A plea created by Kim Cassidy of Powell, Missouri petitioning three employees of JP Morgan Chase, including its President and CEO Jamie Dimon succeeded in gaining enough grass roots support to convince the bank to reduce the size of her and her disabled husband's monthly mortgage payment so that they could avoid foreclosure. Kim Cassidy had claimed that the bank originally defrauded them out of an additional $300 a month after buying their loan in a "mortgage rate swap" scheme.
Beside the victory for the local Missouri couple, Change.org and a petition created by Molly Katchpole of Washington, D.C. claim success in Bank of America's dropping a proposed debit card fee gaining the support of 306,894 petitioners. Also successful was the moving forward last month of a ban on plastic botttles at the Grand Canyon which drew 100,270 supporters for former journalist Stiv Wilson working with the research organization 5 Gyres. The National Park Service originally had canceled its ban on plastic bottles after corporate influence from Coca Cola but because of the strength of the people's rally, the ban may go into effect as early as spring 2012. They also received over 165,000 signatures for stopping the fee for paying bills online considered by Verizon. Other causes deal with these subjects: animals, health, criminal justice, human rights, economic justice, human trafficking, education, immigrant rights, environment, sustainable food, gay and women's rights.
Change.org began as a social venture in 2006 by two former classmates from Stanford University living in California, Ben Rattray of San Francisco and Mark Dimas of San Mateo. In about six years they say they have grown to 80 staff members and have offices in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. as well as a team of organizers distributed around the world. Their financial support comes from fees from agencies like the Humane Society or Women for Women.org who want to target specific audiences.
Starting a petition involves answering three questions. Why? What do you want done? And why is it important? To begin go here.
Tim Newman, a senior organizer at Change.org, contributed to this article.