Well folks, we’re about eleven hours away from the end of this year’s Worldbuilders fundraiser, and I couldn’t be happier. As I type this, geeks of all creeds and nations have banded together to raise $651,000 dollars for Heifer International.

Simply said, that’s a lot of goats.


I’m not going to make any sort of pitch today. I’m not looking to nudge anyone in the direction of donating. You’ve already done so much, asking for more at this point would feel weird to me.

Instead I’d like to share some letters people have sent us over the last year. Stories about Worldbuilders.

Like Brian’s creative fundraising idea…

Hello Pat and Team,

I wanted to share a quick story about the donation I just made on behalf of Worldbuilders to Heifer International.  I was thinking this year I would take a little more of the Pat approach to my donation.

I am a part owner of 8 Record stores in Arizona and Nevada. (Well, we actually sell all kinds of stuff including two of our stores now have full book sections!) I decided for the month of December we would give customers the option of choosing to take a bag for their purchases or donate the cost of that bag to charity. I also added that for every person that chooses Worldbuilders I would personally match the donation this year.

Now, our bags cost us about a nickel so this year over 11 thousand people in one month choose to donate to Heifer International. That’s 11 thousand people that hopefully learned about the charity for the first time and their collective effort equaled over $550, a full heifer plus some!

I was thrilled to personally match their efforts from my own pocket. So that”s over $1100 bucks from us music and book geeks out here in Arizona and Nevada…a lot of it was one nickel at a time. Keep up the good work! My mind is already thinking of ways to do more next year!

Brian (Zia Record Exchange)

Thanks so much, Brian. This is a brilliant idea. Not only does it show how a lot of little donations can really add up, but each of those 11,000 people heard about Heifer International, even if it’s just briefly. Talk about spreading the word….

And I see you have a store in Tuscon. I’m hoping to swing through there later this year. I don’t know how big your store is, but I’d be happy to do a signing there if you’d like….

*     *     *

Amie won the tuckerization that Adam Casalino put up for auction last year. After she won, she sent us the following e-mail:

Hi Maria:

Thank you for your quick response and I look forward to working with yourself and Adam!  I have four children and my 14 year old thinks this is the uncoolest thing I have done to date–which means it has already paid for itself!  :)


(I feel obliged to mention that in our handful of remaining auctions, Adam Casalino, has put up another tuckerization.)

Amie also came with us to the Heifer Ranch last April, too. So it’s pretty certain we’ve continued to embarrass her 14 year old as thoroughly as possible. Which, from what I understand, is the best thing to do with 14 year olds. Other than get them started playing D&D….

Pat and Amie

The story has a happy ending, too. These days, Amie stops by Worldbuilders headquarter once a week and helps us out with packaging orders in The Tinker’s Packs.

*       *       *

Here’s a poem from Sky Corbelli. Some of you you might remember the Song Review of Name of the Wind, he did about a year ago.

Hey Pat, seems Worldbuilders is just ’round the bend.
Last year was so great, didn’t want it to end!

Then I thought to myself, why end it at all?
I may be an indie with sales quite small
But I’ve flagged each dollar my books have brought in
And set them aside for a Worldbuilding win.

Now straight out the gate, I am happy to say,
I’ve over a thousand that’s coming your way
Plus, all further profits I’ll kick in with pride
And see what I can’t russel up on the side.

So keep being awesome; we’re cheering for you!
And I’m sure that the world cheers right along too.


Sky Luke Corbelli
Mathematician, Zookeeper, Placer of Poems with Purpose

*      *      *

Some folks told us how they’re forgoing gifts in favor of donations:

Hi Pat,

My birthday is coming up next week and instead of gifts or birthday wishes, I’ve asked all of my friends to donate to Heifer International, and set up a page for it. I’ve got enough stuff; what do I need with more stuff lying around, just being stuff? Other people could use what the money can buy far more than I could.

Thank you for advertising for such a great cause. I doubt I would’ve happened across it without you. I feel fantastic about doing this, and I hope that everyone who donates on my behalf does as well. It’s a far more worthwhile cause than I am, that’s for sure!

Cheers, and thanks again,

Thanks for being awesome, Craig.

