The smallest among us have it all figured out

Kids are doing inspiring, heartwarming, and over-the-top incredible things for clean water, so we created an annual award to celebrate these Tiny Heroes.

Clean water for
45,000+ people and counting

A Tiny Hero’s greatest superpower? They can turn anything into clean water.

A month’s worth of rice and beans for dinner. Five-minute tea parties. T-shirts that say, “I like bugs, but not in my water.” With their powers combined, these heroes have brought clean and safe water to thousands of people across the globe.

$1.8M

Raised

45,000+

People Served

Meet the2021 class of tiny heroes

Budding
entrepreneurs.

Savvy
innovators.

Top-notch
inspire-ers.

Grab your sunglasses. The future is bright with this year’s class of Tiny Heroes leading the way. In the midst of a pandemic, these six certified world-changers funded clean water for more than 500 people… and they’re just getting started.

Charlie

New York, United States

When Charlie’s baby brother, Lachlan, died suddenly in February 2020, his family raised nearly $50,000 to honor his memory. But Charlie didn’t stop there. He gave up his 9th birthday to make sure even more people would get clean water. He crushed his $1,000 goal, raising an additional $1,665.

“After the sudden death of my baby brother, I wanted to help others in his name and leave a lasting legacy. I plan to do whatever I can to help kids everywhere get clean water.”

— Charlie

Josiah

New York, United States

Josiah has spent half his life running his recycling business, J Go Green, and encouraging people to live in an environmentally friendly way. Part of his mission? Using savvy business skills to fund clean water. 10% of what he earns goes to charity: water!

“I like giving money that I make from my recycling business because I think everyone in the world deserves clean water. Even a little bit of money can make a big difference.”

— Josiah

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Nanami

Hawaii, United States

Nanami’s 8th birthday campaign came with a pretty sweet incentive: donate $8 or more and get a free tote bag—which Nanami designed herself! Along with her fundraiser for clean water, Nanami also shared her birthday with a friend who was recently diagnosed with cancer, asking for donations to both causes instead of presents.

“All kids deserve clean water.”

— Nanami

Neekta

Ontario, Canada

Due to COVID restrictions, Neekta couldn’t celebrate her 11th birthday with a party. Instead, she decided to do a virtual recital—piano and ukulele!—as a fundraiser for clean water. Her beautiful music raised enough to fund clean water for 54 people!

“What’s better than helping other people by doing what you love? Thanks to charity: water, I got to do that and you can, too!”

— Neekta

Olive

Kent, United Kingdom

When Olive learned that there were kids who didn’t have clean water, she decided to raise money by hosting 5-minute tea parties. Friends and family were invited to enjoy fresh water, a snack, and have a chat. It worked! Seven people will gain access to clean water thanks to Olive’s tea parties.

“I saw that other people don’t have fresh water, and I felt sad. They must be thirsty. So I decided to raise some money to help them.”

— Olive

Supriya

Washington, United States

Supriya isn’t new to fundraising for clean water. She’s been at it since 2017, and every year has been more successful than the last. This year, she teamed up with her brother to perform a Carnatic music concert (a traditional form of Indian classical music) and raised $3,212, bringing her total lifetime impact to over $13,000!

“Clean drinking water is not a privilege, it is a basic human right.”

— Supriya

Tiny Heroes Alumni

Act cool. You’re about to meet some legends.

These heroes may not be tiny anymore (we’re looking at you, 6-foot-tall Nathaniel), but their impact is enormous. With creativity, commitment, and a whole lot of heart, they paved the way for future kid-fundraisers with some unforgettable campaigns.

Max S

Most likely to exceed expectations

  • Rhode Island, United States
  • First campaign: 2008
  • One of the first ever “September campaigners”
  • Raised $20,000 for his 7th birthday alone

“My pitch as a 7 year old was essentially, ‘This isn’t fair.’ Here I am, a 7-year-old child, and there are seven-year-old children in a different country dying because they do not have access to a basic human right. It felt like, ‘I have clean water. They should have clean water, too.’”

