Worldbuilders: Puerto Rico and Hurricane Relief

Hey there everybody,

As I write this, I’m in a hotel room in Seattle. Tomorrow I have the first event on my short tour for the 10th Anniversary Edition of NOTW.

But it’s hard for me to get excited about the tour. This is partly because I caught a cold the day before I left, and it’s partly because I’m still exhausted from taking care of my dad in Hospice last month, and haven’t even begun to catch up on my sleep, let alone my e-mail…

But more than that. The world is just wearing me out these days. Natural disasters and mass shootings and… well… I’m sure you don’t need me to give you a list.

Gech. I don’t know what my point is here. This probably isn’t the best way to start this particular blog. But I don’t know how else to lead into this. The truth is, I’m tired, and sick, and heartsore….

But you know what? I have electricity. And clean water. I can pick up a phone and talk to the outside world. I can go to the store and buy food. And gasoline. I’m in no danger of getting cholera. My children are safe.

There are millions of people right now in Puerto Rico who have none of these luxuries.

(If you know where I’m going with all this, you can head over and donate here to help people who desperately need it without reading all the rambling that follows.)

*     *     *

Right. Okay. Let’s talk about Puerto Rico.

It’s been hit by three hurricanes lately, but the latest, Maria, has devastated the island. Millions have no power, clean water, or food. And for various reasons that I won’t go into right now, federal aid to the island has been extremely slow moving.

Debris – detail of fallen road sign – en route to San Juan captured roadside by Mercy Corps staff member Christy Delafield. 10/1/2017

I like doing charity work that builds things. There’s a reason my charity is called Worldbuilders. I want to focus on long-term solutions to the world’s problems. Sustainable agriculture. Education. Renewable energy. Solid social and economic infrastructure. That’s why Worldbuilders works so much with Heifer International. They’re the best at solving problems like that, long-term, all over the world.

But when someone doesn’t have drinking water, that’s a problem NOW. Sometimes you need to deal with a crisis fast, and worry about sustainable agriculture later.

So I went to the Worldbuilders team, because while the death totals we’ve seen out of Puerto Rico haven’t been terrifying so far…. well… A person doesn’t make a world like Temerant without a good understanding of how complex systems interact. So when I hear that millions of people on an island don’t have water and power. And huge parts of their infrastructure are destroyed, and they’re not getting sufficient help from the government, and their hospitals for the most part don’t have electricity….

Here’s the thing folks. Here’s what I’m afraid of. I’m worried when we finally do start seeing realistic death-tolls for  Puerto Rico, it’s not going to be in the dozens or hundreds. I’m worried that by the time people finally stop scrambling for survival long enough to start counting bodies, the dead will number in the thousands.

I mean, most of you are fantasy readers, right? You know why clean water is so important. Without it, things like typhoid, dysentery, and cholera are right around the corner. Then, without medical infrastructure, those things will tear through a sick population like a fire through a field of wheat.

I don’t want to wait until that happens, then tear my hair out wishing I’d done something to help.

So last week I went to to the worldbuilders team and we started investigating charities. We know when donate money to us, you’re trusting us. You want to get the biggest bang possible out of your charity dollar.

Luckily, it turns out that Mercy Corps has put their seasoned emergency response team toward helping out in Puerto Rico.

We worked with Mercy Corps in 2015 to provide aid to the Syrian Refugees. And in just a few short days we raised over $200,000 to help those people.

Today, I want to ask you to consider doing the same for the people of Puerto Rico.

More than 3 million people still remain without power and water, and expected heavy rains could further impede aid efforts in the coming days. Mercy Corps has deployed an emergency response team, some of whom arrived just yesterday, to see how their global expertise in emergency response can support the efforts to deliver humanitarian assistance and start rebuilding the communities ravaged by the hurricane.

Their approach is to support and empower existing local organizations, with a special focus on the most vulnerable and underserved populations. We expect to work with them to provide access to cash, clean water, and other urgently needed supplies.