Along similar lines, Javan and Emily forewent giving wedding favors, and even used Worldbuilders as their wedding theme. At their reception, there was the following note as the centerpiece on their tables:

We wanted to give you a little present to thank you for sharing this day with us, so please help yourself to the sweets that are on your table
(If you can’t find them, look in the teacup).

We also bought you a water buffalo.

We know, we know – you don’t have room for a water buffalo, you haven’t got the time to take it for walks and you don’t have a swamp for it to wallow in.

Don’t panic. We bought your water buffalo through Worldbuilders, a yearly event founded by one of our favourite authors, Patrick Rothfuss, in order to use the collective power of readers, fellow authors and book lovers to raise money for Heifer International. That means your water buffalo is going to help fight poverty and hunger by providing a family with milk and helping them plough their fields.

We hope you won’t mind that you can’t take your wedding favour home with you.

Emily and Javan
25th May 2013

P.S. Their wedding photos were pretty great.

Paul Wilkinson Photography Ltd.

I could share stories all day, but the blog would be so long nobody would read it.

Just one more:

Hi Mr. Rothfuss,

My name is Colleen and I am 15 years old. I am writing to tell you about my day.

Today I woke up, got out of bed, ate breakfast…just kidding. I am writing to tell you about the most important part of my day. Today I gave $30 to Heifer International with Worldbuilders. I am very, very, very, sorry that I couldn’t give more-I wanted to give hundreds. But as I said, I am 15, with no job, no car, no income. My family does not have much extra money so I have saved up for months to get this much. I apologize that I can’t give more, but I hope that this small amount can make a small difference.

I want you to know how much I admire your work with Worldbuilders and Heifer International and I hope that when I grow older, I can give back to the world as much as you have. With your magical words (your books are my absolute favorite and you are my favorite author ever) and wonderful work with this charity, you give so much back to the global community. You are my hero and I admire you so much. I hope you always keep doing what you”re doing, and never stop!

Best wishes, your biggest fan,

And now I’m a little weepy.

We get a fair number of letters from people telling their stories. And I love reading them. But one of the unfortunate things that I’ve seen crop up several times is people expressing regret that they weren’t able to donate more.

So let me say to you, Colleen, that thirty dollars will change someone’s life.

But more than that, Colleen, the fact that you were willing to donate thirty dollars means the world to me. It fills me with joy and makes me hopeful for the future.

Here’s the truth. If Bill Gates walked into this room right now and gave us a million dollars, it would not make me as happy as your donation. I would want to shake his hand. But you I want to hug.

While I’m glad we’ve raised $650,000 for Heifer this year, what makes me really proud is how we did it. Many of our donors have never given money to charity before. Many are students without much money. Many of them have money troubles of their own.

You see, I want to make the world a better place. And while your donation is a piece of that, a much bigger part of it is you. The fact that you genuinely care and have gone out of your way to help…. *that* makes me like the world more. Above and beyond what you do, the fact that you *exist* makes the world a better place. Not just for me. For everybody.

So thank you, Colleen. Thank you Emily and Javan and Brian and Sky and Amie.  Thank you corporate sponsors. Thank you authors and publishers, actors and vloggers, musicians and game designers. Thank you donors.

Thank you geeks of all creeds and nations.

Thank you.


P.S. If you’d like to share your story, you can do it the comments below. Or you can email it to us at [email protected] We love hearing the stories, and might use them in future blogs or newsposts.

P.P.S. Just in case you need it: one final link to the Worldbuilders Team Page.

This entry was posted in Warm Fuzzies, Worldbuilders 2013. By Pat48 Responses


  1. Posted February 4, 2014 at 4:22 PM | Permalink

    I’m so geeked about how well this year has gone too. I’m stoked about hitting the 650K stretch goal, so I can finally get a copy of the College Survival Guide.

    But part of me’s a little sad that it doesn’t look like we’ll hit 675. I *really* wanted to see you and Amber Benson read the erotica you’re writing together in a video…

    • QWOPtain Crunch
      Posted February 4, 2014 at 8:30 PM | Permalink

      And in 4 hours, it shot up to 672… Just 3k more!

      I think that erotica would be the highlight of this week.

