Another Unusual $100,000 Birthday Present (Plus: Free Round-Trip Anywhere in the World)

Soon 35-years young… and still not acting my age. (Photo: Sir Garrett Camp)

35! I’ll turn a glorious 35 this week.

It’s going to be a great natal year–I can already feel it. Perhaps it will be good luck for you, too. In this post, I’m giving away a round-trip ticket anywhere in the world.

But back to that strange birthday gift…

Much to the chagrin of my momma-san, I’ve become quite difficult to buy presents for. Some friends even think I’m impossible to find presents for. Not so. I love handwritten letters, homemade brownies, and–most of all–when people do something nice.

You, dear readers, have a record of being nice and making it count. In fact, you’ve changed thousands of lives with small acts of kindness!

For my b-day in 2010, you all raised more than $100,000 for high-need public school classrooms in the US. Then, last year, you helped build libraries overseas (See the construction progress on Cambodia, Nepal, and Sri Lanka here, as well as the completed schools in Vietnam.)

In lieu of gifts this year, my birthday wish is to help poor youth in developing nations finish school. This breaks the cycle of poverty and creates problem solvers in places with problems that affect communities, entire countries, and the world at large.

And there are a few fun twists…

First, think for education. Unlike last year, we’re actually giving loans. By using loans, only the most hard-working and ambitious students participate., the organization I’m partnering with, currently has an astounding 99.8% repayment rate! That means you should actually make your money back, and you’re giving a hand up instead of a hand out.

If you prefer to “donate,” you can opt to have the funds automatically reinvested in Vittana, which is what I do.

Here’s how it works:

1. Join my 35th birthday challenge by clicking here. It’s worth clicking through just to check out the site.

2. To get your engines started, I’ve put in $10,000 of my own money, primarily into women studying to be programmers and teachers. Under “Find a student,” you’ll see “Students we’re helping.” That’s the gang.

3. If the spirit moves you, please make a $35 loan (or whatever you can: $1, $35, $1,000, etc.) to the student of your choosing. Click on “Find a student” to search outside my group. Even a $1 can make a big difference to these students!

4. Over the next several months, your (and my) students will finish school. They’ll then find jobs and begin repaying their loans.

Vittana’s impact is incredible, and your good karma compounds over time. Take a girl like Ana Lizbeth for instance — with a $713 Vittana Loan, she became an IT administrator and doubled her income. I’m so excited about Vittana that I just recently became an advisor, joining supporters like Google, Tim O’Reilly, and Mitch Kapor, among others. It’s really awesome.

So, to get this party started in force…

Sweetening the Pot…

– If you all help raise $50,000, I will personally foot the bill for another $50,000. This means that if you get the total to $60,000 (as I put in $10K already), I will pay the remaining $40,000 to get us to $100,000. The deadline for this is 11:59pm PST on Friday, July 27th.

I’m giving away a free round-trip ticket anywhere in the world that Star Alliance flies, which is just about everywhere. There is no expiration date on the trip, so no rush on deciding where or when to go.

Now, here’s how to get it:

– Spread the word however you can. Send people to this post or to my Vittana donation page.

– Leave a comment below telling me what you did (Facebook, Twitter, blog post, e-mail blast, e-mail signature, encouraged employees/friends to do the same, company donation matching, etc.). Measurement of any type gets huge bonus points. This comment must be put up no later than 11:59pm PST on Friday, July 27th, 2012.

– Lastly, answer one question at the very top of your comment: “What does education mean to you?”

I’ll pick the top five promoters, and you’ll all vote on the winner of the round-trip.


But the best reason of all…

Beyond the bribes, you’ll feel awesome about yourself for doing real good for people who have so little. People who, without education, might not have a future at all.

Trust me. It feels great.

Will you pause for a moment and step up, even if for $1? It would mean the world to me. I’ll share updates as I get them.

Again, here is where to go to loan/donate $35, $1, $1,000, or whatever you can.

Thank you for reading this post. You are all rock stars, and I continue to write on this blog purely because of you.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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281 Replies to “Another Unusual $100,000 Birthday Present (Plus: Free Round-Trip Anywhere in the World)”

  1. Tim,

    You continue to impress me with your “random acts of kindness”…love what you see doing here with this campaign and am happy to help support it!


    Chef Mark

    1. Loaned $35 (happy B-day) wish it was more but I am an entrepreneur without any profit yet 😉 Shared on facebook 371 friends.

      Education means breaking the cycle. My mom was single and uneducated. Statistically I should be too. Instead I got in to college by the skin of my teeth and have been working towards my dreams since.

      Love what you are doing and glad to be a part of it. I can’t wait to see what Perla Concepción does!

  2. ….. it makes the impossible, really very possible after all.

    Sweet idea, Tim. Enjoy blowing out those candles.

  3. Tim education means a lot to me. I recently graduated and doubled my income. The network I developed at school led to my job. I am happy to promote and support this cause.

    1. @Jayson: I find it interesting, that a person who’s comparing schools to prisons praises a post that advocates loaning money to students.

  4. To me, education means acquiring information that has the potential to create a better life for the next generation. Love the Vittana site, thanks for sharing Tim. BTW.. I turn 35 in 3 weeks.

  5. Happy Birthday!

    What a fun way to celebrate!

    Here’s how I’ve shared so far:

    Retweeted your tweet to all 121 of my followers 🙂

    Shared link to this blog post with 615 FB friends.


    1. I forgot to say what education means to me… it means learning a new way to look at the world – opening your mind to new ideas, information, and knowledge.

  6. Education means empowerment–empowering a person to help him- or herself and then to go beyond and help others… Like this!

    Frickin’ awesome, Tim. Thanks for getting folks involved. I updated the very beginning of my email signature (and as you can guess that’s a lot of eyeballs every single day) and am using this as a reason to reach out to my friends, clients, and mailing list. That’s 3,880 people right there. Let’s hope they do the same. 🙂


  7. Education to me means that one is able to achieve a higher state of awareness and self fulfillment. Education is an outlet that allows us to mature and develop. We can learn about things that intrigue us or learn skills to find success in life. Most importantly education is a opportunity, one that all people across the world should be given access to.

