campaign:Bread for Water campaign goal:$1,700 has been fundraising since: February 9, 2012 mission statement: “The Maher Kids will be selling tasty homemade bread to benefit charity: water this Lent. Help us help others.”
Hard work and creativity — those are the ingredients that the Maher kids put into the home-made bread business they started to help bring clean water to people in developing nations! Sam (11), Imani (8), Grace (8) and Isaac (7) have become a successful business team, even creating a Powerpoint presentation and a logo. They’ve been baking and selling bread for a couple months now, so we checked in with their mom Michelle to hear how things are going:
What first caught your attention about the water crisis?
We have seen first-hand the devastation that unclean water can cause. Children in impoverished countries face more struggles than we can imagine. Isaac’s story in particular made that very real for us. For a parasite to rob his developing body of what few nutrients it was receiving was a travesty. The global water crisis has far-reaching effects in the areas of health, hygiene, education and economics. In that regard, it can seem daunting. On the other hand, like many problems in developing countries, we are aware of the solutions and are able to help.
How did the kids end up starting the campaign?
We raise our kids with strong Christian values. Of all the teachings they receive at home, church or school — the idea that they should serve others every chance they get is paramount. charity: water is a perfect way for our kids to get involved and serve others. They did a much smaller Christmas campaign a few years ago and it was very rewarding for them to receive an update last summer of the water project completed with their money.
The campaign raised more than the original goal — did that surprise you?
This campaign has been amazing! They originally set their goal at $300, which I thought was ambitious. We are now over $1,600. I seriously thought people would give us $3-5 for a loaf of bread the first few weeks, then things would die down. We have had people we barely know moved to tears, writing $100 checks. We have had a strong contingent of friends, also very generous with donations, placing regular orders multiple times each week. One week alone we filled 40 orders of bread and cinnamon rolls! The demand for bread has surprised me for sure. More than that, however, the supply of love and support for the cause has astonished me.
What do they do to help with the campaign?
The Maher Kids have surprised me too! I honestly thought their enthusiasm would decline early on. On the contrary, they are just as eager as they were on the first day. Grace asked if we could do this “all year-long!!” Their diligence has also surprised me. Sam, the oldest, has taken on the role of business manager. He takes all orders, responds to all e-mails, and developed the Powerpoint. Grace and Imani, our marketing department, designed our logos and are always thinking of ways to promote the campaign. Grace, Imani, and Isaac write individual thank you tags to accompany each order and all four children try to be present for all deliveries.
In the kids’ words:
I want to bring clean water to people so they can be happy and healthy. Maybe we can change the whole world and maybe everybody will be happy. – Imani
I want to bring clean water to people because water is one of the most important things in the world. A lot of people need clean water and don’t have it. We should help people because we are lucky and the people we are helping are not as lucky. – Sam
I want to help charity: water so people won’t get sick from tummy bugs from dirty water from rivers. – Isaac
I want to give people clean water so they can play and have fun and be healthy. – Grace
Sell homemade bread, run a 5K, give up soda — you can do anything to fundraise for clean water! Get started here >
William and Tori are getting married! On Easter Sunday, their campaign to get engaged reached $5,000 and he popped the question. The couple had made a decision to do things a little differently: instead of a romantic dinner and walk on the beach, William and Tori challenged themselves to raise 5K for a well before they could get engaged. On Sunday they reached their goal and Tori said yes!
William’s video of the proposal
William told us about the proposal…
It’s a strange feeling because it was just as nerve-racking as I thought it would be, while also feeling like it was nothing at all. I guess we had always been so confident in God leading us together that it never really felt like much of a surprise to either of us. I think I was more nervous because I knew that there were people around who would be seeing it! I did feel bad that I wasn’t able to get her more of an engagement-like ring or that I couldn’t really get her any flowers — but at the same time, we both felt extremely blessed to be able to get engaged on Easter Sunday!
We had never imagined that God would allow things to happen that way. It looks like God was in a hurry to make sure it would happen on Resurrection Day, so that kind of made the lack of a better ring or flowers not so important.
I didn’t even know what to say! It didn’t cross my mind to have to come up with the perfect speech that would express just how special Tori was to me, but at the end of the day, I don’t think either of us will really remember too many details about what was said. Most people will probably just remember how she cried (I shouldn’t say I love it when she cries… but it is terribly cute!)
So, it wasn’t the glamorous movie proposal that I had always wanted to do for her. But I think we understand that getting engaged is only partially about us, and hugely about living the rest of our lives, together, for God.
campaign:Getting Engaged Changes Everything raised so far: $2,650 campaign goal:$5,000 has been fundraising since: March 27, 2012 mission statement: “We’ve known for a while that we wanted to get married, but the big question remained: When? Our goal is to raise $5,000 — the average price it costs to dig, build & maintain a well that will impact hundreds of people! The day we meet that goal will be the day that I propose to Tori! So, will you help us get engaged?”