      • Posted February 4, 2014 at 11:02 PM | Permalink

        Wow. We hit 675 with three hours left to go. I’m kinda amazed….

        Now I’m going to fight the urge to just sit here, clicking refresh for the next couple hours….

  2. Valarya
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 4:36 PM | Permalink

    I told you my story in an email once. You shared it on your blog, which was pretty fucking cool.

    But what’s even cooler is that you are one of those shining beautiful people who *gets* it. What you wrote in response to the 15-year-old has me sitting here at work, tears of joy streaming down my face while saying “Yes. Yes!!” The golden web of awesome you have strung across this globe is astounding, Pat.

    Thank YOU.

    • Colleen
      Posted February 5, 2014 at 1:03 AM | Permalink

      Tears were streaming down my face too. It’s unbelievable the power of good Pat has in his hands. And I am so honored to be included in it, despite having done nothing special. I am so grateful to him and you and everyone else who makes making the world a better place possible. We are all included in the golden web of awesome spun by the great Pat Rothfuss!
      P.S. You should have seen me when he entered a Google Hangout to say hi to me this afternoon…a complete wreck, I was… -_-

  3. lykashii
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

    I donated my Christmas money, it wasn’t much but it was all I could spare working as an intern for free aha. The best part is that the exchange rate makes it seem so much more!
    I hope next year I have enough money to donate a decent amount, though every year I hope that with no luck!

    What you do is truly wonderful and it genuinely warms my heart that you touch so many lives with this. Not only the lives of the people the money goes to, but the people who’s hearts your dedication touches and fills with the warmth and joy of helping others :)

    Thank you Pat!

  4. chaelek
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 4:45 PM | Permalink

    Now I’m a little weepy, too. Thanks for sharing, pat. That was just the pick me up I needed.

  5. Geflin
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 5:15 PM | Permalink

    Now I’m a little weepy as well… And I gotta say Pat, that was well and truly awesome…

    As for Colleen, we’re actually in a Facebook group together and she’s having a hard time breathing right now (in a good way).

    And yes, the connections we make in the short time we have on this ball of rock and mud will be the thing that echos through eternity. And today, you made Colleen’s world a bit brighter. Thank you, my friend….

    And thank you to each and everyone of you that donated whatever you could… we are legion and we WILL change the world for the better…. Carry on…

    • Geflin
      Posted February 4, 2014 at 6:29 PM | Permalink

      Thanks for jumping in the hang-out Pat… she was still hyperventilating for 20 minutes after you left… :-)

      • Colleen
        Posted February 5, 2014 at 1:06 AM | Permalink

        That was honestly the best moment of my life. Pat made my day…my week…my entire life. The power he has to turn my world that much brighter…! Thank you for your kind words, my friend. They mean a lot to me and I am glad you were able to partake in the happiness. This never-dying happiness…I’m so glad that being kind feels so good. :)

  6. Tabz
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 5:36 PM | Permalink

    Totally happy. Colleen is a fantastic person and what you said was so true. We’re sitting in a Google hangout with her right now and she’s on cloud nine.

    It’s amazing how small things can make the world an amazing place. Thanks for all letting us do small things because it really does change the world. This week has been crappy in a lot of ways, but this really made the week so much better.

    Thanks for being one of those people using your power for good. I am just kind of blown away right now.

    • Colleen
      Posted February 5, 2014 at 1:11 AM | Permalink

      Tabz, those things are only made possible because of people like you. You are a kind and generous soul and thank you so much. You are truly the fantastic one and this little small thing that you wrote made my little world amazing. I am still floating somewhere on cloud nine bajillion gazillion and I am so glad that you were able to share in the awesomeness-you and everyone else who deserves the credit for being awesome!!!! I hope this happiness extends to the rest of the week for you. :)

  7. Posted February 4, 2014 at 5:51 PM | Permalink

    Great stories! These people (and countless others behind the donations) have embodied the change they wish to see in the world, and as mentioned many times before, inspire even more to do the same. Whether it’s done with ten dollars, one thousand dollars, or simply by volunteering time isn’t the point. Committing yourself, in a way that you can (whatever that looks like to each of us), to help other people is love at its finest. What a remarkable group of people!

