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Couple donates half of income every year to treat world health

At 10 years old, Julia Wise put $20 in the collection box at church, and hours later her mother received a call notifying her about what she had done.

When her mom asked if she meant to do that, Wise replied that she already had a great life and wanted to give others that same opportunity — and 20 years later, she's doing just that.

Wise, 30, a social worker, and her husband, Jeff Kaufman, 29, a computer programmer, have given away half their income to charity every year since 2008, a year before they got married.

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"We have what we need, so it makes sense to share with people," Wise told TODAY.com.

Courtesy of Jeff Kaufman
Julia Wise and Jeff Kaufman

The couple, who lives in Boston, have given away a total of $400,000 so far and plan to continue giving half every year that they can.

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"At some point, the total will get to half a million and then 1 million, which will be very exciting to witness," Wise said.

In 2013, they made a combined $245,000, and only lived off $15,280, excluding taxes and savings, which was 6.25 percent of their income.

At the beginning of every year, they sit down and set up their annual budget. The meeting has now become routine, but the first year didn't go exactly as planned. They forgot about taxes, which threw off their goals, but now they've got it down to a science.

During these meetings, they also pick out which charities to give to based on recommendations from GiveWell, a nonprofit that performs in-depth charity assessments. They frequently donate to organizations that help fight diseases in developing countries, such as the Against Malaria Foundation.

Wise and Kaufman try to instill the same values in their 1-year-old daughter, Lily, and plan to do the same to their baby on the way.

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"We hope that she'll grow up thinking this is a normal part of life," Wise said. "We don't see what we do as extreme. It's become the norm and we hope she also sees helping other people as a part of life."

Courtesy of Anna Riedl
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