Monday, November 10, 2008
Heifer International: Part One - A Charity for People Who Love Baby Ducks.

Earlier this year, I held what I thought was going to be a little photo contest. The response surprised me; hundreds of people sent in almost a thousand photos. People dressed up, stripped naked, and climbed onto rooftops. It was an eye opener for me. I realized that there were a lot of folks out there who *really* liked the book.

Ever since, I've been thinking about what sort of contest I'd like to run next. Fanart contest? Video contest? Something for the writers out there? What sort of prizes would people be interested in? Posters? Signed books? Sneak peeks of books to come?

But then I had a better idea.

Eventually, I will run the contests I mentioned above. There will be good times. We will revel in our shared geekery. Blogs will be writ. Prizes will be had.

But first, I'm hoping to direct some of this energy in a slightly different direction. If I'm going to hand out prizes, I'd like it to be for a good cause. Something I believe we all have in common....

I believe that deep down, people are good. I believe that most of us would go out of our way to take care of baby ducks.

My favorite charity is called Heifer International. They are a great force for good in the world, and I'd like to help them raise some money.

There are a lot of worthwhile charities out there. Important causes. Things I feel strongly about. But Heifer is my favorite. Here's why.

Let's say by some miracle I raised ten thousand dollars to help fight cancer, or Parkinson's, or Alzheimer's. While it would help the cause, it would just be a tiny drop in the bucket. Enough to help fund some lab's research for a couple weeks.

But we don't need to research a cure for hunger or poverty. We know how that works. Heifer doesn't just hand out bags of rice, Heifer gives a family a goat and teaches them how to take care of it. Then that family has a continual source of milk for their children. They can sell the extra milk to make money. When the goat has babies, they give those babies to other members of their community, sharing the gift.

Heifer helps people become self-reliant. As someone who has just recently become self-reliant, I know what a nice feeling that is.

My Mom loved Heifer. Every Christmas I would donate enough money for a goat, then give it to her as a present. I remember the first year I did it. She opened the envelope where I had drawn a crude picture of a goat and a happy stick-figure child.

She knew what it meant right off the bat. "Oh! I love it!" she said. And she got a little weepy, because she loved nothing better than helping people who needed it. She had a heart as big as the sky.

This is why I love Heifer. If we raise a couple thousand dollars for them, it will make peoples' lives better. A couple thousand dollars means little kids get milk to drink. It means families get sheep, which means wool for warm blankets and clothes. It means better wells, so moms with babies can have clean water to drink.

I think this is something we can all get behind, can't we?

So here's my plan, the bare bones version.

1. You will help by spreading the word, and making donations.

2. I will match all of the donations, dollar for dollar.

3. We both have a big warm fuzzy feeling in our chests that lets us know we've helped make the world a better place.

4. Finally, as a gesture of my appreciation, I will supply gifts for the people who participated: Signed books, maps, sneak peaks of book two, stuff like that.

This blog is to explain *why* I'm doing this. The details about *how* are over here on THIS BLOG. There are links to my Heifer Team page and details about the prizes. So hop on over there and check it out.

Excitedly yours,


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posted by Pat at


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Heifer still doing an Ark? Two of every animal they offer? If so, I think that should be our community goal.

November 10, 2008 7:49 PM  
Anonymous Lucid Lunatic said...

Argh, the identity thing for Blogger isn't friendly to anything except other blogger/google accounts. The above comment was me.

If I remember correctly an ark was only $2000 or so, back in the day. That may have risen since.

November 10, 2008 7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is just... amazing. I am at a loss of words right now. You are just the most wonderful person ever. Can you be my hero?

November 10, 2008 8:41 PM  
Anonymous Louise said...

The Ark is $5000 now. I'd never heard of Heifer International, but they seem to be a really great charity. I'm quite picky about what charities I support, 'cause so much of the donation usually goes on admin rather than the cause. I think this one makes my list - thanks Pat. Louise xx

November 10, 2008 8:44 PM  
Blogger Sailor Matt said...

I'm in! I'm totally in! Ok, off to read blog #2...

November 10, 2008 9:19 PM  
Blogger Ted said...

Pat. You rock. I love baby ducks!

November 10, 2008 9:45 PM  
Anonymous Karyn said...

For the last 12 years my best friend & I have exchanged llamas on our birthdays (we'll be at 24 llamas next month), so I'm happy and excited to see this organization get some more press.

Thanks for doing this.

November 10, 2008 11:08 PM  
Blogger Brandy said...

If I loved you any more, I think I'd explode.

Not only are you funny, eloquent, the author of my favorite book, but you're also a nifty human being.

Mmmmmwaugh! (big v-kiss)

November 11, 2008 2:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this may get bigger than expected, Pat. My folks just donated a little over $2k. No joke. I'll get the actual figure for you.

- Jeff Rice

November 11, 2008 8:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok - Nevermind. They donated directly through the charity's website, so I guess that donation doesn't count toward the goal. Either way, the word's getting out for the cause. Kudos to you for that, Pat!


November 11, 2008 8:28 AM  
Blogger marky said...

JR. Your folks are legends. 2k!! Truly wonderful people. You should be well proud of them. Bravo!

November 11, 2008 8:49 AM  
Blogger elly rainbow said...

i absolutely love this program. it's what we are doing for Christmas this year in our immediate family. i'm pushing for a Flock of Chicks... :D

November 11, 2008 2:10 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

What a wonderful, wonderful idea, Pat. Let's do it!

November 11, 2008 7:57 PM  
Blogger Brandon & Deanna said...

In your charity, like any righteous protagonist or superhero using their talent for some good in the world, you are inspiring us to share in this benevolence! Thanks Pat!

November 15, 2008 4:40 PM  
Blogger Chris, The Book Swede said...

This is so very cool! :) I'm blogging about this today, and I've popped off an email to Neil Gaiman on his FAQ thing, as I think he'd like something like this on his blog :D

November 29, 2008 5:59 AM  
Blogger mistyeq said...

This is fantastic. This week is like a perfect storm of Heifer International info for me. Yesterday, I got to work and found the gift brochure on my desk. It was a joke from a coworker who knows how much I love animals but doesn't know much about Heifer (I've been riding horses since I was a kid, helped disabled kids ride, do farm work with friends, work in a vet clinic, etc.). Then another friend blogged about your fundraiser! Then another friend told me how part of our college group's funds went to Heifer...

it's just great! I'm making a donation tonight!

December 11, 2008 9:29 PM  
Blogger Sherrlyn Borkgren Photography said...

Sherrlyn of says...I'm so happy to learn about Heifer!!!. I am a photojournalist and recently came back from the Congo. I was there on a grant and hope to go back. I met 9-year-old Belice and her family. The soldiers had raped her. Her family fled the village and returned a month later.They found their goats had all been stolen and their home dismantled and also stolen. I need ideas as to how to help them. I'd like to go back and finish the story. Right now am shooting weddings and putting what I can aside for Belice and her village. There are some pictures of her on my blog. Thanks for reading Sherrlyn

March 29, 2009 5:19 PM  

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