As I write this, Worldbuilders has raised more than $1,200,000. Making this far-and-away our most successful fundraiser ever.
Simply said, it’s been an amazing year. Together we’ve raised enough money to change tens of thousands of lives forever. We are responsible for hundreds of families getting goats and sheep and pigs. We’ve raised enough money for hundreds of wells, thousands of chickens, millions of bees. We are planting forests full of trees. We are helping bring medicine and light and hope and self-reliance to people all over the world.
Because of your generosity and kindness, children will grow up healthy. Parents will go to sleep knowing their children had enough to eat that day. More importantly, those parents will sleep well, because they’ll have tools and resources to control their own lives and make sure their children will have food tomorrow, too.
We could not do this without you.
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I have a fondness for stories in the same way that I have a fondness for drinking water and breathing air. Stories are how we learn the shape of the world. And, in certain circumstances, they help us shape the world into what we want it to be.
Given this, it’s not particularly surprising that during the fundraiser we’ve told stories about how Heifer International changes lives. We’ve told you about Fred, Florence, and their children, who lived the majority of their lives as refugees but who now run a successful farm thanks to the gift of a cow. We told you about the city of Bhairav, where yearly floods made it impossible for children to attend school until Heifer International helped the village to establish and maintain its own school.
But there are other stories in our fundraiser. Hundreds of tiny stories of people stepping up and chipping in to make Worldbuilders a success. Stories that have made me proud of you. Stories that, sometimes, have broken my heart a little.
There’s too many to share them all, but today we’re going to bring you a few. I hope you like them.
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If you’ve been following us on twitter or facebook this last week, I’m guessing you’ve seen more than a few #BilboItUp pictures brought on by my recent blog.
Like this one from Riley:
“37 degrees with snow from last night. No paychecks while I wait for my new job to start. Scraping by during the month of Christmas. Sounds like a good time to donate!”
Or this one from Kelly:
“Digging a bit deeper so I can donate again.”
A lot of people have cashing in their change jars, like Adrienne:
“I’ve wanted to donate for years, but haven’t been able to. This year I saved my change all year and have been able to save $20, which I am thrilled to donate to such a worthy cause, I only wish it were more.”
Or Humberto, who took some things into perspective:
“A worthy cause I am glad to support. I could never solve my own problems with $10. At best I’d get a single lunch at Subway or Taco Bell. The idea that $10 can do so much for someone else has made me reach into my pocket several times. I’ll gladly pack lunch from home to give when I can. Keep up the awesome work.”
Some folks got their families involved, like Christopher and his kids:
“My 5 and 6 year old kids were so excited about donating to Heifer that they were willing to sell us their Halloween candy. The biggest dilemma was pig, goat or sheep. They took so long to decide that Worldbuilders started up and I’ve been waiting for a day like today. [With matching donations.] I’ll get to share with them that because of the generosity of others, their sheep just turned into a sheep and a pig and two goats. Thank you!”
John’s daughter had a similar process, and made sure he sent us pictures.
“I told my 7 year old daughter, Julia, about Worldbuilders, and she’s matching my $1000 contribution with $5 of her own. She dug into her bank to do this… see attached photo.”
(This is a pretty awesome bank.)
In the comments of my blog, Swiltam explained how she brought her kids in:
“Talked to my kids about it, they each have a small savings account (as a single mom of 5, so you can imagine how small, and at the same time, how big that might be). They’ve each decided to donate, and some of them have decided to forego what gifts they would have received so we can donate more. Thanks for the honesty and inspiration.”
Or Gary and his two little ones, who gave all of their money to help out after he explained it to them.
“I usually give $30 to Worldbuilders during the annual fund raising. Today Dec. 1st I read the Blog entry Pat wrote about his Mom. Then Pat wrote about matching and the Heifer matching as well even though he thought he was all done donating this year. I shared the Blog entry to my 6 year old and my 9 year old and asked them if they wanted to give to the fundraiser from their own money. They have a savings jar and a spending jar each. They both wanted to donate and my 6yr old said he would give $20 and my 9yr old said he would give $10. They are great kids and just amaze me at times like this. So here is $30 from me and $30 from the boys. Thank you for giving me this moment with my boys and what you do for all the other kids out there through Worldbuilders.”
