charity:water // A Different Kind Of Birthday Celebration

UPDATE 1/24: I have surpassed my goal! Thanks to everyone who contributed, prayed, and offered support in any way. I am truly blessed, and more importantly, we have blessed others. Thank you.

UPDATE 1/17: As of 12:00 AM on January 16th, I have reached 96% of my goal. Will you help me reach $1000 worth of clean water? I promise to match any donation you make – up to $20 worth – until we can provide water for 50 people. We’re almost there! Consider this: If you donate $10, I will donate $10. If you donate $20, I will donate $20. Your small donation = big impact. Let’s do it!

I have always felt a certain kinship to Martin Luther King, Jr. You see, we both share the same birthday – that is, January 15 – NOT the traditional “Monday” holiday (though I appreciate those).

The beginning of 2011 was busy! Before I knew it, time was closing in. It felt too late to make plans and expect friends to be available. The pressure seemed to build.

If you live in DC, and you’re young, a birthday celebration means a big meal out with friends, or a soiree at a snazzy watering hole. It’s seems the antithesis of a DC birthday celebration to do, well, nothing. But I didn’t want to do nothing. I wanted to do something different – something that would change me, and those around me – AND people millions of miles away.

This week I went to my first Spark meeting. Spark is a self-coached environment with a group of friends to make a decision to do one thing that will make you a better person or the world a better place. Other Spark participants have taken risks to do some amazing things – like raising money for 600 beds for people who have never had one – or a 5-year-old who organized nearly 200 backpacks for low-income students.

Someone at Spark mentioned a group called charity: water. The non-profit empowers individuals and organizations to sponsor water projects in developing countries. Charity: water started when founder Scott Harrison decided to give up his birthday. He asked his friends to bring $20 instead of gifts. Three years later, charity: water has delivered clean water to 1,742,331 people in 17 countries. With my birthday this weekend, the decision seemed to be staring me in the face. I decided to give up my birthday to improve drinking water conditions. I want to be part of the solution.

Did you know? One in eight people in the world do not have access to clean water.

This weekend, I’m spending my birthday at Social Justice Camp. The participant-driven workshop will help spur projects to bring a sense of social justice to Washington, D.C. and our global neighbors. This month also marks the 1-year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti (charity: water chronicles its efforts in Haiti, too).

It is with that spirit that I hereby donate my birthday to charity: water – with the hopes that this “small” sacrifice can make the world a better place. It all begins with a glass of clean drinking water.

Take a look around my campaign site “Meg’s Birthday Dream.” What’s the cost of a birthday gift? Or celebrating my birthday at a nice restaurant? Just $20 can provide one person with clean water for 20 years. My goal is to raise $1,000. Ambitious? Yes. But nothing ever worth doing was done easily – or alone.


I invite you to join me.

You don’t have to do it for me. Maybe Martin Luther King, Jr. is a role model. Maybe you just want to get started on those tax-deductible gifts earlier than usual.

A worthy side note: Because of charity: water’s unique model, 100% of all donations go directly to direct water projects costs, and each donation is “proved” and tracked to the village it helped when projects are complete.


About Meg Biallas

Thoughts From A DC Intern Turned DCist. A twenty-something goes beyond traditional tourism to achieve Washingtonian authenticity.
This entry was posted in Civic Tech, DCist, Non Profit, young professional and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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