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Justgiving's CEO wins Albert Medal 'for democratising fundraising'

Zarine Kharas
Zarine Kharas

Zarine Kharas, CEO of online donations service Justgiving, has been awarded the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce’s (RSA) Albert Medal “for democratising fundraising” and technology for charities.
Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the RSA, said: “In creating Justgiving Zarine Kharas changed the rules of the charity game, bringing web technologies within the reach of every charity in the UK, and making it easier for all of us to support great causes. Hers is an inspiring example of the long-lasting social value that a company can deliver under the right leadership.”
First awarded in 1864, the Albert medal was created as a memorial to Prince Albert, who had been President of the Society for 18 years. It was originally given ‘for distinguished merit in promoting Arts, Manufactures and Commerce’. Today, it acknowledges individuals who contribute to social innovation.
Kharas said: “I am humbled and honoured to receive the Albert Medal on Justgiving’s behalf. The internet has been, and continues to be, a revolutionary force, and we are proud to have harnessed some of its power for the benefit of charities, especially the smaller ones.”
Since early 2001, the site has enabled 7 million individuals to collect over £400 million for 6,700 charities.
The company expanded to the USA in 2003, where it is known as Firstgiving.
According to Kharas, all profits have so far been re-invested in the business and “investors have yet to make a return”.
Recent recipients of the award include Sir Tim Berners-Lee in 2002 for his contribution to the World Wide Web and Professor Stephen Hawking in 1999 for making physics more accessible.