    My contribution was a $5 donation. I know this doesn’t sound like much but as an unemployed recent college graduate living at home, it was hard to part with that $5, yet I know it is going to much better use now serving education. I have also forwarded this website to several friends and family. Best of luck.

    1. Really agree that education is a huge opportunity, it’s a real shame that a lot of kids in the US/ UK don’t see it that way. When I hear stories of kids and families in developing countries putting everything on the line to get an education it brings tears to the eyes (in a different way to the school fees bring tears to the eyes in the UK!)

      Have you heard about PISA? Its the Programme for International Student Assessment and assesses 500,000 children across 70 countries. China is now topping the charts comfortably. In China education is viewed as a life changing opportunity. As President Obama said “the nation that out-educates us today will out-compete us tomorrow”, so we better learn quickly.

      How can we not support people who want to educate themselves! Great cause Vittana, will share on my blog, it may be a small readership but it’s about the steps I took to leave my office life behind (as inspired by the 4 hour work week bible)

  8. I made a donation and shared with all my friends on facebook and twitter. To me, education = opportunity. Every child in the world deserves one!

  9. 1. Told VisionSpring office to donate (7 people)

    2. Facebook status post (934 people)

    3. Twitter (296 people)

    Absolute collision of worlds – I’ve volunteered for Vittana for years and read you for years, and out of the blue, this happens. Hilarious and appreciated. Happy birthday.

    1. I will also have VisionSpring with around 1,600 followers on Twitter and around 800 or so likes on Facebook to post the news.

    2. As Vittana Community & Culture Mgr (and volunteer mgr for the very translation team Jared mentions), it’s a huge thrill to see Tim’s community coming together like this for global education.

      New favorite hashtag: #EduMob 🙂

      Let’s make some serious change for students across the globe and graduate a generation beyond poverty! Thanks Tim, thanks Jared, thanks everyone!!

  10. Hi Tim,

    This is really good. I may not have many friends to spread out the message but I’m very happy to show my support to your kindness.


  11. Education means to me: freedom, possibilities, opportunity, adventure, hope, promise, dreams fulfilled, strength, experience, security and a insatiable hunger to learn more…

    Tim, thank you for the inspiration. Not only have you inspired me to donate and to spread the word but to also remember what I appreciate most about my education and my parents’ sacrifices for my education. I have shared this page on FB, Twitter, via email and am sending to all of my friends asking them to support the cause by contributing in lieu of (early) birthday presents for me too. Tomorrow am presenting to my team at work as a team building exercise. I hope that I can help to increase awareness and that the students are able to reach their goals and realize their dreams.

    Happy Birthday Tim!

    Keep up the good work in helping all of us realize our dreams 🙂

  12. Tim,

    I believe that education is the one levelling tool for all of those around the world. It can bring people out of poverty and hard times, and by providing these people the opportunity to gain education, I believe that we are helping them to help themselves. I was once given this opportunity, and I stand by allowing others access to it also.

    I’m 9 years your junior, but it seems that we share a birthday! So, on the eve of this day (I’m in Australia – slightly forward in time), I’ll spread the message to my Facebook followers, to my LinkedIn friends, the Google business groups I am part of, and through a company wide work email. I will also be pledging my own money to the program.

    Let’s get this thing rolling!!


  13. Love this idea. I rarely donate (trying to pay off student loan debt at the moment) but I told myself “Really… you cant afford 25 dollars to help improve someones chances at forwarding their education.” Thanks for bringing this site to my attention and the call to action as well.

  14. To me, education is the opportunity for people to learn what interests them in a controlled environment, and then pursue a course of study in that field.

    Spoken like a true Liberal Arts student who majored in English Lit and minored in Art History.

    1) Tweeted post to 10,800 followers (@rtwdave)

    2) Shared link on Go Backpacking’s Facebook page (4,050 fans)

    3) Shared a link on my personal FB page (650 friends/subscribers)

    I’m a big fan of Kiva, so this was a no brainer. And I liked how easy it was to create a new account with Vittana, in the course of giving my loan.

    Welcome to 35, by the way. I’ve managed to enjoy 6 countries in South America since I celebrated my 35th last September!

  15. Liked this post for Facebook, shared it on Twitter (mentioned you as well!). Doesn’t matter if I win or not, good to spread the word.

    Happy birthday Tim! : )

  16. and you guys don’t have to publish this comment, but do you know if there is a way to place tracking pixels on the donation thank you page?

  17. Amazing ideas as always Tim. I could not give much, but I gave some. And I used Rockmelt to share the message with everyone that follows me, or I am friends with on Twitter and Facebook. Hopefully will get some more of them to join in as well. Happy birthday!

  18. Education means to me never having to settle for where you are at. Too many people feel like they are stuck in a certain life or doing something over and over again that they do not like. Education can change that.

    Whether it is having the education already to pick yourself up an dmake the changes that you want to your life not matter what others say or going back to school to get the skills that you need to move on in life. Education is the key to it all.

  19. Sorry my computer froze entering my comment above so I will add to my answer of what is education that so far I have

    Tweeted about this post

    shared it on FB

    Google +

    Stumble Upon

    And I will tell my cowrkers tomorrow at work.

  20. Crowdsourcing student loans 😉 love the concept and have a feeling it will be immensely successful!

  21. Education is an investment in the individual student, their community, and the world as a whole. This won’t just help these students improve themselves, but all the lives they touch along the way, too… It’s a ripple effect of positive change.

    Awesome idea, happy to join in. I shared your blog post on the Facebooks, as well as my donation.

    (Totally stoked to see my student became fully funded while I was writing this!)

