Co-Founder of RIP Medical Debt, Jerry Ashton, Retires from Nonprofit
After 40 years in the collections industry, and founding RIP in 2014, Ashton transitions to the nonprofit’s Board of Directors
New York, NY – October 30, 2020 – The national charity, RIP Medical Debt, the only U.S. charity to pioneer medical debt abolishment across the U.S., has announced that its co-founder, Jerry Ashton, will be stepping down from his position as Director of Education and Engagement while remaining on the board of directors.
“I feel blessed to have had this extraordinary opportunity over the past almost seven years to be surrounded by a team of amazing people and to help RIP realize its goals,” Jerry said. “I am sure their future efforts will eclipse our earlier successes ten-fold over the coming years.”
The genesis of RIP Medical Debt, a national nonprofit which leverages donated funds to erase billions of dollars of medical debt for millions of struggling Americans, lays squarely at Jerry’s feet.
A former Navy journalist and veteran, Jerry’s interest was piqued by crowds gathering in Zuccotti Park during the early days of the Occupy Wall Street movement. After learning about one working group’s desire to pay off medical debts for struggling people as an act of social good, an idea started to germinate. Instead of collecting on unpayable medical debt, why not focus on abolishing that burden instead?
With four decades of experience in the credit and collections industry, he was an excellent candidate to act as a “change agent;” many of his customers over those years included healthcare professionals and practices.
Jerry enlisted his friend and fellow industry executive, Craig Antico, to join him in providing technical and advisory support to the Occupy group. As the attention of the occupiers shifted and the movement dissipated, Jerry and Craig committed to address the medical debt issue on their own. In 2014, they partnered in incorporating RIP Medical Debt as a 501(c)(3) charity.
“Without Jerry, RIP Medical Debt simply wouldn’t exist. I – and I’m sure the millions of Americans that have opened a yellow RIP envelope in grateful disbelief – thank Jerry for his service and vision,” shares RIP’s Executive Director Allison Sesso.
From helping John Oliver abolish $15 million of medical debt on his HBO Show, Last Week Tonight in 2016 to the nonprofit wiping out $3 billion to date in unpayable medical debt, Jerry’s inspiration has helped create a strong and lasting institution for the organization’s loyal donors and major corporate partners.
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Since being founded in 2014 by two former debt collectors, RIP Medical Debt has acquired, and abolished, more than $2.5 billion of oppressive medical debt, helping over 1.5 million individuals get out from under the burden of crushing medical debt. On average, one dollar donated to RIP forgives $100 of medical debt, empowering every donor to have an outsized impact. To learn more, visit https://ripmedicaldebt.org/