  8. isaiasw
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 5:55 PM | Permalink

    I know I always say these posts are amazing but…I just can’t seem to find a different and equivalent word to express how I see them. So many awesome accomplishments that will guarantee a better life to other human beings. So many people that will be able to FEEL more what life is all about. And I am not talking about just those that will benefit materially from these donations. The ones doing the donations as well, like these awesome stories you posted clearly shows what I am talking about. Love, hope, connection, Humanity (with a capital H).
    Colleen said it all, Pat. You are our hero. Usually I avoid being something as of a “fanboy” but when I see you doing stuff like this I feel like using a shirt saying “I freaking Love Pat Rothfuss”. But then I remember I could use the money of a shirt to donate. Oh well, maybe one day I will have the money for both.
    Meanwhile, keep spreading the love and being awesome, WorldBuilders and Heifer International. Thank you for sharing your love and hope, Pat. I study International Affairs and it’s easy to lose hope on human kind. People like you make the difference. A big, warm and tight bro hug from a geographically distant fan.

  9. Posted February 4, 2014 at 5:55 PM | Permalink

    Hi, Pat!
    as I’m typing this last year’s total has been crushed by over a quarter million dollars. Congratulations to you and the rest of the worldbuilders team including the donors. I’m beyond thrilled to have been able to contribute by telling people about it and by donating what I could. Everyone involved in this is an inspiration.
    I’m not a very sentimental person, but-
    “You see, I want to make the world a better place. And while your donation is a piece of that, a much bigger part of it is you. The fact that you genuinely care and have gone out of your way to help…. *that* makes me like the world more. Above and beyond what you do, the fact that you *exist* makes the world a better place. Not just for me. For everybody.”
    that got me all misty eyed. Thanks for being a beautiful force in the world, Pat. A lot of people who achieve your status wouldn’t use it the way you do. You’re fans and all of the people who are helped through worldbuilders appreciate it and you!

  10. Hibs
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 6:37 PM | Permalink

    Hi there,
    Well, I was waiting for your blog today (I seem to have become a little obsessed with it, fangirl is as fangirl does)and checking out the Fundraiser Goal, and basically getting pretty excited watching it explode the ceiling even though I haven’t been able to donate a lot. I had a bunch of really awesome gifs lined up as well (Pai Mei kind of gifs). But after reading about everyone and Colleen I decided not to post them, at least not today. Instead, this is how I ended up here amongst you fabulous, gold hearted people.
    I read your book when I was 18, back in 2008. I grew up, moved countries, got separated from my siblings rather abruptly and other unfortunate events occurred… But I never stopped reading. Then, one day I was sitting in the college library and I saw someone reading The Name of The Wind. The title of your book brought back memories of when I’d read it; of my friends, my home and all the things I hadn’t been able to say goodbye to. This flashback was bittersweet to say the least. Suffice to say that I got my hands on Name of the Wind, re-discovered and fell in freaking love with it. Same with book number deux.
    Since then I’ve been stalking this blog and the Worldbuilders charity, telling myself I’d comment only if I could make a donation. Now, International students are mostly always broke and we’re not allowed to work, etc. But this Christmas, I had the opportunity to help out at this Secret Santa charity for foster kids where I came about a little bit of cookie dough. To be honest, there was a minute of internal struggle where I wanted to use that to come see you when you came to GA in April or to donate to this ayyy-mazing charity. Guess who won? The goat did. Actually, the chickens did. In any case, I’ll be donating that last bit today because I’m sure you can wait another year or so before meeting my stupendous personality (totally not) in person.
    I’m going to say bye now before I give into my gif posting urge.
    P.S. This is for Colleen – I hope when my niece grows up she’s half the awesome person you are.

