We happily anticipate spending Thursday enjoying a day of thanks and celebration with our families here in the States on Thanksgiving, so I find it particularly appropriate that today the travel blogging community celebrates the launch of our sixth annual Passports with Purpose charitable fundraising drive to assist buildOn in an effort to construct three primary schools and fund three Adult Literacy programs in the Sikasso region of Mali, Africa.
The goal is, again, admittedly ambitious--to raise $115,000 in the space of two weeks to support buildOn's effort to help give the gift of reading to others, but I know we'll be able to do it!
The travel blogging community certainly doesn't think small, but the group banded together to build a solid track record of raising money for various worthy charities around the globe.
I remember the first Passports with Purpose launch in 2008, when a small group of bloggers asked the rest of us to join them in achieving what I thought was a pretty ambitious goal at the time--to raise $5,000 to benefit charity as a way to express our gratitude for the joy we find in traveling and to give back to the wider world that played host to our wanderlust.
That year, a hastily organized drive met and surpassed that goal as the group raised $7,400 to benefit Heifer International.
Bloggers and sponsors continued working together in the following years as the goals became more ambitious and the fundraising group became better known within the travel blogging community, as well as the larger travel and social media communities.
In 2009, Passports with Purpose rallied again to raise $28,000 to benefit American Assistance for rural Cambodia in their efforts to build schools in that county's rural regions.
Passports with Purpose's third annual drive in 2010 raised $60,000 to support Land for Tillers Freedom to build an entire village to house 25 families in Southern India.
The year 2011 saw Passports with Purpose raising $90,000 to help Room to Read build two libraries in Zambia.
In 2012, Passports with Purpose raised $116,000 to support Water.org and its efforts to build five wells in Haiti.
Passports with Purpose bloggers ask their readers and friends to donate $10 to enter into a drawing for the prize of their choice from a great list of prizes furnished by bloggers and their sponsors.
The prize list in past years included the chance to experience many different travel opportunities, so I'm excited to see what this year's crop of prizes includes.
Want to check it out for yourself? The prize list went live at 11:59 p.m. EST late last night (November 25), and the fund raising drive ends a scant two weeks later at 11:59 p.m. EST on December 9.
Random draws among eligible entries for each prize determine the winners for each prize.
Passports with Purpose will notify prize winners on December 16, 2013.
Want to enter more than one drawing? No problem! For each $10 donation you make between now and December 9, Passports with Purpose enters you into the drawing for a prize of your choice. Note as you bid for prizes that shipping restrictions, terms, and blackout dates might apply in some cases.
All funds raised (minus transaction fees charged by Paypal and some small administration fees) go to our 2013 charity, buildOn.
The quality of the chosen charities we support each year, and the good work we're able to support around the globe, continues to impress and gratify me.
I always use the Charity Navigator site to check out groups I want to support, and it's also my practice to check out Passports with Purpose's chosen charities each year with this tool. Charity Navigator rates charities based on their accountability and transparency, and I was pleased to see that the chosen charity for the 2013 Passports with Purpose drive, buildOn, scored a four-star rating and high marks for the group's overhead-to-program ratio. BuildOn's own Web site also contains details about their financials.
I'm especially excited and honored to join Passports with Purpose to help spread the word as we embark on our sixth annual fund raising drive this holiday season.
Continue to follow me @midwestguest on Twitter and on my Facebook and Google+ pages for periodic updates, pointers to special prizes on the list and reminders about our Passports with Purpose fund raising drive.
© Dominique King 2013 All right reserved