  22. Dear TIm

    Funny, I’ve been meaning to write you because a Google search for William Murray’s “Mountaineering In Scotland” led me to your site. I’ve had Mr. Murray’s famous quote (“The moment one definitely commits oneself, the providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.”) taped to my monitor since December 2008-ish and read it every day. I couldn’t find the book anywhere online but you apparently mentioned it in a blog post (but I couldn’t find the reference!). Of course, I’ve been dying to know if you have a copy of the book 🙂

    As I was bumping around on your blog tonight, reading excerpts from your book, I went back to your home page and noticed you put up your 35th birthday challenge. Thank you! You’ve helped me make the first move to do something I’ve been thinking about many years and talking about specifically for the past two months but have been too crazy busy and hadn’t yet taken that all important step: taking action. You gave me the entry to make this commitment real, just the way Mr. Murray said it would. I pray that my gift to the student I chose to help will discover stars lining up for her as well:)

    Here’s what I’ve done so far to assist: loaned $50 to economics student Blanca Analia Gimenez in Paraguay (I was an econ student too!) and posted your 35th birthday challenge info and link to my facebook page and on Marie Forleo’s B-School comments page which reaches all the wonderful, spirited, thoughful B-School babes worldwide (I’m so happy to be a B-Schooler myself!!!).

    With best wishes to you on your 35th birthday, Tim:)

    Kindest regards,


  23. I love you man, but I think I’ve been hanging around here too long. On one hand high five for radical efficiency. On the other hand… ah who cares, it was efficient. (Re: copy / paste of last year’s post)

    So who’s got ideas? I came in third once, but that was because I had a popular YouTube video at the time, lol. The internet is a funny place. Ah well, back to programming.

  24. “Education means my daughter will have the ability to think her way to success. For me it’s more than my own education, it’s providing the example.”

    Posted to LinkedIn, Facebook x3 accts, Twitter x2, and posted the donation link via Vittana after my donation as well. I hope my support influences others.

    Every little bit counts… Aloha

  25. In reading the comments I have noticed a trend that most people are simply posting their follower size on social media as their form of measurement. As in… “Hey Tim I posted to my Twitter which has 40 followers and my Facebook which has 600 followers.”

    A quick note on how to measure the exact number of people you refer to Tim’s page (he likes accurate measurements). If you setup a link over at and then share the link you will be able to see exactly how many people clicked your link. Use a new link for each social media platform and you can get your conversion rate which is the percentage of people that clicked the link out of the population the link was exposed to. Example: You setup a link to Tim’s Vittana page and then post the link to your Twitter account that has 40 followers. When you log in to a day later you’ll see 4 people clicked the link yielding a 10% conversion rate.

    If you experiment with various wordings / imagery you’ll be able to compare your conversion rates. Focus on the wording / imagery that has the highest conversion rate and apply it to larger populations. The sky is the limit (haha, literally with the Star Alliance ticket you’ll win)!

    1. At first I loved this blog for the content – Tim is the Wizard of Odd – but lately I’ve learned to appreciate it even more for the community that it attracts! I learn something new every time I read the comments of his posts, and bitly was the lesson today. Thanks Jason!

  26. Education means a purposeful decision to learn and/or teach. Education means to create or sustain hope and opportunity.

    1. Posted this link Facebook (296)

    2. Twitter

    3. Updated my Gmail e-mail signature with a link to the Vittana team page.

  27. Tim, I can’t wait to see you talk with City Arts & Lectures in December. You are on my brain because I’m on day 3 of four hour body…

    Anyway, this project is amazing of course, and I am going to send it out to my social media sites – my only concern is putting the “gas mask” on ourselves first – the education system in the US needs major help too.

  28. Will share this on my facebook and twitter, and even better will get all my members at the gym where I work to check the site out! great job again Tim! From what I can see this project gives to the kids that really want to learn a chance. Educating the mass is the way to go, they will not only repay the loan but the return on what they may bring to the future of mankind is limitless. Think about it, by loaning out this money you in fact maybe giving a someone who would have never had the opportunity to land a great job to do so.

    I support this

  29. I like it, Vittana that is, its a good new angle on loans rather than donations. I’ve supported Kiva for years with a small initial contribution which has been repaid over and over again. What I like about both the Vittana site and the Kiva site is you pick who you want to help with a loan. May my small contribution help other girls and women take control of their lives, just as education let me.

  30. Well done Tim.

    I donated to Juan Carlos in Bolvia. He wants to learn Civil Engineering. I chose Juan because not only will his life become better because of this loan, but also he will impact the lives of many other Bolivians with this type of profession.

    Here’s what I did to spread the word:

    I posted on facebook, I also enabled a message for my RSS feeds (~1,000 reach) that will repeat every 3 days for my RSS subscribers on

    It feels good.


    P.S. – Happy Birthday!

  31. For me education is the wind that flutters your sails while you’re docked on shore wondering if you’ll ever find the courage to take off. Its the current’s push in the direction of your dreams no matter how treacherous the path might seem. It instills the confidence to stay your course & sail through the night knowing that just out of sight on the tip of the horizon the sun will eventually rise up and light your way.


    Happiest of birthdays yet!! I wish there were an infographic that could accurately display the number of lives that you’ve positively impacted with your books, blog posts, mentorships, investments & outreach initiatives (like this one). At this point you’ve probably changed the tides for hundreds of thousands of people in both subtle & completely transformative ways… so cheers to your first 35 years on earth you’re really making a scene. 😉

    I’ve decided to try and fully fund two specific girls in your group by sharing their stories & goals with my followers. The girls are Jesamine Mendoza (pg 9) & Jennifer Mendoza (pg 11) — you can find their info here:

    Shout outs for help in reaching these goals went to Facebook (1172 followers), Twitter (675) & tomorrow I’m going to kick it girl-scout style and hit up my neighbors & relatives (5-10 depending on which cranky neighbors open their door)

    I’ll keep you posted with our results!

  32. Happy birthday, Tim.

    Your stand is absolutely moving and inspiring. Thank you for what you do and who you are.

    Education to me opens up a world of possibilities. I think of education as a natural part of life and less on conventional institutions although schooling does provide amazing opportunitires for people.