    • Colleen
      Posted February 5, 2014 at 12:55 AM | Permalink

      Dear Hibs,
      Thank you so much for that meaningful, very sweet comment. I am really not that awesome-so many people have donated to this cause, and given so much more than I have. I am so honored that Pat chose to name me specifically. But really, the awesomeness belongs to you. To us. To everyone who has donated to Worldbuilders, or any other charity, for that matter. Together, we make the world a better place. And I am proud to stand by Pat and you and the rest of the donors and claim that $30 difference. So my awesome is no different from your awesome. You, too, have an amazing story, with much more depth than mine. I am simply an-almost 17 year old girl who wanted to help out her favorite author and give a little back to the world. It seems I have done both. Your niece will be 100% the awesome person she is meant to be-not half of me- especially if you raise her on Worldbuilders and The Name of the Wind. She will be herself, and a wholly awesome person, hopefully with a little geekery thrown in. My best wishes to her and to you.

      • Hibs
        Posted February 5, 2014 at 4:11 PM | Permalink

        Hi Colleen,
        Thank you for such a heartwarming post! You are graciousness and modesty personified, and although you may think you are just a “simple 17 year old”, you possess a strength of character and humility that is very lacking in today’s society. It was turning out to be a generally sucky day today, but after reading your post my heart feels like it’s going to burst because now it is so full of rainbows, butterflies and, I think, even a meadow with a bunch of llamas in there. My niece will be three on April fool’s Day, so I tend to think she has it all worked out but yeah, what you said, definitely.
        I wish I knew you in reality so that we could hang out and do a bunch of fangirl-y things together. Perhaps we could still do that here or on goodreads, if you’re up for it. But whatever the case may be, it’s been an honor to know you. Not many kids out there would care, and then also care enough to reply to everyone else who’s mentioned them with such eloquence and heart.
        Bless you!
        Warm wishes,

  11. Beej
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 8:14 PM | Permalink

    Just gave my $50. Procrastinators of the world, let’s unite some time soon!


    The thing I love about Worldbuilders is that it feels real.

    I’m middle-aged and cynical which means when I read an ad or an email asking me for something, 99% of the time now I can see that there’s been a bunch of market research done so they know exactly what to say to get their audience.

    When I see your posts about Worldbuilders I can tell there’s no bullshit. It’s just you.

    And, in case you haven’t realized it yet, you are a damn good person who’s doing one hell of a lot of good in the world.

    You write about how Colleen gives you hope for the future. Funny, that’s how I feel about you.

    • Posted February 4, 2014 at 8:59 PM | Permalink


      • Posted February 4, 2014 at 9:01 PM | Permalink

        Though I’ll take that “you” to be the plural. Worldbuilders is a team now. It simply wouldn’t work without everyone else here working by my side…

    • Colleen
      Posted February 5, 2014 at 1:20 AM | Permalink

      Giving me your hope for the future is a pretty big responsibility. I hope I can live up to it. And it’s because of Pat and the Worldbuilders team and the generous folks on here who donated that people like me exist. So thank all of y’all for the future of bettering the world-all I did was write a piece of fan mail. :)

  12. spoonyspork
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 10:27 PM | Permalink

    Stories? Hmm.

    Once upon a time, a girl got to talking to a coworker about books. This coworker expressed her frustration that she had started a series that wasn’t finished, as she had sworn never to do… but the book was amazingly good. So good she told the girl she needed to read it *right now* — she’d even send her copy. The girl – an avid reader and ever curious – decided to look up the author first. She stumbled across his blog, wherein he was blogging about wourldbuilders, and a story of a person who was using all of their inheritance to donate to the charity. The girl cried buckets, and through her tears managed to order his book on her kindle. She didn’t donate that year, as she (wrongly) assumed the drive was already over and worldbuilders was its own thing and not a team for Heifer International.

    The book also made her cry buckets – of sadness and of joy. Now, this is not a girl who usually cries at anything, let alone buckets. But, buckets were cried anyway. Again and again throughout the years reading the blog, and then the next book. Several real-live copies of both books were purchased, to be shared with friends and family.

    She even got to meet the author, which would have been awesome if she hadn’t been so starstruck she was barely able to squeak out a ‘hi’.

    She did donate the next year; just a couple flocks of chicks as times were a bit difficult that year… but donate she did manage. The next year brought a terrible sorrow and she was once again unable to donate as much as she wished, but did manage to give someone a goat.

