Birthday bash benefits efforts to improve water worldwide

Social media queen Amy Jo Martin is throwing herself a birthday party.

It will be at the trendy downtown bar Commonwealth on Sunday . Martin, founder of Digital Royalty, one of the first companies to receive backing from the Downtown Project’s Vegas Tech Fund, is inviting the whole city to help her turn 34.

In lieu of presents, Martin wants you to buy yourself a drink.

When you purchase from a special Commonwealth drink menu, $1 from every drink will be donated to Charity:Water, a nonprofit dedicated to providing clean drinking water to the world. Donations will be taken at the door, too, in an effort to help Charity: Water dig water wells in impoverished areas.

“I’m giving up my birthday,” says Martin, who told her family to donate to Charity:Water instead of buying her birthday gifts.

Martin, who moved to Las Vegas in 2012, became involved with Charity:Water when she was doing social media for Tony Hsieh’s book launch of “Delivering Happiness” a couple of years ago.

The story of Charity:Water and its founder, a former nightlife guru from New York, struck a chord with Martin. It is an exciting, results-oriented charity that she could easily support, she says.

In April, Martin traveled to villages in Ethiopia to learn more about the charity and its operations. She was there as a well was finished; residents welcomed the event with joyous celebrations.

“I went over to really learn more and better understand how the beneficiaries live,” Martin says of her trip.

She discovered that women are often tasked with fetching water for their families and villages. Their water supply is sometimes miles away and they must walk, carrying the water in containers. They compete with animals that drink from the same water supply, too. These villages usually lack the resources necessary for sterilizing their water and, as a result, they experience a high illness and mortality rate caused by water-borne parasites.

Her five-day trip was inspiring but it was the children who made a lasting impression on Martin.

“These kids have been sick most all of their lives. They don’t know what it’s like to not be sick,” Martin says. “It just makes you think about the power of clean water.”

Martin’s party starts at 7 p.m. and runs through 11 p.m. Those who can’t attend can still help, she says. Commonwealth will offer the charity drink menu through August.

The goal is to raise enough to dig one well, $10,000. To help achieve that, Martin has recruited friends to be Well Diggers, who will contribute to a fund every time someone tweets the hashtag “#CommonWell” through September.

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