— Max S

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Riley

Most likely to never eat beans again

  • Washington, D.C., United States
  • First campaign: 2010
  • Ate rice and beans for a month and put the grocery savings toward clean water
  • Has run a total of six campaigns and raised over $23,000

“I’m living in D.C. and interning on Capitol Hill. That’s where this has led me to. And I think that’s probably true for every child when you support their passion to change the world. It’s going to evolve into even more meaningful things as they get older.”

— Riley

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Tariku

Most likely to become Super Bowl MVP

  • Colorado, United States
  • First campaign: 2010
  • Lost his younger brother in Ethiopia because of dirty water
  • Has completed NINE campaigns and helped over 900 people!

“Spending the first four years of my life drinking dirty water in Ethiopia, and losing my baby brother because of it, made me want to help make sure no more kids die. Working with charity: water over the past 11 years has helped me feel like I’m helping.”

— Tariku

Bridger

Most likely to fill you with holiday spirit

  • North Dakota, United States
  • First campaign: 2010
  • Gave up his Christmas presents when he was 7 years old and raised $5,000
  • Has given up a total of eight Christmases for clean water!

“charity: water is so special to me because it opens up the opportunity to better the world to anyone. Even when I was little, it gave me the chance to have a real, positive impact on people’s lives across the world. That’s pretty cool.”

— Bridger

Nathaniel

Most likely to show up at your front door with a popsicle

  • Maryland, United States
  • First campaign: 2012
  • Used his birthdays, soccer club, and school graduation to raise money
  • Has now hosted 10 campaigns for charity: water!

“In fourth grade, a teacher talked about World Water Day, and another teacher talked about wants versus needs. So when it came to giving up birthday gifts—sure, every 8 year old wants the new Nerf gun or the new action figure—but it’s not about ‘wants’ for people without water. You need water. I took those lessons to heart and decided that I could give up my wants if it helped somebody else get what they actually need.”

— Nathaniel

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Lory

Most likely to throw an awesome party

Max & Jack

Most likely to team up for clean water

Mussé

Most likely to have a TED talk

  • Washington, United States
  • First campaign: 2013
  • A true ambassador for the water crisis, hosting Water Walks and speaking to classrooms
  • Has completed 14 campaigns for clean water!

“charity: water was my way of giving back to my people in Ethiopia by helping change their lives. I may not save every life, but I will fight for them all!”

— Mussé

Brendan

Most likely to become a fashion mogul

  • Massachusetts, United States
  • First campaign: 2013
  • Designed a t-shirt that became an instant classic: “I like bugs, but not in my water!
  • Made 500 t-shirts. Raised $5,000.

Arav

Most likely to become poet laureate

  • New Jersey, United States
  • First campaign: 2014
  • Started with a birthday campaign and then just kept going... for five years in a row!
  • Gave a presentation at school and inspired his younger sister to take action too
  • Has now raised $13,602 for clean water

“To me, being a Tiny Hero means that you’re someone who is willing to make a change. You’re someone who sees a problem that someone else has, even if you don’t know who they are, and you want to help them. You’ll sacrifice your time, effort, and resources in the hope of bettering others. It doesn’t matter how much money you raise or how many people you help. The only thing you have to do to become a Tiny Hero is to help solve a problem that doesn’t affect you.”

— Arav

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Aadhya

Most likely to pass along the inspiration

  • New Jersey, United States
  • First campaign: 2017
  • Learned about the water crisis from her brother Arav and immediately jumped into action
  • Asked for donations instead of gifts for three birthdays in a row

“Missing out on presents is a bummer, but helping others is actually better. Seeing my brother do it inspired me, and I hope reading this inspires you. Seeing smiles on the faces of those we helped gives me a warm heart.”

