Cause Its My Birthday Is Live

September 17, 2009 · By Sloane Davidson, Founder and CEO, Hello Neighbor I am really excited to announce the launch of Cause It's My Birthday with one of my good friends Doug Campbell. It's a birthday party with a purpose, it's using a birthday as a platform for social change. It's fun. It's a good way to celebrate my 30th birthday with something memorable. I hope you'll join me and support this new charitable adventure!

You're Doing What? I remember when I first called Doug and talked to him about it. I was literally boarding the plane to the Philippines. I had this vision mere days before I left. I called him because I thought that I remembered that he turned 30 just a few days after me. And because Doug is awesome, philanthropic, innovative and we always said we wanted to work on a project together.

I was like, "What if we could inspire other people to make their birthday parties about others? We all have them. Let's make it really ambitious, let's travel the country and have 7 birthday parties in 7 days in 7 cities for 1 cause."

And that's all it took. It's incredible how easy and fun it is to get things going when you have a) the right people on board and b) your intentions are in the right place.

Why Malaria? Malaria is highly preventable and the techniques are cost-efficient. A malaria net has a low price point (approximately $5.00) and yet millions world-wide are without them. Although malaria is virtually non-existent in the continental United States and in Europe, it continues to be one of the biggest disease killers in the world. It is estimated that between 1 and 3 million people die from malaria each year, 90% of those deaths occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa. One out of every 20 African children dies of malaria before the age of 5, a demographic that also accounts for 70% of all malaria deaths—that's equivalent to one child dying from malaria every 30 seconds, or 7 jumbo jets full of children dying each day. Malaria carrying mosquito's only bite at night, so having a net to sleep under drastically decreases malaria rates.

*Giving someone a net is not only a chance at life, it's opening up the window to consider having a future. *

The Nonprofit: We needed a nonprofit. I wanted to support a small nonprofit. Doug and I agreed we wanted something where 100% of donations would to people and not to administrative costs or overhead. We wanted something that was SAVING LIVES, since birthday are, at the core, about life.

I looked around and it turns out I know an Executive Director of a nonprofit called Netting Nations that distributes malaria nets. Perfect! They don't have fulI-time staff, everyone works at other jobs and this is their nonprofit where all of the money goes to people. They are 501c3 and all donations would be tax-deductible. I called him and had two requirements:

1) No overhead. 100% to nets. Doug and I would buy our own plane tickets. All proceeds are for helping people.

2) We pick where they go. I wanted to feel really engaged and involved. I did research. I looked around. Talked to Doug. We choose northern Ghana, an area that needs malaria nets in a dire way.

Netting Nations agreed and we were off.

Now what to call it? Cause It's My Birthday is perfect. I mean this is coming from The Causemopolitan.

The Cities: New York - Saturday, October 3, 2009 Miami - Sunday, October 4, 2009 New Orleans - Monday, October 5, 2009 Chicago - Tuesday, October 6, 2009 Seattle - Wednesday, October 7, 2009 San Francisco - Thursday, October 8, 2009 Los Angeles - Friday, October 9, 2009

The Fundraising Challenge: The fundraising goal is $70,000. That's what it takes to fill an entire container of nets - so about 16,000 nets. (One of our ideas for a tagline was "I Can Barely Contain Myself!" Get it? Haha. Ok moving on.

Vestergaard Frandsen, one of only three WHO-approved companies for net making, will be providing the nets. The target drop will be in northern Ghana in late 2009-early 2010. This amazing firm is also sponsoring nets as samples at each venue and is really behind this idea. We're pumped about that.

I know $70,000 is ambitious. But that's ok. This is an experiment with you and I. Let's see where it goes. So we broke it down more. We have 7 cities and 1 online group for donations, that's 8 groups. That's $8,750 per group.

That seems more doable.

We're also talking to sponsors and might have some type of auction, so we lowered each group to $8,000. Come on right?! We can do that!

There is much more exciting news to announce. But I'd love for you to check out and the site and get excited! This is going to be a really great time!

If you want to be involved as a City Host or have ideas for sponsorship - just sent an email to me at: hello at causeitsmybirthday dot com.

Cause I love making an impact in the world, Sloane