“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” - Charles Dickens
Good morning from Peoria, AZ. I am currently writing this post on a beautiful Saturday morning from my kitchen table. Sitting next to me is a nice warm cup of coffee with Amaretto creamer—it’s always been my favorite. While I write, my kids are still snuggled in their beds and my wife is in the bathroom getting ready for the day. We don’t have much planned. I will probably play some tennis this afternoon and we might go out for dinner this evening. We haven’t really decided yet. But no matter what we decide, I’m reminded that I am a fortunate man. All my needs are met.
Next Tuesday is my birthday. I’ll turn 38. I’ve been asked a number of times over the recent week what I would like for my birthday. I’ve told them all the same thing, “I don’t need anything for my birthday. I’m donating it to Charity:Water.”
Charity:Water is one of the leading non-profit organizations in the world bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries. Currently 800 million people (1 out of every 9) drink water that is likely to make them sick. And diseases from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Safe, clean drinking water provides a community with health, sanitation, vegetation… opportunity. The need is great:
Charity:Water currently uses 100% of all public donations to directly fund water projects, and they prove every dollar using photos and GPS coordinates on a map. It is a pleasure to be donating my birthday to their efforts. They have worked hard to redefine charity. And they are very good at what they do.
3 Reasons I am Donating my Birthday to Charity:Water.
1. There is nothing that I need. Since becoming minimalist four years ago, my definition of need has changed dramatically. In fact, I rarely use the word… and cringe just a little bit when I hear others say it. Looking around my home this morning, I am reminded again that any use of that word in relation to my life is complete foolishness. With food in my kitchen, clean water in my cup, a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and a family who supports me, I am not in need. My wife claims I need some new black sandals because mine are starting to stink… but if that’s on the top of the list, I’m well-provided for. There is truly nothing that I need for my birthday.
2. There are 800 million people in my world who won’t drink clean water today. Among the most basic needs of life, water tops the list (alongside air and nourishment). Yet, 1 out of every 9 people in our world don’t have it. And we cannot stand by and pretend the problem doesn’t exist. This is our world and our opportunity to change it. We only get one life to make a difference. We either leave this world better, unchanged, or worse off than when we arrived. And in a world where delivering clean water can eliminate more deaths than violence, asking for anything else seems unreasonable.
3. I hope to encourage you to do the same. This post will be read almost 20,000 times in the next 7 days. As a result, we’ll raise some money and deliver clean water where it’s needed most. But hopefully, this post will outlive my birthday… and some of you who also realize you already have everything you need will also donate your birthday to Charity:Water… and will inspire some of your friends to do the same… who will encourage some of theirs. As a result, this post will far outlive my birthday. And together, we can make our world a better place to live for everyone.
1 Way You Can Help.
1. For my birthday, you can donate to my personal Charity:Water page. You can donate $19.00, $38.00, $380.00, or any dollar amount you choose. I have selected $10,000 as a fundraising goal because it is enough to fully fund an entire water project for a village in Ethiopia. Once completed, we would receive photos and exact GPS coordinates of our completed project (how cool would that be?). The goal is high (maybe too high), but the need is great. The opportunity to make a difference is very real and the Becoming Minimalist community is among the most generous on the web today. Donate small or donate big. Just please don’t leave this post unchanged.
Additionally, you can support this goal by sharing this post on social media. You can also choose to donate your own birthday to Charity:Water. But the greatest gift you can give today is the needed funds to provide clean water to somebody who needs it. And as I turn 38 next week, somebody you will never meet thanks you for it.