By Zack Lapinski
This year the beloved calculus teacher from A106, Mr. Bruns, has found a unique way to donate to his favorite charity. He isn’t donating money or time; rather, he is donating his 35th Birthday. Mr. Bruns is not accepting birthday gifts this year; instead he is encouraging his friends, family, students, and fellow teachers to donate a minimum of $35 to charity: water.
The inspiration behind this idea was Scott Harrison the founder of charitywater.org, who used his talents as a successful event planner to organize the donation of his own birthday and the creation of his own charity. Since that time the practice of donating one’s birthday has been frequently used by many donors to charity: water, including Mr. Bruns’ mother and Mr. Bruns himself for his 30th birthday.
Chartiywater.org is a charity dedicated to supplying water to those in areas of the world that do not have access to water. Mr. Bruns is currently striving to raise enough money to build a well for a village in the Central African Republic. Mr. Bruns was initially attracted to this charity when he read an article about them and was inspired to donate his birthday five years ago.
“Water is such a basic human necessity and it seems like an easy problem to fix … It has such long term benefits,” said Mr Bruns “by building wells and teaching people to maintain wells you have a sustainable solution there for quite some time.”
As for the rules of donation, Mr. Bruns is strongly abiding by his $35 minimum donation and his refusal of physical gifts and purchased birthday cards, although he did give an exception to the rule.
“If it were a Lego Star Wars set, I would accept it. Any other gift and I would tell you to return it, take the money from that and give it to me … We like our Lego Star Wars sets in the Bruns household,” said Mr. Bruns.
Other than that rare case, he says he would rather the giver of the gift donate the money they would have spent on a gift or card. Mr. Bruns suggests that students pool money together to reach the $35 minimum, so that student who can’t afford the full $35 donation can still participate in the charity. Mr. Bruns will still accept thoughtful gifts that don’t cost very much money, such as hugs or bringing homemade treats for the class.
Even Bruns’ son is getting in the donating spirit.
“My 8 year old son got $40 for his birthday, and that brought his grand total of money in his possession to $45. He donated $35, and when I told him he could be buying Legos or any other present with this, and he said ‘Yeah, but I want to give this to you because if people don’t get water then they could die,’” said Mr. Bruns.
Mr. Bruns encourages everybody to donate either as an individual or as a group, and his charitywater.org page has more information about the birthday campaign. The link can be found on Mr. Bruns fusion page on the Seaholm website, and it outlines his goal, links to articles and videos that explain the organization and inspired him, gives a list of the donations that have already been given, and show the progress that has been made. Mr. Bruns hopes to reach a total of $6,000 for his birthday this year, and he needs the generous donations of students, teachers, and friends to reach that goal.