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Donor spotlight: meet Bill

Grace Garey by Grace Garey  •  posted 4 years ago in story

Last week, Bill Boulden, a New York DJ with 17,654 Twitter followers, started tweeting about Watsi.

We reached out to him to find out what he likes about Watsi, and he had some pretty amazing stuff to say.

1. How did you first hear about Watsi?

I first heard about Watsi through the Y Combinator blog.

2. What made you donate on Watsi versus another donation platform/charity?

There are several things that makes giving to Watsi more fulfilling than the average charitable cause. Putting a face on it always helps, for sure; I also like how I can be confident none of the money is being wasted. When I am asked to give money to a charity that I see running advertisements or employing outreach people, I understand the necessity of that, but it makes me painfully aware that some of my money is going back to ad placements and gas mileage and more. Totally unavoidable but quite regrettable. Where Watsi really stole my heart was with the knowledge that 100% of my contribution is going directly to the problem with no auxiliary costs.

3. What was your favorite thing about donating to a patient on Watsi?

Knowing that due to the imbalance of the power of currency around the world, my trivial dollars here are life-changing dollars there. It is unfortunate that we live in such a world where the relative worth of a dollar varies so radically across the globe, that a flavor shot in your cappucino here is a family’s dinner elsewhere; and yet, that is what makes Watsi work and is so enticing. Contrast…ten couples here have to skip Applebee’s for a night, that somewhere else, actual BLINDNESS or DEAFNESS or DISABILITY is cured. I can not see a more wonderful exchange.

4. Do you have a reason to care especially about health issues?

No, I actually don’t! Health is one of the most important things in life but other issues are important too. I could see giving to a cause for other purposes as long as it was still as transparent, honest, and straightforward as Watsi.

5. Where do you hope to see Watsi in 5 years?

I would like to see Watsi, in five years, having introduced such a sweeping change in how we understand healthcare in underdeveloped countries that it is less necessary than it is today. I would hope for a world where multiculturalism, understanding, and goodwill towards fellow man has continued to increase, as it has for all the second half of the 20th century and onward, to continually lessen the need for such treatments. Five years is perhaps not a reasonable timeframe; in five years I would simply like to see Watsi bigger. But in fifty? I’m a dreamer.

6. If you could tell one thing to a Watsi patient you’ve supported, what would it be?

“I’m sorry that this world is unfair and that who you came out of, in this lottery, which human being you were born to and in what part of the world, could so drastically change the rules for your health care. I am sorry that I was lucky enough to come out of the womb of an upper-middle-class American mother in a community where I wanted for very little, and when I had bad eyes and appendicitis and colon problems and my brother was attacked by an animal, these things were all fixed for us at a trivial cost, but because you, while every inch as equally valid as a human being as I am, came out in an underdeveloped community in a more remote part of the world, fixing these same things for you is months or years of reasonable wages, if available at all. That isn’t fair. I don’t know what I did right and you did wrong to have it be like this. But Watsi has made it possible for me to sacrifice almost nothing, so that you can be restored of elements of your health that are worth almost everything.”

7. Where do you live?

I live in Buffalo, New York. Born & raised.

8. What do you do for work?

I am by day a Level 3 Senior Engineer & Project Manager at an Internet Advertising firm in Buffalo. I develop and manage systems for efficiently serving billions of advertisements across the net every week, as well the user interfaces and financial systems that support them.

9. What are your passions, hobbies, or interests outside of work?

Music. I am a part-time singer/songwriter/producer/recording engineer/independent record label/DJ called Spruke, based out of Buffalo, where I make upbeat & introspective synthpop as well as some nerdcore rap. Magic: the Gathering. See the abovementioned nerdcore rap 😉

Racquetball. It’s like clown tennis! All the fun of other racquet sports but given to crazy plays and sometimes absurd things can happen.

Meeting people with experiences very different from my own so that I can fully appreciate how many different ways there are to live this life.

10. What inspires you?

Thinking about how crazy it is that we are all here in the first place and what we are supposed to do with this “existence” stuff that’s been thrust upon us, so simultaneously rudely & wonderfully.

11. Words to live by?

The quote I live my life by is “Be the greatest possible version of yourself you can envision.” I take this to mean, if I could close my eyes, and redesign myself like I had God’s photoshop paintbrush, what would that person be like? Then you know what it is you want to do with your life that day! My perfect me enjoys the simpler things in life like the company of friends, does not need so much of his own when others have so little, is understanding and respectful of other people’s experiences in this world, and maybe makes the world a better place by contributing beauty in the form of music that some people might appreciate. I can never be that person because we are all human and imperfect, yet now I know what it is that I need to shoot for. I can try, and, in failing, be a better person than I was before. And Watsi helps with half of those elements of the imagined “greatest me.”

Why do you Watsi? We’d love to know! Shoot an email to connect@watsi.org to tell us why.


Grace Garey

Connecting people. Watsi cofounder.