William and Tori won’t get engaged until they raise $5,000 for a well. People have done some crazy things to raise money for charity: water, but we’ve never met anyone courageous enough to leave such an important milestone up to a bunch of strangers. We spotted William and Tori’s awesome mycharity: water campaign a few days ago, and they’ve already raised more than $2,500 towards their 5K goal.
In William’s words:
For us, being able to help others has always been something we wanted to do! After we both graduated from college, we started working and earning money. We wondered if we could help people in need, so we always wanted to work for places like World Vision. For me, I even wanted to work for charity: water! But life gets in the way sometimes — though we’ve had this heart to help people, it didn’t come easily.
This time around, God worked in our hearts a little differently. It was slowly feeling like the time was coming when I had to pop the big question and we talked about it. We started with the typical wants and dreams of what our engagement and wedding should look like. I was challenged by those who gave up entire weddings for charity: water and imagined myself in their shoes… how awesome would that be? It was just a passing thought at the time, but I shared it with Tori. Months later, she came to me and told me how she didn’t like the idea of spending money on getting a ring when we could use that money to do something bigger.
William made this video to thank people for their
support. See William’s second video here >
Coincidently, while I was enjoying the clean water in our apartment during a shower, it struck me that it only takes charity: water $5000 to fund a water project. Half-jokingly and half-nervously, I proposed the idea to my girlfriend. I wanted to use this campaign as a way for us to pick the date we get engaged. She acknowledged my fears and we both thought it might be too ambitious for us because, well, who were we to want to do something like this? Within days I found myself putting together a little brochure to share our dream with our friends and family. By the time she saw that, she pretty much assumed we were going for it.
So we did! And here we are.
What’s surprised you about this whole process?
Everything. The way that God let me come across charity: water while watching TV on Hulu. How Scott’s story really hit home with my vision of cultural mission work. How the response from our friends has been so positive. How the response from complete strangers has been in some ways even more positive. How we’ve caught the eye of the organization itself! And especially just how fast the funds have been coming in… I guess God really wants us to hurry up with this whole marriage thing.
It’s been amazing and extremely humbling to see how God has been working to do such an amazing thing, despite how we are complete nobodies. How could we deny that His hand is with us?
What could be better than fundraising for clean water? These guys would probably tell you it’s fighting the global water crisis while being out on the water! We have not one, but two awesome campaigns that are making a splash to give people clean drinking water.
campaign:Paddle for Wells raising the money: Josh Tart raised so far: $2,185 campaign goal:$5,000 mission statement: “I’m paddling 6,000 miles for clean water. Help me raise $5,000 in the next three months to give clean water access to 250 people!”
Growing up around canoeing and kayaking, Josh gained a passion for being on the water. After college, he decided to combine his passion for water sports with his desire to bring people clean water — now he’s kayaking 6,000 miles around the eastern U.S. and Canada! We talked with Josh to get a little insight into his campaign and his experiences as he paddles for clean water:
How did you first get started fighting the water crisis?
I’ve been to really remote places, Peru and Guatemala, and I’ve kinda seen some of the water that people drink firsthand. Somebody told me about charity: water a month before I started the trip. I followed Scott and charity: water on Twitter. I was really impressed with how y’all manage the money that you receive and just how you show people what you do. I was coming out of my junior year of college and was thinking of something adventuresome to do. I actually put paddling for a cause and the water crisis together last March, then I opened up my campaign officially at the beginning of January.
Josh gives the rundown on food and cooking.
What did you do to prepare everything for
There was a lot of preparation to get the right camping gear, fishing gear and all that stuff. When I first started it was just, “what do I think I need and what I know I need?” That’s changed as the trip goes. This is a learning experience. I’ve been making changes to my system. I’ve narrowed it down to the things I really need and what’s important.
Are you logging miles daily?
I’ll sit down and I’ll look at my maps at the beginning of the week. I’ll pick out a point and plot out all the mileage. If I’m re-supplying or meeting somebody, I’ll pick out that point and I’ll just make that my goal. Every day when I wake up — I gotta do at least this many miles. I’m paddling about five or six days and then I’ll stop for a day or two and rest and re-supply. The longest consecutive days of mileage I think was ten or eleven days. Sometimes strangers put me up with a place to sleep, something to eat. I had my kind of routine originally with camping, but every stop is a different experience.
What have been some interesting points about the campaign?
Some people just think I’m absolutely crazy. Some people just fall in love with the idea. I’ve had numerous people telling me that they’re really jealous, that they’ve always thought about just setting off and doing something like this. I do everything from my phone. I get an email that says “you’ve had another donation.” Whenever I see that, I just get really excited. The whole idea of helping people get clean water is what motivated me to do this trip, so it’s really nice to see success.
What have you learned from doing this campaign?
