Travel insurance company sets the bar for corporate social responsibility

139 is setting the travel services industry bar for corporate social responsibility. As of this writing, 302,278 people have helped raise more than US$785,383 for 53 projects around the world.

The global initiative, called The Footprints Network, was organized in 2004 and aggregates thousands of consumer micro donations made while conducting online transactions in order to help fund community development projects that fight poverty worldwide.

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The aggregate contributions, which individually range from US$1 to US$5, assist in alleviating crushing poverty and the health, social, and environmental ills that accompany it, which today affects over two billion of the world’s population that live on less than US$2 a day.

Projects include sight restoration, farming, education, clean water, sanitation, and other essentials. Most projects The Footprints Network supports are in developing countries, which yield the greatest social return on investment.

In evaluating the merit of each project, The Footprints Network uses the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals as guide and compass:

– Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
– Achieve universal primary education
– Promote gender equality and empowering women
– Reduce child mortality
– Improve maternal health
– Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
– Ensure environmental sustainability
– Develop a global partnership for development

“Alleviating the extreme cycle of poverty and the ills that accompany it is everyone’s moral responsibility. Yet the extent of world poverty can seem so overwhelming that many of us are left feeling helpless and that the problems are just too big for any one person to make a difference,” said Christy McCarthy, community manager for and co-producer of the Positive Footprints documentary series.

A commitment to overcome this feeling of powerlessness motivated the team to found The Footprints Network after the 2004 Asian tsunami. In five years, it has grown into an independent network of e-commerce businesses that share the same ethics and values and, through technology, seek to change the world by asking customers spending money online to make a small donation to charity at the same time. supports all administrative costs of the program so 100 percent of donations go directly to the projects. The Footprints Network is an alliance of e-commerce companies and their customers plus project partners. The business partners include, Travel Insurance Direct,,, and REMO General Store. Charity partners include Oxfam, the Fred Hollows Foundation, Save the Children, Water Aid, and many more.

“We’re looking for more online e-commerce business partners to integrate the Footprints mechanism into their shopping carts and, transaction by transaction, help make a difference,” said McCarthy. “We are committed to being an integral part of every adventurous traveler’s journey. Since launching in 2002, our focus has been on providing a range of services to keep adventurous and independent travelers safe on the road.”