9-year-old girl’s charity legacy tops $1 million

/ Source: msnbc.com

Little did she know it, but Rachel Beckwith is leaving behind a $1 million-plus legacy for charity.

The Bellevue girl's mission was to raise $300 by her ninth birthday to supply clean water to poor African villagers. She fell a little bit short, and then her life was ended suddenly by a car accident.

But friends, church members and total strangers from around the world picked up where she left off after news of her birthday wish spread after her death. On Friday, Rachel's fundraising campaign on charitywater.org surpassed the $1 million mark.

"We're thrilled with the response," Sarah Cohen, communications manager for charity: water, told the Seattle Times. "It's the largest fundraising campaign in our history by far."

The nonprofit organization works to bring clean drinking water to people in developing nations.

Rachel was about $80 short of her $300 goal when she turned 9 in June. On July 20, she was injured in a multi-vehicle crash on Interstate-90 in Bellevue; she died three days later.

Word of her selfless fundraising campaign was picked up by local and national media outlets after the tragedy, inspiring tens of thousands of donors — most of them strangers — to give to her cause.

"For the inspiring little girl with the biggest heart," wrote one anonymous donor who pledged $25.

"In honor of Rachel's memory, the great values she lived for and best wishes to her family for keeping her dream alive. Lot's of love all the way from Norway," wrote another donor, Hannah Walle HUnter, who gave $50.

"Rachel's 9th Birthday Wish" fundraising campaign will continue for 49 more days, according to charity: water.