Everything started in June 2009. Ever since we were in school, I and my twin brother Felipe have looked for a way to create something help others, to make a fairer world. As our birthday was approaching, we knew that we didn't want gifts or other material things. I called my brother and I suggested that for our birthdays, we should ask our guests to make donations to nonprofit organizations, instead of giving us something.

Felipe thought the name Regala Tu Cumpleaños, or Give Your Birthday. We created a website, designed by Magdalena Tagle, and invited friends to participate who shared our social concerns. The birthday party was a success, with most of the donations going to help the elderly.

We quickly realized that we might build an organization based on this idea, and we joined forces with Roland Matthei, who became a member of the team and the executive director the organization. The idea is simple: We help the birthday boy or girl to…

  • choose an nonprofit organization, foundation, church, or community from the list on our site;
  • send an email to contacto@regalatucumple.cl with the location, date and time of your birthday celebration; the name of the charity organization; and a (optionally) a personal picture to appear on the invitation;
  • send an invitation that we design for you, which includes a suggested list of gifts for the organizations you selected;
  • collect the gifts together after your birthday, and together we deliver them to the organization (you can invite all your friends and relatives to come as well!);
  • upload an inventory of gifts received to our website. 

The list of gifts is very diverse and varied: non-perishable food items for babies; cooking implements; grant shares; classes; medical care, and more, depending on the resources of the guest. There are times when birthday boys or girls decide to help cover the basic costs of the organization, such as electricity or water consumption.

Currently, we have helped about ten organization and given them about fifty birthday gifts, generating new support for each one. People of all ages have participated and helped create bridges between many people. This project shares its values with our nonprofit organization, called TRASPASA, which means "Transfer." Our mission is "to provide to the people differents ways to transfer the excess of goods and resources that everyone misspends daily–in others words, we wants to cooperate in the redistribution of wealth–material, intellectual and spiritual–from the areas of highest concentration to those with the lowest concentration, looking for necessary balance and sustainable development."

In the future, we hope to grow beyond our national network in Chile, to work with many other countries (starting with Ecuador, whose president we will soon be meeting). We plan to incorporate a platform to donate money online and develop a range of other projects beyond birthdays, so that guests can be invited to make donations through marriage, Christmas, and anniversary celebrations. "This is not just a great idea," said a guest at one of our parties. "It is a discovery."

Francisco Santa Maria


Francisco Santa Maria

Francisco Santa Maria and his twin brother Felipe launched the website Regala Tu Cumpleaños--or Give Your Birthday, www.regalatucumple.cl, which tries to redistribute wealth--material, intellectual and spiritual--from the areas of highest