    Today she opened up the blog and once again filled the buckets, already partially filled from earlier opening her mother in law’s kindle and finding ‘Wise Man’s Fear’ still open, half finished… and reading through the notes and highlighted quotes. Say what you will of electronic books; it was a treasure being able to see what she deemed important parts of books.

    Then as she finished her little story mostly about how many times she could use the ‘bucket’ metaphor, she took a moment to look at the current total for worldbuilders… and may need a bigger bucket. :}

    • Kali
      Posted February 4, 2014 at 11:23 PM | Permalink

      I send you buckets of love from the other end of the interwebs! I hope your next Worldbuilders is less tinted with tragedy, but your buckets of joy overflow.

      • spoonyspork
        Posted February 5, 2014 at 9:06 AM | Permalink

        Thank you!

        Even the sorrow resulted in some good. Her friends and family got together and raised a bunch of money in her name for a local animal rescue she supported, and I managed to double my donation in her memory as she was also a fan. So some kitties got to be warm and cared for for Christmas, and a poor family will have some source of food and income… even if my meager donation was just a drop in the bucket this year, to use another bucket metaphor :)

  13. klaxon12
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 12:26 AM | Permalink

    This post spurred me to finally make my first ever charitable donation. This and watching Colleen exploding on Wayward Backers. I’ve been a fan for years, but finally got a job a few months ago, and finally donated this evening. After years of being so careful with my money, it was actually sort of difficult to do…I’m sure it’ll be easier next time, and I’m hoping donating becomes a habit!

    P.S. Looking forward to seeing the fire-breathing–Brian Brushwood performed at my undergrad and I won a signed t-shirt =D

    • Colleen
      Posted February 5, 2014 at 12:58 AM | Permalink

      My fangirling had an effect besides making me look like a fool??? I’m so glad!!! Pat mentioned that he thought my story and these other wonderful people’s stories had inspired some to donate. I am so grateful to learn that this is the case. You have started down a wonderful path, my friend, and I hope you find lots more occasions and ability to donate!!

  14. Diegles
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 12:44 AM | Permalink

    Was hoping to give a last minute donation, as it still says it’s a bit more then 1 hour left on the Fundraiser, but seems Heifner has some Web issues (HTTP Error 404 – The page cannot be found).

    I will try again in an hour, but for now it looks like I can’t donate more money through Worldbuilders at least.

    • Diegles
      Posted February 5, 2014 at 12:58 AM | Permalink

      Seems I am now able to donate :)

  15. Darth_Let
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 12:48 AM | Permalink

    I don’t quite know if this is the right place to point out this issue, but the page says the charity has 1 hour and 20 minutes to go, but the donation page,, says “The page cannot be found”. I personally donated 40 dollars to Worldbuilders this year, but I mentioned the fundraiser to my folks over dinner, and they’d like to donate. With the site down, I don’t know what to do. Is there another way to donate in time?

    • Darth_Let
      Posted February 5, 2014 at 1:02 AM | Permalink

      Huzzah! I was able to get my parents’ donation to go through.

  16. Boneman
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 3:36 AM | Permalink

    Un. Be. Lievable… Go Patrick Rothfuss…

    In December my copy of Princess and Mr Whiffle – the Dark of Deep Below, arrived and I was chuffed to see it got into England without having to pay the ‘special-relationship-between-USA-and-UK-surcharge’ our customs likes to impose. Unexpected Tax bills had hammered me in January (damn those accountants!) and I was feeling a bit down, when I remembered this, and thought I’d put that surcharge into worldbuilders on my credit card. Easier said than done: up came a note saying it was declined and to contact my card provider. I did, and was told because I was paying into an American company, it automatically gets flagged up. I explained it was actually a charity, and she asked what for? I stuttered for a moment or two, knowing I couldn’t do it justice, but explained the basis of it. There was a moment’s silence, and she said “my father’s from Ghana. Where can I find out more?” I pointed her in the direction of this blog, and she told me the transaction would now go through, she’d cleared it. So Iwent back to the worldbuilders page, and doubled the donation, small though it was, in her honour, because she made me feel good. From small acorns…

  17. Posted February 5, 2014 at 6:01 AM | Permalink

    This was actually my first charity donation too. I think I’m going to make it a habit of donating at least once a year because it’s just a great organization.

