What better way to mark a birthday than giving?
How to celebrate a landmark birthday like 40? Especially when you’re already wildly successful and pretty well-off? For Mindy Kaling, the answer was to share some of her good fortune (read: hard-earned wealth) with others, specifically 40 different charities.
“How lucky am I to turn 40?” Kaling tweeted on 24 June, her birthday.
“I would love to express my gratitude by donating $1000 to 40 different charitable orgs that help others. Pls suggest some!”
For those who can’t do maths, that’s $40K (£31K) to various charities. And Kaling’s followers were only too happy to help with suggestions of where her cash should be directed. Recommendations included The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention project for LGBT youth, Food on Foot, a homeless charity in Los Angeles, and Thistle Farms, an enterprise giving employment to victims of sex trafficking. Plus, her A Wrinkle in Time co-star Reese Witherspoon, jumped on board too, pledging in Kaling’s Instagram comments to donate to Girls Inc, a New York charity.
It’s not the first time Kaling has shown a desire to support worthy causes; for her 36th birthday she also asked her Twitter followers to introduce her to initiatives that could use a cash injection. And her actions don’t only positively affect the organisations – studies show that giving even in a small way can boost well-being and happiness levels.
Perhaps that’s why there’s been a surge in people choosing to plump for a social media birthday fundraiser in lieu of well-wishes. Facebook even has a built-in tool that makes it incredibly simple to ask your list of friends (and people you sat next to once in Year 9 science) to consider donating to a non-profit – and it’s had a visible effect.
Kaling helpfully kept updated her Twitter feed with the list of charities she’d selected, so anyone looking for ideas when it comes to their own birthday can be inspired. And why not? Every little helps.