Grace Zhang's Blog

What $5 Means.

“Less than one percent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn’t happen.” (

Dear Givology community,

Hello! Allow me to introduce myself as Grace Zhang, a random girl in Bentonville, Arkansas. I just graduated from Bentonville High School this past May, and when August rolls around, I’ll renew my pursuit of academic enlightenment at Yale University. In the short time in between, though, I’m lucky (and delighted!) to be joining you as a Givology development intern. :)

Why do I consider myself lucky? You’ve probably already imagined most of the reasons. To start with, at least for this summer, I'm able to work toward a mission I believe in, with an organization I admire. In another vein of thought, you can assume that I'll have breakfast, lunch, and dinner today, tomorrow, the day after that...will the 2.6 billion people living on less than $2 per day? (World Bank) Hopefully, you’ve also noticed that I’m here, reading, writing, and revising this post--while 785 million adults around the world are illiterate--and who knows how many children. (CIA World Factbook)

What you might not guess, though, is that I’m lucky to even exist. I owe my life to education--my parents' education.

Both my parents grew up in China during the Cultural Revolution—a difficult place and era. By the time my mom was 8 years, she was cooking meals for her entire family, and soon lugging coal by herself, the entire two- or three-mile journey home. Later, in order to help support my grandparents, she waitressed sixteen hours a day instead of attending high school.

My dad’s childhood was similarly challenging. First thing in the morning, he exhausted himself feeding livestock and sowing rice in the fields; at night, he often studied into the early morning. A village boy, my dad rarely saw the wonders—and never had the opportunities—of the city. Yet somehow, as if by miracle, both he and my mom managed to attend college.

Their education has made all the difference. It was only because my parents succeeded in college, that they were able to immigrate to the United States. And it was only because they immigrated to the US, that I’m alive. You see, as a second child, I couldn’t have even been born under China’s one-child policy. Today, though, I have much more than just existence. Rather, I can…browse Facebook, learn calculus, eat Italian food, watch “Inception,” go shopping…I have so many more opportunities than my parents could have dreamed of.

Of course, I’m not criticizing China’s one-child policy (I actually support it), and I know my parents’ stories are neither the most unique nor the most difficult. Their journeys prove to me, however, that life paths can change—and that education is the best way to create change.

I support Givology because it makes it so easy to create this change. What could be simpler than a few clicks of your mouse? More importantly, though, Givology is transparent. You know exactly what impact your donation makes, and you know exactly how much it takes to make a tangible impact—just $5. So what does $5 for you? A bowl of spaghetti, perhaps a pair of sunglasses if you’re lucky. But what does $5 mean for someone across the world?

As I prepare to start the rest of my internship (this is only day 2 for me), I’ll leave you with a quote from one of my favorite bloggers, Mindy Zhang: “Though it was a small gesture to him, it impacted the direction of my life…Give what you can. Making a huge difference in someone else’s life only takes a pinch of generosity.”

Thanks for reading! Expect to hear more from me in the coming days. :)


Grace Zhang

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