Limerick brothers Patrick and John Collison
LIMERICK billionaires, the Collison brothers, have helped to drive a $220,000 fundraising campaign to fight US President Donald Trump's anti-immigration policies.
Patrick and John Collison, the founders of online payments firm Stripe, initiated the campaign on Twitter alongside other leaders in the tech industry, following widespread condemnation of President Trump’s travel ban, predominantly against Muslims.
The brothers from Castletroy, described as 'the youngest and fastest growing billionaires in Irish history', have now helped to raise in excess of $220,000 (€205,000) between them and other start-up leaders in Silicon Valley and San Francisco.
Patrick Collison, 28, has pledged $50,000 (€46,766) to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which witnessed a massive surge in donations over the weekend.
He credited his brother John, 26, with motivating him to raise funds for the ACLU, following his earlier “undisclosed” donation to the group in December last, which he described as a “large” and “significant personal donation”.
He said John recognised then that the donations are “going to matter” and that he wishes he had made his own pledge sooner.
“In our view the latest executive actions are morally wrong, economically damaging, and harmful to America's global stature. Immigrants are a vital part of the American economy, way of life, and place in the world,” said a spokesperson for Stripe.
“At Stripe, we are concerned about the second-order effects of these policies, and we would like to make our opposition to them very clear. But we can't pat ourselves on the back for simply affirming the basics of what the US stands for. We have work to do, and are organising as we speak,” said the spokesperson.
ACLU, a non-governmental organisation, said people donated $24.2 million (€22.6m) online to the organisation over the weekend - six times more than it normally raises online in an entire year.
The donations rose dramatically Trump's ban on refugees and immigrants from entering the US from seven predominantly Muslim countries, which has led to condemnation and protests worldwide.
Patrick Collison urged his followers to make a donation to ACLU, saying he would match the same amount, and within an hour $15,000 had been pledged. His followers tweeted pictures in response to him as proof of their donations.
ACLU is asking the public to help them "protect the rights of refugees and immigrants - and everyone across America."
The Collison brothers are among 10 Irish people included in the recent Forbes’s prestigious '30 under 30 Europe' list of leading innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders.
Their rapidly growing online payments firm, founded in 2009, offers payment processing services for online and mobile transactions.
It supports credit card payments in more than 130 different currencies, bank transfers, Bitcoin and Alipay, and counts firms such as Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, GE, Adidas, DocuSign, Slack, Nasdaq and the NFL among its customers.
The company, whose backers include Sequoia Capital and PayPal founders Peter Thiel and Elon Musk, is valued at $9 billion (€8.48bn).
The San Francisco-headquartered company, which employs more than 500 people globally, now operates in 25 countries, with its European headquarters in Dublin.