    When we are open to learning and declare ourselves a beginner and learner of life, I believe we expand who we are and what is available and possible.

    When we cease to learn, we become dull and uninspired.

    Thanks for sparking this discussion and making a difference.

    Blessings to you,


  33. Tim,

    “What does education mean to you?”

    I just started a new job this week. Wait let me back up. First off I’m an active duty US Air Force officer and I’ve served in this capacity for a little over 3 years now. It’s been a great experience so far and I’ve had the opportunity to do great things and touch lives around the world (due to the nature of my job).

    However, I’ve just completed a 180 and switched career fields (still in the air force mind you). I have been graciously given an amazing opportunity from uncle sam to lead and mentor the next generation of military leaders in this country. As of a few days ago I’m now teaching at a local college as an assistant professor of leadership studies and loving it. To me, education is the most powerful weapon in which someone can use to change the world… Education is realizing that education must be passed on. I intend to do my best to use it (and teach it) in this capacity. It is very humbling to say the least.

    Companies like Vittana and Kiva are truly doing amazing things and my only wish is that more people start to see the value in educating the next generation. After all, they are growing up in a world exponentially more open and free. They are smarter than we give them credit for! I can not emphasize this enough to anyone reading this. Donate!

    ps. happy 35th tim! You have 10 years on me, thank you for being a true inspiration and leader for my “generation” 🙂

  34. Just posted this on Facebook and twitter. Will spread by word of mouth, too. And will check out your other links to offer a donation.

    Happy 35th!

  35. Tim,

    I just only can tell you that, I extremely love this project!! Education to me is just one word “great”, I have my own big dream about Education in my country (Vietnam). I hope I can make it comes true! Yes, One day!

    Thanks for all you have done. I do really hope I can meet you outside oneday soon in the future then, I can get good advises from you for my big dream.

    Best Regards,

  36. Education is one of the most important things to me. I’m constantly learning and improving myself because I’ve found it’s the best way to have a positive impact on this world. The more I learn, the more I can help solve problems and provide solutions.

    You’re awesome, Tim. I just donated as well as shared the post on twitter and facebook. Thanks for being you.

  37. Education means freedom. Free from poverty, ignorant, and control of others. It allows one to stand on higher ground by becoming more and by becoming more, one is able to pay it forward – just like this birthday challenge. Have a Happy Fulfilling Birthday!

  38. Hey just made a donation. I’m a PE teacher and I plan on doing a fundraiser next year with the help of my students and that will help spread the word about Vittana. Students will be helping aspiring students, paying it forward while getting on the privilege of having access to education.

    Education is opportunity, education is heritage. My parents were able to move to Canada from Chile and make a better living because they had education. I live a good life because of them. Education impacts more than one generation. Once education enters a family it usually sticks around. Helping one person get her education, will impact many more.

  39. Tim,

    Please make this easier for the givers. Why not simply share a link that allows me to donate the preferred amount without the hassle of choosing student. I trust you enough to lend to a pool rather than choose a student. and this way I am also more confident that my contribution is getting counted in your target.

    I spent 5 mins trying to figure this out but either the login doesn’t work or task of choosing a student on the site seems intimidating or makes me unsure act whether its getting counted under your target.


  40. Education – continuous learning throughout all aspects of life. It never stops, for anyone. Keep getting better, keep showing up, keep improving your knowledge. Enabling your passions to become your occupation.

    Posted to Twitter, Facebook, Google+. Donated $35 each to 2 different students. Hoping for “each one reach one, each one teach one” reinvestment from the students that successfully complete profiles, complete loan funding, complete graduation, complete repayment, and then help others to do the same. This can take time, but also be a game changer for the individuals involved, the individuals they then help, and the regions and countries they then help. Love the long-term payback potential at a large scale. Thanks for raising awareness of this Tim and happy birthday!

    1. Mike–I was on the fence about opting-in but since you recently unplugged and are re-setting, I am matching your gift. Thanks for inspiring others and slaying the enemy of happiness: BOREDOM.

  41. Hi Tim, it’s awesome website! Education means for me simply better world, happier people with a chance to fulfill their dreams! I think I know something about it as I’m now studying in Australia, over 16.000kms from all my friends and family.

    I’ve donated only $25 for now as I paid my uni fees last week, and have nearly 0 on my account at the moment, but will donate more in few weeks.

    I’m going to message all my friends on Facebook (just a bit over 300), and I’ll print out basic flyers to my part-time job – a luxury residential building in Sydney with median price for 1 bedroom about $1 million, and 206 units, so I hope it will help.

    Happy B-Day Tim!

  42. Education is so important! My father comes from Morocco and he was studying to be a doctor. However, he couldn’t pursue it due to extreme migraines and had to leave Morocco due to the stigma that he must be crazy if his head is hurting. If the community had been more educated, or there were more role models who had had opportunities to get an education, my father might have been the doctor he had always dreamed of.

    I’m an art college student and I donated too! I’m bugging my family, my friends and any teachers I know that have some spare change in their pocket! I told them the best part is that they get their money back. Let’s say they’re saving up to buy an expensive radio or etc. They loan that money and when it’s returned, if they still want that radio, it might have gone on sale, or they don’t want it anymore and they have that $50 they loaned a few months ago.

    Hopefully some of them do donate!

    Thanks for posting this!

  43. I’ve been thinking about getting involved with Kiva or Vittana for a while now…no better time than the present. Let the promotional cogs start spinning!

  44. Tim,

    First of all happy birth day week bro. You’re truly an inspiration but more then that I just follow you know for all the random interesting shit you find and post. I would have never heard of this company before but now I’m going to start alternating my Kiva donations with Vittana and be the “hand up not the hand out” (love that line)

    Wish you all the best this year.


  45. Hi Tim,

    as I read the comments I was stunned about the numbers of people you reach through your fans. And I love that you use your impact on people for such good causes!

    To me, education is one of the best and most important things in the world. It is the means to change the world – may it be school/college education or “self-made” education by reading good books.