If you’ve been feeling like I have for the last couple weeks. Scared and helpless and wishing you could do something to help make the world less shitty. Here’s your chance.

There are real people who need our help. You can help by helping us spread the word. You can share this fundraiser, and make a donation.

And before you say you can’t afford it. Please keep in mind that if you’re reading this on a computer and had a glass of water that came out of a tap today, you are doing roughly 10,000% better than the people in Puerto Rico right now. If you kick in just a bit, it can make a huge difference, because when taken all together, we are a force to be reckoned with. I don’t know how to stress this enough. MILLIONS OF PEOPLE DON’T HAVE CLEAN WATER TO DRINK.

So please. Join us. Together we are awesome. We can help.

Mercy Corps has become our go-to charity for disaster relief. Their seasoned emergency response team has been deployed to provide supplies and assistance, and are working tirelessly to aid the people of Puerto Rico. Mercy Corps has a long history of both emergency relief and rebuilding communities struck by disaster, and we know their assistance will help Puerto Rico back to its feet.

And if it will help nudge any of you into joining in. I’m going to put my money where my mouth is. My dad left me some money, and I’ve got some royalties coming from the 10th anniversary of NOTW. So I can afford to put up $50,000 in matching money. That means whenever you kick some money in, more water, more food, more helping hands, more medicine, more supplies, more long-term solutions. Together, we can do twice the good.

Join us, and help in the relief, recovery, and rebuilding process.

Donate here.

This entry was posted in Worldbuilders. By Pat22 Responses


  1. F.N.T.
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 2:57 AM | Permalink

    There’s lots of good reasons to do this, but here’s hoping the inevitable awesome response helps make you at least a smidgeon less heartsore, Pat.

    • Posted October 3, 2017 at 3:27 PM | Permalink

      It was nice to wake up today to see we’d raised more than $40,000…

  2. evan
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 2:58 AM | Permalink

    Thank you so much Pat (and Team) for setting this up – your generosity is humbling.

    For anyone who is unable to donate money and has some time on their hands, there’s another possiblity to help: You can classify satellite images of Puerto Rico at to identify blocked roads, flooding, damaged structures etc. The information is then shared with NGOs on the ground to support them in getting help to where it is most needed.

    It’s a time-consuming and often tedious task because the satellite images are pretty low resolution, but it’s still possible to identify areas of significant damage (e.g. flooded river and bridge-out).

    More on the project and .

  3. mxg312
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 5:38 AM | Permalink

    Thank you for championing this, and sorry for your loss. My in-laws are in PR, and my wife has struggled without being able to reach her family. We finally were able to reach them and are making plans to get them off the island. Thank you for taking up this cause for those less fortunate.
    Looking forward to seeing you when your book tour takes you to Pittsburgh. Hoping for brighter days!

  4. Bimwak
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 6:14 AM | Permalink

    Thank you for doing this Pat. With everything going on my wife and I were just talking about the need to do something to help. I mentioned Worldbuilders, the help with the refugees, the research you and your team does, and there you were bright and early in the morning confirming my faith in decency.

    So thank you for everything, we got your back.

  5. pooh1999
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 9:22 AM | Permalink

    Morning Pat… I am so very sorry to hear about your dad. Mine was a Veteran and lived with me. In Oct of last year after metastatic prostate cancer spread to his bones I was forced to move hi to Hospice care, in my home to be sure, but hard none the less because I knew then his ending was coming soon. I had the most amazing, and compassionate Hospice team, God sent to be sure. In a little more than 6 weeks, my dad was received by his Dad. He went Home. It was a tie full of joy and sorrow, confusion and exhaustion. I remember every syringe of water I put in his mouth, every spoonful of baby food I tried to get him to swallow. The I love you baby comments from him, the moments of laughter, sitting and just holding his hand. My dad was gone for most of my life, I found him, he was sorry and I forgave him. As tiring as this journey WILL be, capture every second. I will be praying for you, I know these footsteps.

