Late last summer, Edward Norton announced that he would be joining the masses in tackling the 26.2-mile NYC marathon. More than making it just a personal challenge, the actor decided to turn the entire event into a massive fundraising opportunity for the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, an organization working to promote sustainable development while protecting the east African grasslands that the Maasai call home.

Through social networking sites like Twitter, Norton ended up raising more than $1.2 million for the Maasai — and apparently was inspired enough by the power of the Web to launch a new venture as a result.

Yesterday, the 40-year-old actor introduced the world to — a new social fundraising site that aims to bring grassroots fundraising and charities together online. Using the same laid-back style that made his donation requests so appealing, Norton has injected a hip vibe into the language of the site; making the setup process as engaging as it is approachable.

"I've just started on Crowdrise and I'm very excited by it," Norton said on his page bio. "I've been looking for something like this for a long time and put a lot of thought into what would make fundraising and activism fun and easy for people ... this is a GREAT way to do it. I encourage anyone checking this out to start your own page, share what you care about and what organizations you support and back your friends efforts."

Easily said, this is one of the best ways to raise money for some national or local charity. Crowdrise makes it insanely easy for nonprofits to get involved too — and even offers occassional prizes to encourage giving. Have a jump here to check it out — and don't forget to drop a few dollars while you're there too.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Edward Norton launches new social fundraising site aims to change the way charities and people work together to make the world a better place.