Rachel Beckwith's legacy: $1 million for charity
Rachel Beckwith's fundraising campaign for charity: water has surpassed $1 million. The 9-year-old Bellevue girl died in a pileup on Interstate 90 last month.
Seattle Times staff reporters
Exactly two months after Rachel Beckwith's ninth birthday, the fundraising campaign of the Bellevue girl who died in a traffic accident last month has raised more than $1 million to bring clean water to African villages.
There has been an outpouring of donations to the nonprofit called charity: water, which brings clean drinking water to people in developing countries, since the story of Beckwith's wish to raise $300 for safe drinking water by her ninth birthday captured the hearts of the local community and the nation.
As of Friday evening, Beckwith's campaign on charitywater.org had raised $1,026,043 from more than 26,400 donations.
"We're thrilled with the response," said Sarah Cohen, spokeswoman for charity: water. "It's the largest fundraising campaign in our history by far."
To date, charity: water has raised more than $40 million since it opened its doors five years ago.
In May, Rachel had her mother help her create a webpage saying that, in lieu of birthday gifts, she wanted to raise $300 for safe drinking water in Africa. By her birthday in June, $220 had been raised.
On July 20, Rachel was injured in a crash on I-90 in Bellevue, and she died three days later.
When news stories of Rachel's death described her charitable effort, the donations skyrocketed.
Michael Nilsen, spokesman for the Association of Fundraising Professionals, a group representing 30,000 fundraisers around the world, said there has been an uptick in youth fundraising, but it is rare for children's campaigns to surpass six figures.
"Really, it's all about trying to create a connection," he said. "This is a very impressive amount."
Rachel's webpage said more than 51,000 people will be helped by the $1 million donation.
"I am in awe of the overwhelming love to take my daughter's dream and make it a reality," Rachel's mother, Samantha Paul, wrote on Rachel's webpage. "In the face of unexplainable pain you have provided undeniable hope."
The fundraising will continue for 48 more days.
Amy Harris: 206-464-2212 or email@example.com
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