  6. ced
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 9:35 AM | Permalink

    Thanks so much, Pat. You’ve got a personal army who trusts you implicitly, and the reason we trust you is because of things like this — ’cause with everything going on for you right now, pain of your own and demands coming from all quarters, you stop to make things like this happen. And we *know* that when you decide to make something happen, you’re going to do it right, ’cause that’s how you roll.

    That trust is amazing… and it makes it so easy for the rest of us to give. With all the confusion (for me at least) as to what the heck is going on in the world, it’s so easy to decide to protect your own and let other folk deal. But if I see Worldbuilders moving, well heck — that’s a no brainer.

    I hope you realize what a difference you make, and how much we love you for it.

  7. amara64
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 11:10 AM | Permalink

    Thanks Pat. My parents live in Ponce, PR. My dad has been trying to go back home since the hurricane struck. He is stuck in California, away from my mom and siblings, and with only spotty communication. But we are some of the lucky ones. Some of my friends have not been so lucky. One lost her house, another lost a newborn niece, others still haven’t heard from their families. Thanks for you help and than you for investigating which charity to donate to. Do NOT donate to any charity that gives money to the goverment.

  8. Kashiraja2
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 11:27 AM | Permalink

    I “donated” a lot of taxes to the US government. It’d be nice they sent some aid to American citizens, or is it tied up building the wall? I start to feel we are some kind of 3rd world country. Maybe we can ask the Europeans some humanitarian aid money.

    • Posted October 3, 2017 at 4:31 PM | Permalink

      Yeah. Me too. Don’t think that I’m happy about how our government is handling this. That’s why I’m very politically active, run my activism newsletter, etc.

      But the fact is that people are in danger. If you want to help, come donate and help us spread the word about the fundraiser. If you want to complain about the government…. I don’t know if this is the most productive place for that….

      • Kashiraja2
        Posted October 4, 2017 at 12:08 AM | Permalink

        sorry I misplaced my complaints. I probably left a complaint about Rothfuss on the FCC “public comments” section.

  9. SBClover
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 6:13 PM | Permalink

    As I type this up, my husband is on his way to your book signing in Seattle. He’s a bit of a quiet man, so I tried to come up with all sorts for him to ask or for you to write in, but I doubt he’d say even half a murmur. Mostly, about how he worries about you, not as a fan worries about an idol, but as one human who understands life stress to another. So, Mr.Rothfuss, I will say, thank you for being a charitable person. Not just in money, but in you ceaseless effort to give more of your energy and health to good works beyond the ever-demanding, yawing gape of writing. Thank you for thinking of others in a time when no one would fault you for turning inward to your own needs. Thank you, for being an exemplary example of the best intentions and spirit a position of celebrity offers. I hope your tour goes well, and you find calm and solace after.

    • Sandhya
      Posted October 3, 2017 at 9:56 PM | Permalink

      This is so beautifully stated. You have expressed how I feel about Pat. It makes me crazy the way people nag him about the third book. He does so much for humanity and THAT is what matters. Pat, you know we all love you. Thank you so much for creating a place for us to donate and where we know the money will be used correctly. I am so sorry for your loss and you are in my thoughts. A HUGE Pat Rothfuss hug to you. Sure wish I was there to get/give a real one.

