NONPROFIT CASE STUDY: RIP MEDICAL DEBT

 

RIP Medical Debt is not your average charitable organization. Founded in July 2014 by two former collections industry executives, the NY-based small nonprofit has a simple and yet important mission: Seek out, buy, and forgive unpaid and unpayable medical debt. With few programmatic activities beyond abolishing medical debt (and public education about the issue), RIP Medical Debt remains agile and puts donor dollars directly to use.

 

How it Works:

Cofounders Craig Antico and Jerry Ashton leverage 40 years of experience in the collections industry to negotiate the purchase of medical debt, which is bundled into portfolios for sale on the secondary debt market. They buy debt for pennies on the dollar, which is the appeal to potential donors. Each individual gift, no matter how large or small, has a great return.

The Pitch:

“RIP Medical Debt depends on donations from individuals, corporations and charitable organizations to support our vision and mission. In return for this trust, our promise is compelling: For every $14,400 we raise, we will abolish $1 million in personal medical debt —positively impacting the lives of some 300 individuals and families struggling with medical debt.
“In the larger picture, we are working to raise $14.4 million in contributions to abolish $1 billion in medical debt to positively affect the lives of some 300,000 individuals and families. When this goal is reached, we will set a new goal.”

RIP’s work is tangible, specific, and measurable. As a result, some big names are jumping on board. You may be familiar with this video clip from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, in which the HBO program spent about $60,000 to purchase almost $15 million in medical debt and then donated it to RIP Medical Debt to be forgiven. Impressive!

For those who can only donate small amounts, the value proposition is clear: Just $10 could help abolish about $700 in medical debt. That’s a better ratio than most matching gifts.

 

To learn more about the RIP Medical Debt model, see their website at RIPmedicaldebt.org.