I learned a lot about myself and I’ve had a lot of time by myself alone with my thoughts. I’ve met thousands of people at this point and the absolute coolest part of this trip was seeing how hospitable people are. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had people give me a bed for the night or just do all kinds of stuff for me. I’ve had many people tell me from looking at my blog, “it’s refreshing to see that there’s still good people in America.” I’ve learned so much so far and I’ve still got a lot to go. I’m not even halfway yet. I have a spot tracker on my blog which is a GPS on my kayak that transmits, so you can follow me in real time.
“The idea of helping people get clean water is what motivated me to do this trip, so it’s really nice to see success.”
I’ve really been impressed with how charity: water runs things and the accountability that they have with money that’s donated. That’s why I’ve been really excited about fundraising with them. It’s very cool and a very educational experience. My current campaign ends March 31 and my goal by then is to raise five-thousand dollars. I’m hoping to finish by October, so I’ll be paddling until then.
Update: Josh is continuing to paddle his kayak for clean water. You can donate to his new Paddle for Wells – Atlantic campaign here >
campaign:Bridge to Bridge raising the money: Tim, Clay and Isaac raised so far: $300 campaign goal:$5,000 mission statement: “We love film, athletics, and just about everything in between, but we know unless you’re doing something positive to improve or change the world for the better then what’s the point really. To that end, we want to utilize the notoriety, and a significant portion of the proceeds, from the film, to generate and promote an organization we love called charity: water.”
On the other coast, Tim and Clay are paddle boarding in California and they’re filming a documentary of their dangerous endeavor! They plan to donate some of the proceeds of the film in addition to funds raised by their campaign. Clay and Tim shared some of their thoughts with us:
So, Tim, how did you hear about the water crisis?
I lived the water crisis. I spent the last two years living in Mozambique. For four of those months, the apartment building we were living in did not have running water. My wife and I carried water bottles every day to our apartment from a local water tank. It was very difficult. We filtered the water every day with ceramic water filters, but fell ill many times, even though the water we were consuming was filtered. Many of the local neighborhoods have hand-dug wells that are not very deep and therefore full of bacteria and viruses. After consuming this water accidentally, I fell ill for two weeks with dysentery. Due to the economic situation of Mozambique, many people live below the poverty line and don’t have money to buy ceramic water filters. We were shocked when we saw the Mozambicans using muddy rain run-off to drink and bathe in.
What inspired you to start a mycharity: water campaign?
We wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. We thought that by doing something radical, we could attract attention. And then we could redirect that attention to serve a bigger cause. We have a passion to dig one well that will provide clean water for over 100 people — their children too, and theirs, on down the generations. This is the reason we are going to get in the water in San Francisco and start paddling south. Our motto tells the story: “Crossing Water to Bring Water.”
Clay, can you give us a basic idea of what a day of paddling will look like?
We’re training for the endurance paddle from the Golden Gate to San Diego’s Bay Bridge — that will be 20 to 30 miles each day. We’ll start at dawn and weather, wind and ocean conditions permitting, we’ll be done each day by one. We’ll come ashore to camp, eat, nap, stretch, work on the film and be in bed by nine. Most of our training has been in the ocean, and we usually try and paddle a minimum of ten miles. When we paddle in flat water, we do sprints and work on our paddle technique. When the waves get good, we love to surf our YOLO paddle boards as part of training.
“People are sick and dying every day and one of the simplest ways to help prevent sickness and death is to provide clean water.”
Is there anything that has been surprising about fundraising for your campaign?
I am very surprised at how difficult it is to motivate people to donate for clean water. We are surrounded by luxury, water included, so it’s very difficult to convince our culture of the basic needs of life elsewhere.
People are sick and dying every day and one of the simplest ways to help prevent sickness and death is to provide clean water. With that said, I am excited to say we have raised over $300 for the campaign and we haven’t even started paddling. I think as we talk more in the community, it’s getting easier. We spoke at a local elementary school in February. Kelly Elementary has adopted our project and the charity: water fundraiser as part of a thematic school-wide educational curriculum.
Back to Tim — do you have any advice for people thinking about starting a campaign?
Do it! Start a campaign. The hardest part is thinking about it, so stop thinking, and just do it. You can make a difference. The smallest amount of money raised helps. You don’t have to do an expedition or a journey to raise money for clean water. Be a voice. Learn. Educate. Persevere. Start a campaign and show the world what people are going through.
Paddle your way around the country, sell candy with your school, bake cookies — there’s no limit to what you can do for clean water! Get started here >
campaign:Boston College Water for Schools 2012 raised so far: $7,111 campaign goal:$20,000 mission statement: “Bcharity: water is an initiative started by students whose goal is to bring awareness of the global water crisis while raising money to support the charity: water campaign.”