    PS: It’s hard to pick a student (or 2)….

  46. Education to me is something that enhances your being, your experience of the world, and in turn, what you are capable of giving to others. .

    Happy Birthday week, Tim. I think it’s great that you’ve made this the focus of your birthday – giving to others. I posted on my fb page, and encouraged my 2600 friends worldwide to give what they could. Hope you get some cool gifts, anyways. 🙂

  47. Bon anniversaire Tim! Wonderful what you are trying to achieve here, get the best out of people and make them feel good at the same time! Can completly relate to what you are doing, in the Thai tradition you have to do something for other people on your birthday. For my 30th I organized a party for the refugee school I was managing and got the best present ever, handwritten notes from laotian refugee girls telling me how much they liked the party!

    Where to begin on what education means to me… I am a trained teacher, I worked for different Ministries of Education on gender equality and ensuring girls & women are benefiting from the system. So I would say Education is the key to everything or almost everything, I have seen first hand experience how scholarships could turn a girl’s life & family and the entire community for the better. How girls from rural villages became doctors, engineers ect… and in turn helped other children to get the same opportunities! My husband and I are already supporting a refugee family, but I’ll pledge to give a loan to an inspiring student!

    Good luck in your project and continue to amazing work!

  48. Hey Tim,

    I have a great idea that could boost the whole Vittana mission. Please contact me via email for details. It´s going to be AWESOME, I promise!

    Best regards,


    1. To make it more interesting for you, I´ll give a small hint: It has to do with helping not only one student, but all of them by forming a strategic alliance in language learning.

    2. Okay, I see it is hard to make you interested…

      For me education is broadening my possibilities to achieve more at work, and live a better life wherever, and how I want to live it. Language is part of education, and speaking different languages on a ‘sufficient’ level boosts career opportunities.

      So, I would like to help setting up a co-operation between Vittana and Qooco. Students would have the possibility to improve their language skills, and therefore broaden their possibilities, and experience a new freedom of mobility. Maybe now is the time to clarify details…

  49. Education means a better-informed, knowledgeable person / partner / citizen / parent – which will lead to a better tomorrow for the next generation. A study in India says, “that first kid that’s able to complete graduation in the family ensures their family moves above poverty line”.

    It’s that thing which “changes lives”!

    It’s great to see you offer this birthday gift to support a noble cause. God bless us all with more of your kind. Have a great day 🙂

  50. To me, education is at the core of progressing humanity. Everything from mechanical fellowships to liberal arts Ph.D’s improves our world just a little bit more. Also, having struggled with the Canadian student loan system myself, Vittana helps put everything in better perspective.

    Thank you Tim for exposing me to Vittana and then for your amazing donation. I’m proud to say I transfered some of my loan to a couple students in SA.

    I then proceeded to dominate the timeline of all my friends on facebook, gave a shout out to Vittana on twitter, and harrassed each and everyone of my engineering classmates to join in on an engineers for engineers funding drive. Next step is to try and get the department/companies to sponsor the whole thing. I’m travelling right now but have sent updates home harrasing even more friends and family to donate. I think I managed to notify about 1000 people in total.

    Best of luck, happy birthday, and great idea!

  51. Hi Tim,

    this is what I really like – when people who have achieved a large audience use their “power” to pursue great ideas. Education is one of them. There is nothing better to give somebody, not just young people, than an opportunity to study and learn something new and push the boundaries further. Boundaries of our own limitation. I really wish I could do stuff like you, like other “celebrities”, convincing people to do more than just live their lives without thinking there is more or better that can be done. Particularly for people that are not so lucky to live like we do. Once again, well done. Keep such things going on man!

    All the best,


  52. Education is the key to stopping violence, improving our environment and ensuring that our global societies are populated with good human beings! Helping students will be remembered by those students, who will then help others!

    Great birthday idea for paying it forward!

    I’ve only contributed $300, but expecting that matching contribution, Tim! I focused on African students, since I only recently moved to Nairobi!

    I’m not looking for the ticket, but I have promoted Vittana to my friends and family via Facebook, with a request for belated birthday contributions (my b-day was only 2 days ago!).

    I have also shared this with my new company, since we’re getting ready to launch a non-profit on the side that will be focused on IT education here in Kenya – perhaps we can even have our students setup with Vittana!

    Go, Tim!

  53. Hey Tim, It seems that the share widget is also giving a 404 when clicking on the lend now button there… Tried to figure out how to fix that with no success. I hope you can get it fixed.

    Thanks 🙂

  54. Virtually any form of education empowers- it liberates people out of whatever rut they’re in, or treadmill they be on,and gives them hope of a better future. A future that enables them to live a life more fitting with who they *really* are.

    I’ve tweeted this out,and all the other social stuff, but have also convinced one of my clients to start a campaign where we’re raising awareness of illiteracy in the US (14% as of 2009). We’re getting plenty of bloggers on board, and companies to make donations of their relevant services/products, to get people talking, spur conversation and help those who need it most.

    Nice work, Tim!

  55. I posted this on Facebook, Twitter (2k+ people) and will put it in a next week’s blog post.

    However, I’m doing this (and donating) for those people who will have chances like I was offered once, not for the reward. So, please, don’t even consider me for that, give it to someone who really wants it.

    May you help people even more for your next birthday!

    Have a super fantastic day!

  56. Education (whether formal or not) is an eye opener, it’s to develop critical thinking, expand your possibilities and understanding on both what and how you can achieve something, it’s developing your mindset, and not least, it’s a door opener in your career and way to hone your skills on something you love doing… and so much more.

    Posted your challenge on facebook, twitter, and google plus so far.

    I’ve made loans to Kiva several times, but never to Vittana. Thanks for making me aware of it. Will make it one of my regular stops, along with Kiva.

    Happy birthday / Gratulerer med dagen (depending on your Norwegian), Tim. Love your work, mindset, and initiatives.


