Geeks Doing Good

how we got  started

Early in 2008, author Patrick Rothfuss held what he thought was going to be a little photo contest. The response surprised him; hundreds of people sent in almost a thousand photos. People dressed up, stripped naked, and climbed onto rooftops. It was an eye opener for him, and he realized he had a lot of passionate, dedicated fans.

Rather than run another contest like that, Pat decided to direct some of that energy in a slightly different direction. Prizes would be handed out, but for a good cause.

His favorite charity is Heifer International. They are a great force for good in the world, and he wanted to help them raise some money, because he believes that most of us want to do good things. Most of us would go out of our way to take care of baby ducks.

There are a lot of worthwhile charities out there. Important causes. But Heifer is our favorite, and here’s why.

Maybe we 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. Even better, 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 had just recently become self-reliant, Pat knew what a nice feeling that is.

This is why we 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.

It is a great cause that Pat felt we could all get behind.

So he developed a basic plan:

  1. He organized a massive fund drive and come up with ways to keep it interesting.
  2. Fans helped by spreading the word, and making donations.
  3. Everyone got a big warm fuzzy feeling in their chests that lets them know they’ve helped make the world a better place.
  4. Finally, as a gesture of his appreciation, Pat supplied gifts for the people who participated: Signed books, maps, sneak peaks of book two, stuff like that.

In the intervening years, the fundraiser grew beyond any of Pat’s wildest dreams. We have a staff, and we’ve expanded the scope of this fundraiser beyond Pat handing out personal copies of books to getting donations from some of the coolest and most talented people in geek culture. In the first 7 years, we raised just over $3.5 million for Heifer international.

And that’s all because of you.

Now you know *why* we do this. The details about *how* are here on the Worldbuilders site. There are links to the Heifer Team page and details about the prizes. So hop on over there and check it out.

Thank you so much for checking us out. We’re excited, and we hope you are, too.


Pat & The Worldbuilders Team