs to be taken into consideration and adequate support must be offered.Other highlights of the conference included the introduction of The Global Goals initiative which will roll out in September.This ambitious collection of 17 goals, developed by U.N. representatives from all over the world, include ending extreme poverty, fighting inequalities and tackling climate change.“It was quite exciting to see the perfect alignment of these Global Goals with the mission of the BitGive Foundation,” said Gallippi. “I look forward to leveraging bitcoin, blockchain technology, and the Bitcoin industry to help reach these universal goals for a better world for all!” Killeen echoed Gallippi’s enthusiasm after the event: “I’m excited to take the next steps to work with other U.N. Digital Leaders on blockchain-based project ideas born at SF City Hall on the U.N.’s 70th birthday!”The BitGive Foundation, the first U.S.-registered Bitcoin charity, is currently soliciting donations for its 2nd Anniversary online auction to be held next week. Thus far, the Foundation has collected items and services from individuals and companies alike, including autographed books from Zapchain and Purse, jewelry from Overstock, and getaways from Gem COO Ken Miller and Airbitz CEO Paul Puey, among others. All funds raised through the auction will support the foundation’s work to support various philanthropic efforts on behalf of the Bitcoin community.Both Gallippi and Killeen will be presenting at the upcoming Inside Bitcoins conference in Chicago on July 10-11th, where the conference will also be hosting a fundraising campaign for BitGive.For more information about the BitGive Foundation and its charitable mandate, visit www.BitGiveFoundation.org. Photos courtesy of Connie Gallippi.
Christie Harkin is the contributions editor at Bitcoin Magazine.