This year, Will and Jada Smith are giving up their birthdays in exchange for donations to charity: water, an organization dedicated to providing safe drinking water for people in developing countries. Visitors to their dedicated campaign page will find a video message from the couple asking for online donations instead of presents, and encouraging others to donate their own birthdays using the mycharitywater fundraising tool.
Launched in 2008, mycharity: water is an online fundraising platform that allows individual users to create and publicize their own short-term charity: water fundraising campaigns. Participants create personalized campaign pages where donations can be tracked, and the site provides downloadable resources to help promote the campaigns online. When a goal is met ($5,000 or more), fundraisers and contributors receive photographs and GPS coordinates of the water project they helped to fund.
This isn’t the first time a celebrity has publicly passed up gifts in favor of charity :water donations. Last year Alyssa Milano launched her own mycharity: water campaign in connection with her 37th birthday. When the goal of $25,000 was quickly met, it was raised—and reached—twice more before the campaign ended with a total of $92,568 in donations.
So far the Smiths’ campaign has raised over $101,000, and brought in over 1,600 pledged birthdays for charity: water. As an added bonus, Will and Jada have said they will travel next year with the three biggest mycharity: water fundraisers to Africa to visit the projects they’ve helped to fund. To launch your own campaign, visit mycharitywater.org.