  18. Kthaeh
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 6:42 AM | Permalink

    Pat, I started donated to Heifer before I ever heard of you. When I fell under the spell of your books, came to your blog, and found you stumping for Heifer, it just made me more of a fan than I could ever have become “just” on the strength of your storytelling.

    One thing that attracted me so strongly to Heifer that I’ve never seen emphasized here (maybe I’ve missed it), is the way that Heifer structures their charitable giving. Those who get the aid don’t simply remain passive recipients of charity. Just the opposite, in a short amount of time, they become benefactors of others in their community. That may not sound all that impressive to those of us sitting comfortably in the developed world. But I know how incredibly important the psychological effect of that can be. These people aren’t simply being kept fed, nor even being helped to become self-sufficient. They’re being made into DONORS.

    You know the boost to your mood that you get from donating to Heifer, knowing that somewhere out there in the big world, you’re helping to make things better? The people that Heifer helps get that same boost too, only magnified. Because they get the chance to physically hand over an animal to a specific family in need – a family they will probably see on a regular basis for decades to come. Imagine what that kind of empowerment does for people who were only a short time before struggling to cover the basics of their own lives. Their self-esteem, their optimism, their hope for their children’s futures, and the future of their entire community must go through the roof. These sorts of intangible, psychological, long-term benefits are what distinguishes Heifer’s mission from most other charities. I think it’s easy for us to miss or discount this, but I judge it as being of equal importance to the food/income that the livestock provide.

  19. Posted February 5, 2014 at 8:12 AM | Permalink

    I’ve contributed to Worldbuilders last year and this year, by both donating jewelry I made and donating money through the website.

    I’d originally contacted Pat through his Facebook page for the 2012 Worldbuilders, hesitantly offering to donate some jewelry. I was nervous as hell and was so sure I’d either get no response or be told “no, thank you”, so when I did get an answer that said they were interested and who to contact to donate, I flipped out. I was so excited. I made a dragon necklace and shipped it off and was happy when it sold quickly.

    For 2013 I wanted to donate again, so I contacted them early to give myself plenty of time to make more things. But life kept throwing obstacles at me and it was harder and harder to get to my work bench. I finally got what seemed to be a stretch of time to sit down and finish the pieces when my Mom went into hospital and we were told she would very likely not make it. I was numb and terrified and it was only a few weeks before christmas. I finished up the jewelry as quickly as I could, shoved it in the box and shipped it with a note about what was going on and then tried to focus on Mom. Her hospital stay stretched into weeks and she kept getting worse instead of better and the doctors started asking us about if she had a living will and if she would be OK with going on life support if it came down to it.

    Through it all I checked the blog, and seeing the charity grow and wonderful things happen gave me a bit of a break from it all, and the idea that I’d made a difference for someone else even if I couldn’t make a difference for myself was comforting. Finally, the week before Christmas Mom started to get better, bit by bit, and then two days before Christmas they sent her to a rehab facility to recover from the heart failure and pneumonia. They stopped using words like “life threatening”. While she was recovering I told her about the various things Worldbuilders was doing, and when my jewelry hit eBay and shot up far beyond what I ever thought it would, I told her about that, because she was the one who always encouraged me to learn new techniques and to never think “I can’t do that” when it came to aspiring towards improving what I had learned.

    She got to come home on January 25th. This whole experience with Worldbuilders this year has been pretty much closely intertwined with what I’ve been going through, and seeing it go far beyond what anyone hoped, while my Mom recovered against all odds, has been an emotional experience for me. I’m glad that Pat and the team gave me the chance to be a part of it (and many thanks to Maria for answering my many questions during this process). Also, many thanks to the people who bought the pieces I made..I couldn’t donate nearly as much as what that jewelry brought in out of my own pocket, so being able to help raise that money really means a lot to me.

    • spoonyspork
      Posted February 5, 2014 at 8:50 AM | Permalink

      Aw dangit; here come the waterworks again.

      This is exactly what happened with my mom-in-law – right around the same time even – but without the happy ending. So very happy to see yours did. :)

      I actually usually ignore the auctions as I know I’d never be able to outbid any of them, but now I’m intrigued about your jewelry. Is it a thing you do as a day-job, or just something you have the talent for so donated to… i.e.: do you have a store, or deviant art page, or something with your examples? Thanks!

