This was the question we asked of more than 130 kids in Uganda, from rural villages to the sprawling capital city Kampala. The kids responded with drawings of what they would buy if they had $50. Each drawing and portrait of the children was sold for $50 on the 50dollars.org website and the $50 Exhibition in New York City. All proceeds benefit the Circle of Peace School, a grassroots school that provides high quality education to these kids, many of whom are AIDS orphans.
In 2010, I visited the Circle of Peace School in Kampala with Joyce Meng, the founder of Givology, a nonprofit giving marketplace. Together we created the campaign, conducted interviews, and took portraits of each child. Once back in New York, I designed the branding, packaging, web site, and campaign video. Working with Givology volunteers, I organized the $50 Exhibition in New York City. Through the web campaign and exhibition we successfully raised over $10,000 for the Peace School. Over 100,000 people visited the website.
Following the exhibition, I delivered the purchases to each New York buyer to thank them personally.
Web of the Day
Flavorpill | New York, NY
New York Times web feature
New York Times | New York, NY
Uganda: What would you buy with $50?
"What would you buy with $50" is a question rarely asked of the kids I lived with in Uganda. It is rare because charity organizations tend to go to Uganda to give out things without ever asking what people would buy for themselves if they had the money. In Uganda, $50 can provide everyday expenses and education to a child for a whole year. In a child's mind, it can buy alligators, a flight to New York City, banana tree, and many other things they have dreamed of.
Each drawing and portrait for $50
Each drawing/portrait is designed with a $50 tag, which provides information on the young artist and the campaign.
New York City: $50 Exhibition
The $50 Exhibition gave New Yorkers a chance to see all of the drawings and portraits up close, and get to know each of the Ugandan kids through their art and stories. A register was set up at the front of the gallery for attendees to purchase a drawing or portrait on the spot. Each drawing and portrait was numbered. Buyers filled out an order form with the number of the drawing marked. Volunteers walked around the gallery to mark sold drawings and assist in the purchase process.
The exhibition ran from March 23 to April 1, 2010 in Tribeca, New York City. Guest attendees included the Ugandan Mission to the United Nations and The American Ugandan Association of Greater New York. Opening night attracted over 300 guests.