New York Times bestselling author and all-around fantasy gadfly Patrick Rothfuss is marshaling his fans for the good of the world. His charity, Worldbuilders, is nearing the end of their autumn campaign to raise money for Heifer International, a nonprofit devoted to ending world poverty and hunger through sustainable community development. Fans who donate to Worldbuilders are also entered into a lottery to win amazing geek treasures like foreign editions of books, out of print books, rare DVDs, and games that will consume your free time.
Worldbuilders has its origins in 2008. After the smashing success of The Name of the Wind, Rothfuss found himself with what he described as “grown-up money” for the first time in his life. He decided to help out Heifer International, which was his mother’s favorite charity.
Rothfuss pledged on his blog to match donations from his fans to Heifer International for a month. He would also give fans who donated geek swag, such as signed books, maps, games, etc. Rothfuss estimated the fundraiser might cost him $5,000.
“I was going to donate money anyway, so I was viewing this as kind of a scam,” Rothfuss said wryly.
Rothfuss’s loyal fans hit five grand alright, but they didn’t do it in a month. They did it in three days.
Rothfuss remembered, “Other authors promoted it, and donated [gifts for donors.] And then is spiraled into madness.”
By the end of the month, the geek community had raised $50,000 for Heifer International, $50,000 which Rothfuss would have to match.
And Rothfuss is a man of his word. For example, he promised at the end of last year’s campaign to kiss a llama if they met their goal. Here is video proof that he did indeed make a llama his mama:
Rothfuss said of the 2008 campaign, “It really cleaned me out. I spent every bit of money I possessed matching the donations like I said I would. And that was fine ‘cause I’d been broke before, but I’d never been broke for a good cause.”
The author went on to found Worldbuilders to continue the good work of raising money for Heifer International without putting the author in financial peril. Worldbuilders works like Rothfuss’s initial campaign. Fans donate money, and receive a nerd gift in return or are entered into a lottery to win geeky treasures. Worldbuilders has some dozen sponsors, such as Cards Against Humanity, Mayfair Games, Humble Bundle, and Tor.
Worldbuilders is hoping to raise a cool million dollars by midnight on December 14th, and they are within a hair’s breadth of success.
Heifer International will use the money to provide communities in need with things like “knitter’s baskets.” Heifer will donate an alpaca, llama, sheep, or angora rabbit depending on the climate of the host community. These animals produce fiber textiles which families can use to make clothes or even sell. When the animals reproduce, some of the offspring are passed on to other families in need. Heifer even teaches how to care for the animals.
To commit to the cause, click on this link. To learn more about the good work of Worldbuilders and Heifer International, check out the video above!
Image Source: Patrick Rothfuss
Feature Image Source: Worldbuilders.org