When you’re in college, getting time to even study is a huge task…. but students at Boston College have added fighting to end the water crisis to their to-do lists. How’d they manage to fit a campaign into their busy schedules? We asked Kimmi, the founder of an organization on campus that seeks to give clean water to people who need it:
How did you hear about the water crisis and charity: water?
I heard about how incredibly vast the water crisis is through charity: water. I followed charity: water on Twitter to use their wallpaper for my background and very briefly researched them before my trip to World Youth Day in Madrid. My experiences in Spain on the Magis Pilgrimage prior to World Youth Day played a key role in fostering my interest in the world water crisis and charity: water.
What inspired you to start a group at Boston College to support charity: water?
It started after my seven-day pilgrimage across Basque country in Spain. During the 97-mile hike, my group suffered from dehydration and at times, heat stroke. Magis, meaning more, was a program for participants of World Youth Day from Jesuit institutions around the world. These experiences were meant to help participants find more in their relationship with God by encouraging seeing God in all things. I was all for this, but I had no idea I was going to be hiking for seven days. I thought it was a bus ride. Little did I know, I was in for a huge surprise.
The last three days of the hike were incredibly hot. It was blazing dry heat and no shade. We walked from pretty much 6 a.m. to 5 p.m… I was constantly thinking about the fact that, after the three days were over, I was gonna be back in Madrid having access to all this water — as much as I wanted. Before school started, I texted a friend who lived close by: “You know, maybe we can make a difference.”
Boston College is known for its social justice and equality movements, and it really encourages students to take initiative. We’re encouraged to be men and women for others. I showed my friend the Water Changes Everything video and he immediately supported the cause.
We chose to stick with charity: water and we came back to campus and pitched it to lots of people: Campus Ministry, the Carroll School of Management, our business school, the Office of Student Programs and many others were really supportive.
What are some ways you’ve been fundraising so far?
We wanted to kick it off with something very educational, but not so educational as to make people not want to go. It was a very casual kick-off. We had local restaurants donate food, there were performances and a student presented about the education system in Africa and how water relates to education. People were just with their friends, eating and learning a lot at the same time — not just about charity: water, but the global water crisis in general. We raised more than (I think) $500, even though our goal that night wasn’t even to raise that much money, it was just to get the word out there that we’re on campus.
Do you have other events planned during the campaign?
We have things like the Penny Pledge, where we encouraged faculty and staff to pledge or donate one penny for every dollar that our group donated. We hoped we could have faculty from all four schools at Boston College get together and say, “This is the cause that we all believe in and just something that we can all make a difference in.”
We’re also selling t-shirts, passing out Boloco burritos in return for donations, having a charity: water dance, having a show, and hosting benefit dinners.
The thing we all like about charity: water is that it’s very matter-of-fact. It’s very tangible and very relatable, so that’s the approach we want to take, too.
Have there been difficulties that maybe you didn’t expect?
Yeah, definitely. Becoming an organization on campus has been really hard. Right now, we’re an organization through Campus Ministry, but we don’t get funding. We are a start-up group and this is its first year at BC. We don’t know of any other group that has done this before, so we don’t really have anyone to ask for advice. We’ve received a lot of help, but it’s taken a lot of persistence to be able to get to where we are now.
Another difficulty would be selling the product. I think most of the people on BCharity: water’s staff are in the business school, and we know that even though these causes are very worthwhile and very important, it comes down to being able to sell the cause and sell how important it is.
The fact that we’ve already raised $7,000 amazes me. It’s far from our goal, but it makes such a difference.
Is there anything that took you by surprise doing this campaign?
It’s how generous people can be once they’re given the information, how much one person is capable of and how much eight people are capable of. I didn’t plan to have something this big. I was just thinking that I don’t want people, seven-year-olds, walking like I did — but for their whole lives.
My friends and I talk about the campaign a lot. Although it’s hard to believe that we’re making a difference, at the end of the day, we always remind each other that we are. The fact that we’ve already raised $7,000 amazes me. It’s far from our goal, but it makes such a difference. The numbers give me something to really hold on to.
So do you have a vision for the group going forward?
We’re hoping to reach our $20,000 goal and really get the word out there. Our tentative plan is to have a campaign every first quarter of each year. Right now, it’s a big boom on campus, because they’ve never heard of charity: water. We definitely do want to establish a club on campus where charity: water will benefit from it.
Any advice for people who want to start a campaign?
Do it because you want to do it. For me, I experienced that dehydration and witnessed the heatstroke: it touched me very personally.
There have been a lot of obstacles where school work is tugging at me on one end and the campaign is tugging me on the other. It’s something I really want to do. Know that someone out there is benefiting from your work. It’s hard to grasp but it’s true, it’s real, and it’s worth it.
Start an organization on your campus. Host an event, make necklaces, run across the country — you can do just about anything to fundraise for clean water. Want to start a campaign of your own? Find out how here >