  57. Education is everything. Learning is everything. Everyone should make sure to learn something new everyday. I know I try 🙂

    I shared this on Facebook and Twitter and also wrote a blog post about it at

    I don’t have a big audience but I also made sure my big brother knows about this challenge and he made his donation and shared it with his much bigger audience 🙂

    Great thing you are doing here Tim and I just wanted to thank you for making my day feel so GOOD.

    Thanks and happy birthday 🙂

  58. Wow Tim, this is amazing! Education to me means bettering yourself as an individual, expanding your horizons, being a lifelong learner and following your dreams. As a single parent, I became a teacher so that I could help others to grow, learn and succeed, while doing so myself. Education is right, but it is also is a privilege that so many cannot afford. Your 35th birthday gift represents love, caring, opportunity & support to those who need it most. I strive to give back to my community. I hope that I am in the position to do this very same thing one day. Happy Birthday & many more!


    P.S. I am going to share this on my facebook but also in person with a group of educators & administrators that I am meeting with today. I have already shared my love of The Four Hour Workweek with them and told them about your facebook page. Today I will encourage them to join your page to see the wonderful support that you are providing to education! Thank-you on behalf of all of us Tim! Cheers! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  59. Education is the key that removes limits from your life. Basic skills – literacy & numeracy – are essential if someone wants to live a better life than their parents.

    Excited to see how much we can raise – giving out these loans is addictive!

    Happy Birthday Tim.

  60. Education is the engine oil of life. The engine will work without it, but never to it’s potential.

    Great idea and cause. Plastered over my Facebook wall for 200-odd people to exercise their consciences.

  61. You inspired me to do favourite things differently.

    Never know travelling also can help those poors and unlucky ones.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    Keep posting…Enjoy your life

  62. Happy 35th Birthday Tim!

    To be honest, I didn’t go to Uni, so I don’t have much of an opinion about Education in the “traditional” sense…

    But to me, Education means keeping your eyes, ears, and most importantly your mind open, every single day;

    Continually learning about all the varied and wonderful things, people and perspectives in the world,

    In order that we can make more informed decisions about the most positive and effective direction for us in life,

    And hopefully as a result take more beneficial actions to make the world a better place!

    Love your Birthday Challenge – thanks so much for making my life, and millions of others, so much better, in so many ways 🙂

  63. Loan sent!

    Great idea, really love it. Don’t forget Tim my Twitter offer- Alternatively, it can be a beer, in any city. My wife wants to come too!

    Anyway, happy Mandela day and happy 35th!

    Education is not homework, algebra, grammar, periodic tables, rows of neat little seats or believing everything our teachers tell us. Its a mentality that allows us to get things wrong, figure it out and try to get it right next time.

    All the best,

    Ian, Lynne and baby Finn

  64. To teach other’s how to learn on their own with the resources they already have.

    Happy birthday Tim.

  65. Thanks Tim for this great initiative!

    Education is about Raising Consciousness and Skill-sets of individuals so they can Serve their Community and World authentically and naturally.

    I shared this post to my FB community of about 3000 friends/subscribers and 435 Twitter Followers.

    All the best Tim and Happy Birthday! Here’s a special birthday quote for you 🙂

    “There has never been a person like you before, there is not anybody else like you right now in the whole world, and there will never be anybody like you. Just see how much respect God has paid to you. You are a masterpiece — unrepeatable, incomparable, utterly unique. Even the hardest heart, the rock-like heart, will start melting in gratitude.” Osho

  66. I _bow_ at these random acts of kindness. Truly fantastic, selfless acts like these are inspiring. An entrepreneur in Ghana got my donation, so this goes down on the history books as my first VC investment 🙂

    Now my birthday wish: please help feed hungry children in the world. Only a parent knows the gut wrenching void the idea of our own children going hungry can evoke. Help those children, and let us help you help them.

    Happy birthday to you.

  67. Education means self-discovery, awareness, friends, freedom, confidence, and an appreciation for life. I am so grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given and those that cross my path each day.

    Thank you for doing this and helping these students. It’s quite inspiring.

    I posted my contribution to my facebook wall and shared on twitter.

    Happy birthday!

  68. Can’t believe it’s already been a year! Happy Birthday Tim and thanks again for last year–I used the ticket to fly to Bangkok, and I’m still on the big adventure, writing the book I said I would. (Hello from Melbourne!) What an awesome pay-it-forward system you’ve set up. I’ll be in touch when the adventure brings us round again to SF in a couple months. Warmest wishes, Melissa

  69. Just donated $25 (it’s all I can swing at the moment).

    Thanks for putting this out there Tim! I wish these hard working kids all the best!

  70. Hi Tim,

    Education to me means firstly, providing someone an opportunity to improve their lives, the lives of those in their community, and the lives of all of us. Education is about teaching someone how to teach themselves; e.g. one learns how to learn; a skill that takes someone far beyond learning a specific skill/topic. It broadens one’s perspective and helps one to see a world beyond their personal world view.

    My physics degree has never directly been put to use, but the lessons on how to learn have been tremendous help as an ESL teacher in Taiwan, studying French in the south of France, and as an IT Professional for 18 years.

    I posted your link on my Facebook status, posted it on the page of Manpower Group, printed copies of the first page, highlighted the URL and left them around the office for others to see.

    Good luck with the campaign.

  71. This is very cool! One of the few redeeming things about my time in Afghanistan was the positive impact we had on kids. I’m on board and spreading the word on Facebook and Twitter!

  72. Hi Tim, first off Happy Birthday!

    Education is everything, in that it allows anyone to learn, grow and compete in the global economy. Anything that’s every been created, has been created twice.. once in the mind of the creator, and then again in the physical sense. That first part would never come to be without education… without the ability to be introduced to a variety of things, subjects and perspectives.. to be challenged to think and grow beyond one’s self, and to challenge others to do the same.

    Secondly, thanks for doing this and bringing this awesome idea to the forefront. I think it’s an awesome idea, and I just made a donation and I will post to Facebook (500+), Twitter (2,000+), my mailing list subscribers (3,500+) and my YouTube Channel (4,000+).