      • Posted February 5, 2014 at 9:01 AM | Permalink

        I’m so sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. Big hugs for you and your family.

        It’s more like a hobby that grew into something more. I have a full-time day job at a University that pays for the necessary things like my mortgage and groceries and books. Jewelry making is an expensive hobby so it has to pay for itself, so I sell what I make through Etsy. I guess by this point it’s almost like a side business for me. My shop is

        My Mom really is the reason I progressed so far in it. I used to just do simple bead stringing, and one day she brought home a magazine with advanced techniques in it and gave it to me. I said “I can’t do that!” and she asked “why not?”

        I had no good answer for that so I tried and kept trying and learning more.

        • spoonyspork
          Posted February 5, 2014 at 9:35 AM | Permalink

          Oh my! I love it — The reading dragons pendents in particular! I know where I’ll be going when I next have some spare change.

          And yeah; my mom in law is the one who encouraged me to advance my hobby (I make ocarinas — eer, clay musical instruments — for an idea since they’re rather obscure XD ) and I’ve pretty much been in a slump since her passing. Just finally managed to glaze the one I’d been making for her. I wonder if such things are too weird/obscure to donate to next years’ auctions…

  20. Posted February 5, 2014 at 10:36 AM | Permalink

    Amazing year for Worldbuilders! I even got my family to donate in lieu of giving Christmas gifts this year.

    I was actually just reminiscing with my wife about how what started out as a story that I told her in two hour blocks every night while we were on opposite sides of the state has magically turned into 5 water buffaloes and 5 cows over the last two years.

    And 33 cents. Naturally.

    So thank you to the Worldbuilders team for putting this whole thing together and keeping it running. Thank you to Pat for helping to inspire us on to charitable greatness. And, most of all, thank you to everyone else for helping to change the world.

    I’m proud to stand with each and every one of you.

  21. suraklinprime
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 4:06 PM | Permalink

    While I think it is good that under the guidance of Pat we have clubbed together to help people I think the more important thing is that this year we actually hit the Pat/Amber read naughty stuff stretch goal.

    And while this is not the only charity I support there is something so damn special about the way fans and writers and all sorts of people in between come together to do something wonderful – really makes me feel like I’m part of something worthwhile.

  22. Posted February 5, 2014 at 4:59 PM | Permalink

    After I first donated I began to get mail from Heifer. When this first happened my mom told me that Heifer was the only organization my great grandmother would donate to every year. I haven’t been able to donate every year since that first time but I donate when I can and this was one of those years. Hopefully I will be completely debt free by the time Worldbuilders rolls around again.

  23. Miguel
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 8:40 AM | Permalink

    Well, this is how my story goes: I’ve been lucky enough to be born into a good family, I’ve been loved, probably more than I deserve. In 2012 I had three beautiful baby girls who are about as lucky as their dad and have more toys than they can pay attention to. So, for the last two Christmases I’ve donated the money for their gifts on their behalf. Also, I suggested to friends and family to do the same, since, honestly, I can’t get any other stuff in our flat. So, my triplets have been donating even before they knew how to spell “Worldbuilders”. Or anything. Or say “daddy”.

  24. Sublime Lime
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 2:00 PM | Permalink

    Hey Pat,

    Have you heard about Amazon Smile?

    One of the donation options ( if you search for it) is WorldBuilders.
    I just saw this and thought you might like to let people know about another way to make donations through out the year.


    • Dazark
      Posted February 9, 2014 at 3:16 PM | Permalink


      I just wanted to thank you for bringing that to attention here on the blog. I had been aware of the Amazon Smile program, but didn’t realize that Worldbuilders was one of the potential beneficiaries. I’m happy that I’ll be able to contribute a little bit during the year just by purchasing things as I normally would. :)

      Thanks again!


  25. ali rahemtulla
    Posted March 8, 2014 at 2:32 PM | Permalink

    Hey Pat, how did you find Words of Radiance? I just felt sorry for szeth, and Talanel, more than anything.

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