Some people are donating Christmas gifts, like Gavin and his family:
“We’re skipping (almost) all Christmas presents this year as a family. We want to make sure 2 girls get the chance to go to school. All of our needs are met, it’s time we help others.”
Or like Lauren and her brother.
“My brother and I are both pretty bad at Christmas presents. Our wants are either pathetically simple (I would like some warm socks) or wildly unattainable (a $2000 gaming laptop). But neither of us actually need anything*, and Christmas should be about warm fuzzies and making the world better, not knicknacks that sit on a shelf. So we’ve decided that the best way to say “I love you” sounds a lot like “I bought someone else a goat”. So here we are. Personally I hate goats, after some bad experiences at a camp petting zoo, but I wish this goat many happy years of providing healthy food and maybe some income to its family, on behalf of Dan Bradford and his lovely new wife Lisa. Merry goatmas, everyone.”
*not quite true, I really do need socks.
We had surprises too. People who went an extra mile, even after they’d already contributed something fabulous.
Authors Bishop O’Connell and Brenda Cooper matched the funds raised from their tuckerization auctions. BeLinda, the winner of the True Dungeon game auction, also matched what she paid for that auction with a donation.
There are some stories, though, that just floored us. Like this #BilboItUp.
Here’s one from the fundraiser page:
“In Hebrew the word for life is the same as the word for the number 18. It has become tradition to give gifts/donations in multiples of 18. It is my hope that my gift of $100 x 18 (life) touches 100 lives.”
$1800 is enough for 12 irrigation pumps.
That doesn’t just install a pump (though that by itself is already pretty great). It gives farmers training in water conservation and irrigation techniques. 12 irrigation pumps help improve the yield of 12 different community farms. Which means those farmers will produce food more efficiently, and that makes it something they can sell for less. Which means the other people in their community can afford more food.
I think it’s safe to say that your donation will effect 100 x 18 people.
Of course, not everyone has 1800 dollars to give. Luckily people like Victoria understand that in Heifer’s hands, $20 bucks can change someone’s life, too.
“As a starving college student, I don’t have a lot of money, free time, or sleep. But I do have a roof over my head, food, and an education. Even though I can’t give a lot, I owe it to those with less than I do to give something. I hope the flock of ducks are cute as well as helpful!”
And Jeremy really hit it on the head:
“I often feel like I don’t have much (renting an apartment, used car, trouble saving for my own house) then I slap myself for being a spoiled idiot and think about people who have to plan ahead to drink water. This charity seems the best to me since it focuses on a sustainable environment. Fruit trees instead of canned peaches and the like.”
Honestly, there are so many of these little stories. If we included half of them, this blog would be ten thousand words long.
Okay. Just one more from Jacob:
“I’ve been farming for five years now, and have been lucky enough to help a small school in Tanzania start a farm so the children at the school can eat a simple lunch. Heifer International consistently renews my faith in humanity with the amazing work you do. Words cannot describe what a gift to the world you people are. Thank you.”
As I’ve said. Today is the final day for the fundraiser. We have until midnight UTC-8 to hit our final goal of $1,225,000, make use of all of the matching offered to us, and hit our final stretch goal.
(Details over here, if you like.)
Okay fine. Just one more. From Ariella:
“My 8yo daughter heard me discussing WorldBuilders at the dinner table, and asked if she could donate. $2 may not be much, but it’s 15% of her savings. I think we’re doing something right with this one :)”
Thank you all so much, everyone. Thanks for caring. Thanks for helping out. And thanks for proving to me yet again that people are inherently good.
Here’s the link to the donation page. Just in case you might find a use for such a thing….