    I’m also going to talk about with my friends and associates, and do what I can to get the word out there. It’s a great thing to do, and I applaud you for continuing to make the world a better place!

  73. Tim, just a follow up comment.. when clicking on the link to post to Twitter, it’s incorrectly putting up the tweet as “Another Unusual 0,000 Birthday Present ” (the 100,000 is not showing up right)… Just an FYI.

  74. First of all, happy birthday Tim! Just started following your madness, I mean work, about a month ago. I’m a late bloomer. Talk about an education! You have completely changed my perspective on this world, for the better. Your teachings, experience, and wisdom has brought some much needed clarity into my life. Two books. Two books is all it took. I’ve got a long way to go to get where I’d like to be. But, I can see the road ahead of me now. This is education at it’s finest. My new found education has, and will continue to, significantly improve the quality of my life. Since stumbling upon 4HWW and now half way through the 4HB, I’ve been telling everybody, “you have got to read these books!”

    In my opinion, education is the most powerful, most thoughtful gift you can give to anyone. Across the entire globe, education trumps all. You can teach kindness and compassion. You can teach a man to fish. You can teach civilizations to live together in peace. Education is just that powerful. Unfortunately, education doesn’t always reach the people who need it most. I am just some lucky jack ass that stumbled upon these books and your teachings. I am very grateful for this. But as this program points out, there are millions who are not as fortunate. To be able to give back in some small way, to make a small difference for someone less fortunate is the least that I can do.

    I have posted a link on my Facebook and will make a small donation of $50.00 this Saturday after I receive my paycheck. It’s the least I can do for such a great cause.

    Thank you for sharing this program Tim. And, thank you for generously sharing your education with the rest of us. It’s made a difference for so many. Let’s continue the goodness!!!


  75. Tim,

    Another inspirational post, how could I not donate!?

    What education means to me: Education is the necessary means for improving your own life and the lives of those who are important to you. Education unlocks information, money, and most importantly freedom to direct your own life.

    I posted a link on facebook, tweeted it, and did a blog post on two of my websites. I don’t know how many people that reaches, but it’s quite a few. I have also been spreading the word around my work, and there are quite a few interested, generous engineer types here, so hopefully that money goal will be history in no time!


  76. Tim,

    First off, happy birthday good sir. Second, thank you for laying out some baby steps for us on this project, as usual. It’s nice to have a linear checklist of items to cross off. FINALLY, thank you for this opportunity and for making service to others a top priority of yours. Very impressed and grateful for that.

    I’ll be pondering what education means to me, and answer accordingly.

  77. Hi Tim, Happy Birthday – I donated $50. Someone mentioned they would prefer to donate directly and not select a student – that could be a nice option, but I enjoyed seeing the different students and their goals. In the end, I just chose a random student because it was too hard to pick among all the worthy goals. It’s also pretty humbling to think that an amount of money that is not that huge, in Western terms, can make such a big difference in different parts of the world. It’s nice to connect all of us like this so we can help one another on a global scale.

  78. Education and travel…now THERE’S the way to open the door of possibility in one’s life.

    With education, the imagination grows and begins to ask more questions. We become curious as we learn, wondering about other parts of the world and how to connect to greater ideas. With travel, we quickly get an education on many things at once, like culture, safety, navigation, languages, values. Education has been the fuel to my sparks of curiosity. It’s led me to figure out how to live the life of my dreams…and now how to teach others to do the same. Education gives one the ability to consider alternatives, to make comparisons and then to make choices in life rather than react to life.

    Sharing this via emails to friends and my Facebook page right now until I can think of something more clever. 🙂

    Thank you for using your influence to make a difference. Thank you for being a demonstration of what’s possible with focus, intention and motivation.

    Happy birthday, T.

  79. Love what you’re doing! I’ve been looking for ways to contribute and supporting education seems perfect. I’m interested in finding out what kind of interest rate the borrowers are required to pay for their loans.

  80. Very cool post Tim… Happy Birthday.

    Education, in my experience is the daily experience of living. Adding intention to it, like the students listed in the Vittana site have … i believe their constructive eduction makes the entire world a better place. One moment at a time.

  81. Tim,

    What you’re doing is very nice; it’s great that you’re willing to share some of your wealth and success with others, but c’mon, shouldn’t charity start at home?

    There are plenty of under privileged students in US–just think of all the major cities to start with. Also, we have plenty of students that are recent grads who are drowning in student load debt. What’s worse, many of them can’t find a decent job due to the tough economy.

    Then there’s the folks who are in school but are only taking a few credits per semester or are quitting because they’re stuck working 30-40 hour weeks at crap jobs to pay for it all instead of focusing on that degree.

    It’s great to help people in other countries solve their problems, but don’t you think we should clean our own closet out first before we clean the closets of others???

    Anyway, keep the great posts and info coming!

  82. Thanks for being such an inspiration Tim! I will be turning 35 myself quite soon and I appreciate your leadership: This year, I won’t be worrying about getting older or asking for gifts. Giving back, living in the moment and making my unique contribution to the world is the best gift I could ever hope to get. Pretty Hope Martin will be getting my support and I let all my facebook friends in on Vittana. Thanks again!

  83. Tim thank you for inspiring me to be a part of this great opportunity. I would not have found this on my own because I wasn’t looking for it. And that would have been tragic because I would have missed my chance to help change the life of a student. Thanks again rock star!

  84. Happy Birthday Tim!

    Enjoyed your 4 Hr Workweek and Body books. You always make me think – now if I could just come up with a million-dollar idea!

    I do have a recurring thought though. Like you, I love to travel and have been lucky to see various parts of the world. I’ve seen poverty and misery, different religions and dress and women walking miles for water. Tears at my heart. What makes me equally sad though is the way OUR country is slipping in education (and other areas). I worry for the future of our grandchildren. Will they have the future and opportunities we’ve had? Our country’s infrastructure is getting old and too many kids can’t spell.