  10. LoritheNurse
    Posted October 4, 2017 at 11:04 AM | Permalink

    Thank you Pat. I’m sorry you were not able to come to Salt Lake City. You were missed. We all understand. Thank you for being the wonderful person you are and once again kicking our asses into gear. The world seems to be falling apart. I sometimes get so exauhsted with it all and just feel like ignoring everything. You give me hope and a place to focus energy and kick in a few bucks to really help people. You are right. We have so much to be thankful for. It’s unreal to think folks in America don’t have the luxury of clean drinking water, electricity and fuel. It seems like those in positions of power don’t consider PR as part of our country. Instead of helping, they criticize and play golf. I am awake now and know what to do, thanks again for kicking me in the ass.
    I hope you will come back to Utah soon. I will finally get to meet you then, shake your hand and give you the hug that you deserve. I truly hope your Dad went peacefully and was not in pain.
    You have my thanks. I can’t say that enough

  11. kitty713
    Posted October 4, 2017 at 1:33 PM | Permalink

    Donated because:

    1. Humanism is a beautiful thing
    2. I trust you to have found a trustworthy charity
    3. Oh my god
    4. Fuck donald trump
    5. People are fucking dying while he golfs and tweets.

    Pat – we love you. Im so sorry about your father. I’m sure you don’t remember but you helped me through the literal worst month of my life and your kind words helped ease my pain. I just wish we could help with yours. Hopefully our donations help bring a little bit of lightness back to your soul, because I know how heavy grief can be.

  12. katieighty
    Posted October 4, 2017 at 1:50 PM | Permalink

    It’s so tough when the pain is coming from all sides. I’ll be glad to see you tonight in San Diego (even though I feel bad you have to do it), and I’m while I’m sure a hug from a stranger would be weird and uncomfortable, I’ll be hugging you in my heart. Thank you for all the work you do. I’m donating and encouraging others to do so, too.

  13. Posted October 4, 2017 at 3:25 PM | Permalink

    . . . coming up on $100K!! Geeks doing Good, indeed.

    Thanks for presenting me with an opportunity to give. Not all charities seem to do a good job with their donations (I’m lookin’ at you, Red Cross) but I trust you and your folks to find an effective organization to help do what needs to be done.

    My daughter was asking me what we could do to help, and then I saw you’d set this up via Twitter. So that was great!

    I donated in memory of my father who passed in 2015. (We got an extra two+ years with him, he was a VERY hard man to kill. It was February of 2013 when I heard that he’d suffered a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm while driving on the freeway. I grabbed a black dress and headed south from Wisconsin, but I was wrong. Sometimes it’s good to be wrong.)

  14. Jeremy
    Posted October 4, 2017 at 4:24 PM | Permalink

    I found my way to your blog because I love your world and your stories. I keep coming back and checking on a regular basis because of things like this. I want to thank you and your team for trying to make our world a better place and giving us a little nudge on the way. I wasn’t able to give much right now but in this instance every little bit helps. Thank You!!

  15. FarmerMonkey
    Posted October 5, 2017 at 7:26 AM | Permalink

    Bless you for doing this, Pat. I had already tried to do some research and ended up donating through Americares, but when I saw this on Facebook, I dipped back in again.

    I was hoping to make it to the Bethel Park signing next week to shake your hand in person, but life gets in the way. So let me just say via interweb–Pat the writer is one of my favorite authors, but Pat the philanthropist is one of my heroes. (With a better origin story, “Baby Duck Crossing Guard”, than most fictional super heroes…)

    Thank you for Worldbuilders, and for helping us shine a light into dark, bleak situations in the world. You all inspire me to put more good out into the world.

  16. Jsherry
    Posted October 5, 2017 at 7:28 PM | Permalink

    Pat, thanks (as always) for the reminder that even those of of who think of ourselves as struggling to get by still have a responsibility to help those who can’t get by.

  17. Oakers
    Posted October 14, 2017 at 9:44 PM | Permalink

    Hey Boo, my heart goes out to you for your loss. I am just another internet dude, so sorry for unsolicited advice, but have you considered heading to PR to help? You are now a man of some means. You can use that to head on down there and do some good for others and yourself. Detach from the news cycles and make a difference in a handful of lives versus the many you help via fundraisers? Book signings are good relations, but in the long run, stepping away for a month or two to do some ambulance driving might be worth more. I left my young kids to work abroad a few years, and it was tough, but helped many people.

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