Rocker Richie Sambora is now a techpreneur — with hopes of turning celebritydom into billions for charity.
The former Bon Jovi guitarist has co-founded Csnaps.org – an app that allows fans, celebrities and charities to share photos, videos, news and personal stories while raising money for important causes.
“When I heard a billion dollars could have been raised with one selfie — Ellen DeGeneres’ 2014 Oscar selfie — I thought, ‘Why give that away for free, when that kind of money could be funneled toward important causes?’” Sambora tells PEOPLE. “And so, Csnaps.org was born.”
The app features three ways to give back: the Fan CSnap, the Verified Celebrity Csnap and the Inspirational CSnap.
Fans are always going to ask their favorite celebrities to take pictures with them, says Sambora. “By using Fan Csnaps, you get a picture with your favorite star and money goes to help good causes and those in need, so it’s win-win for everybody.”
Fans can ask their favorite celebs to take a “Fan Csnap” using the app. If the celebrity obliges, for a small amount of money, the fan buys the picture with the funds going to the charity of the celebrity’s choice.
“The Fan Csnap is today’s humanitarian autograph,” says media strategist Terry Ahern, a co-founder of Csnaps.
Donations are tax-deductible.
Celebrities and their publicists can use Csnaps to break news, share newsworthy announcements or get ahead of a story, with the proceeds directly benefiting important causes, says Ahern.
“You can break a story on Csnaps first instead of giving it away for free,” he says. “You can get in front of a story with accurate and timely information and take control of your buzz, presenting it the way you want to present it to the media.”
The same goes for photos and videos, he says. “By uploading images of your choice to a verified Celebrity Csnaps account, you take the demand for your image away from paparazzi or hackers with proceeds going to the charity of your choice instead,” he says.
How is this different from something like Instagram? “With Csnaps, you are helping out important causes,” he says.
If you aren’t a celebrity or don’t regularly run into stars, the ‘Inspirational Csnap’ allows you to share your own images and stories with the Csnaps community in the virtual gratitude lounge, “raising funds for causes you care about,” says Ahern.
Once posted on the Csnaps platform, all Csnaps can be shared with the user’s other social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), with a message that encourages their friends and families to link back to the Csnap and add on donations, he says.
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Posing for a Good Cause
“The success of the global movement of the 2014 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge included the outpouring of compassion and support from those in the entertainment industry on behalf of people with ALS and their families,” Fred Fisher, President and CEO, The ALS Association Golden West Chapter tells PEOPLE.
“Celebrities help us bring important awareness of the challenges facing the ALS community in the fight against this devastating disease.
“Humanitarian platforms like Csnaps can be a powerful tool for raising funds to accelerate the urgent search for effective treatments and a cure for ALS.”
Pictures, videos and news given to Csnaps will raise money for charity for years to come, says Ahern. “They are sold and re-sold worldwide, with the proceeds will benefiting the various charities year after year.”
Sambora is giving back in other ways, too.
For the fourth year in a row, Sambora is performing at Friday’s Barnstable Brown Gala that kicks off the Kentucky Derby each year.
He is also donating a “one of a kind” guitar that will be auctioned off at the gala to raise funds for Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Research Center at the University of Kentucky.
Among the list of those performing are Sambora’s longtime girlfriend, guitarist Orianthi, plus Sammy Hagar and Travis Tritt.
“My idea this year is to invite all the artists to play this one-of-a-kind, stunning instrument and autograph the back when finished,” Sambora said in a statement. “This way the bidding can go on all night long while all of us can leave a little bit of love behind on that six string.
“I’m sure after Orianthi, Sammy Hagar, Kid Rock, Travis Tritt and all the other talented musicians give it spin, the value and auction donation will be the highest to date.”
Last year, the guitar Sambora auctioned off raised about $40,000 for the Barnstable Brown Center.