    It is very neat that celebrities and folks like yourself are helping poor African/Asian/other nation’s children to get an education and improve their lives. I’m not downplaying international adoption and assistance as a positive thing. But, how about matching a dollar for abroad with a dollar for the USA? Particularly to tutor or get kids into math and science and off any form of public assistance.

    Since I read your emails and thoughts and have bought two of your books I don’t think it is asking too much to ask you to personally read this. (I know you have to have help sorting through all the mail you must get.)

    Woud love to hear about what you might have done domestically…Big brothers and Sisters, a camp like Tiger Woods Summer Academy? A local restauranteur here in Anaheim, California makes dinners for kids who don’t have a home and wouldn’t eat otherwise. Bruno Serato serves 300 free dinners to homeless motel kids every night. I’m sure they need help with education and other areas too. Tim, your email has inspired me to send him a donation. Not what you asked for I know. But my birthday is in a few weeks and so I’ll do it as a gift to myself. Will send it with both our names.

    If you wanted to send him a check too and say it’s from me too that would be okay 🙂

    Best wishes and congratulations on your success!

  85. Education is critical to our nation and the world…I used loans to get through school and it took me years to repay them…and I’m still working on others but I am glad that I can help today. I worked 7 different jobs at the same time to get through school. It took me longer but I made it…now I am hoping to impact the world by creating a new approach to healthcare and living.

    The returns of an education are so far reaching that they can never be measured. I posted on FB, sent emails and challenged my friends to make loans and donations as well.

    I chose to support Rosbita Mariana Aguilar Céspedes with a loan and donation, I wish you well Rosbita!

    Thanks for thinking of others on your birthday Tim!

  86. Inspired. Music – I know that saved me (heart and soul). Inspired by El Sistema – I invited Stanford Thompsen to Philadelphia – requesting that he bring a version of this TED award winning program here. He walked with me and a retired music teacher through where I live in the “hood” of North Philadelphia.. He said yes..and that he would provide everything – teachers, funding… His program started in Philadelphia and completed its second year at school called St. Francis in West Philadelphia – promised that he will be city wide in another year with a award he received in May for more teachers. Education – is everything – education that satisfy’s the soul (music) and provides meaning, community, and compassion is priceless.

    Thank you Tim – your work expands the space that I have to contribute to others, sometimes by connecting them with resources (like this example) or simply that I have time to volunteer, water trees, and encourage others to contribute. A (joyously unemployed for 3.5 years – home paid for, a sustaining passive income (roommates) – volunteer hours – more than 80 days last year). Artist – joyously living simply… Thank you for expanding the beautiful simple life. [currently traveling in Bay Area – $5.00 round trip + whatever it costs for milk shakes and bread pudding at Tartine – keeping travel within grocery budget). That trip – on wish list – would like to hang with Dali or go to Nepal..and go to Paris so when others ask if I have been I can say yes..instead of “no” – which is Annoying. “Happy Birthday….” and of course visit friends – and am photographing a wedding in Budapest next August..that would be perfect… Maybe I can sell a painting or Barter for Miles for …All of it….Laughter… Thank you for creating a space where I can show others how to also live a life they love. You (and that) is a Blessing. 🙂

  87. Check sent.

    Happy Birthday Tim!

    Enjoyed your 4 Hr Workweek and Body books. You always make me think – now if I could just come up with a million-dollar idea!

    I do have a recurring thought though. Like you, I love to travel and have been lucky to see various parts of the world. I’ve seen poverty and misery, different religions and dress and women walking miles for water. Tears at my heart. What makes me equally sad though is the way OUR country is slipping in education (and other areas). I worry for the future of our grandchildren. Will they have the future and opportunities we’ve had? Our country’s infrastructure is getting old and too many kids can’t spell.

    It is very neat that celebrities and folks like yourself are helping poor African/Asian/other nation’s children to get an education and improve their lives. I’m not downplaying international adoption and assistance as a positive thing. But, how about matching a dollar for abroad with a dollar for the USA this time too? Particularly to tutor or get kids into math and science and off any form of public assistance.

    Since I read your emails and thoughts and have bought two of your books I don’t think it is asking too much to ask you to personally read this. (I know you have to have help sorting through all the mail you must get.)

    Woud love to hear about what else you might have done domestically…Big brothers and Sisters, a camp like Tiger Woods Summer Academy? A local restauranteur here in Anaheim, California makes dinners for kids who don’t have a home and wouldn’t eat otherwise. Bruno Serato serves 300 free dinners to homeless motel kids every night. Tim, your email has inspired me to send him a donation. Not what you asked for I know. But my birthday is in a few weeks and so I’ll do it as a gift to myself. Will send it with both our names.

    If you wanted to send him a check too and say it’s from me too that would be okay 🙂

    Best wishes and congratulations on your success!

  88. I love that the Kiva model is being applied to student loans! Thanks for bringing this organization to my attention.

    I saw firsthand the positive effects that even basic education can have on the lives of children when I took a trip to La Chureca in Nicaragua to do some volunteer work with an amazing organization called Lacrosse the Nations ( The juxtaposition of the lives of the children who attended the Hope School vs those who did not showed me just how much of an effect the institution of school can have on the lives of a child. Rather than spend their days searching for glue to huff in the trash dump, these kids were laughing, playing and learning.

    I can only hope that all of the kids I worked with have the opportunity to receive further education and help themselves and their families out of the most extreme poverty I have witnesses.

    To promote this campaign I have shared it with:

    -My business is offering $15 discounts to any customer that sends a copy of their Vittana receipt- we promoted this to our 1366 people that like our facebook page plus paid to promote it to an additional 400 friends of our fans + I promoted a post to my 1133 personal facebook friends with the same offer

    -376 of my business’s twitter followers

    -My company’s email marketing will include the Vittana deal mentioned above + we will advertise the promotion on our site (30 unique visits/day)

    -Promoted to my 148 personal twitter followers

    -10 (and counting) family members via email

    Small contributions from a small business owner, but its nice to take comfort in the aggregate power of all of the small influencers on this site!