— Aadhya

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Maddie

Most likely to become a lemonade tycoon

  • British Columbia, Canada
  • First campaign: 2014
  • Stood behind her lemonade stand, rain or shine, to raise money for clean water
  • Brought in local musicians to keep her patrons entertained

“I liked how I felt involved and that I could actually make a difference. And I liked when people came up to me, smiling at this kid that was actually trying to make a difference. I hope I inspired them to know that everyone can make a difference.”

— Maddie

Aviva & Sage

Most likely to be knighted

  • North Carolina, United States
  • First campaign: 2014
  • Went trick-or-treating as the “Knights of the mycharity: water Table”
  • Came home with over $100 for clean water!

London

Most likely to go viral

  • California, United States
  • First campaign: 2015
  • Used her YouTube channel to spread the word about clean water and raise money for her birthday campaign
  • She was only 5 years old!

“Seeing kids without access to clean water made me both sad and angry. How is it possible that we all don’t have clean water to drink when water is such a necessity for life? I’m so thankful my parents introduced me to charity: water and gave me a way to raise money.”

— London

Cosette

Most likely to end up in MoMA

  • Alberta, Canada
  • First campaign: 2015
  • Has been selling her paintings to raise money for people in need of food and clean water since she was three years old
  • Sold prints. Hosted gallery shows. Raised nearly $12,000 for charity: water.

“I hope that some of those people I was able to help might now have a chance at a future that, before, was not possible. It was fun. It made my heart so happy knowing that I was able to help some people.”

— Cosette

Lula Grace

Most likely to be recruited by global ad agencies

  • Isle of Man, United Kingdom
  • First campaign: 2015
  • Designed incredibly creative campaigns
  • We’re talking science experiments, video productions, and a little something called Operation Smartie-Pants

“charity: water has made me feel very proud. I feel honoured and privileged to have worked with them. I felt like I was part of the charity: water team and like I was making a difference to more than just a couple of people.”

— Lula Grace

Willa & Beckett

Most likely to get you to pledge your allowance

  • California, United States
  • First campaign: 2013
  • Saw the need for clean water firsthand
  • Gave presentations, hosted Water Walks, and even got other kids to donate their allowance to clean water

Noa

Most likely to win an Oscar

“If someone said that kids are too young to make a difference, I would go get my siblings and tell them, ‘Watch this. We’ll prove you wrong.’ Even though we’re small, we can do a lot.”

— Noa

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Nora

Most likely to change the world with $8.15

  • Virginia, United States
  • First campaign: 2018
  • Melted our hearts when she mailed in $8.15 and a note that said, “I do not want people to die from dirty water.”
  • Her donation inspired 3,797 people to do the same thing

“Here’s my message: Kids can make a big difference. Kids are strong. Kids can do what a kid’s gotta do. You don’t need to do something big and fancy. Just do what you need to do. This water crisis is huge. People need water. They don’t want it; they need it. And you can make a big difference.”

— Nora

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Inspired By Rachel

When a wish becomes a legacy.

In 2011, Rachel asked family and friends to celebrate her 9th birthday by donating $9 to her fundraising campaign. She raised $220, almost enough to reach her goal of bringing clean water to 10 kids, and planned to try again the next year.

One month later, a tractor-trailer smashed into a car that she was riding in with her mother and younger sister. The accident took Rachel’s life.

As reports of the accident began to spread, so did news of her birthday wish. Rachel’s $220 quickly grew to $1.2 million. Today, Rachel and the community she inspired have changed the lives of more than 100,000 people.

July 23rd, 2021, marked the 10-year anniversary of Rachel’s death, and we knew we couldn’t let it pass without a tribute to one of the original Tiny Heroes. She inspired this award. Whenever we think of Tiny Heroes, we’ll remember Rachel’s incredible life and honor her legacy.

Click here to see more of Rachel’s story, including her mom’s trip to Ethiopia to see some of the wells funded by her birthday wish.

Keeping the goodness going

These incredible sponsors funded several water projects in honor of Tiny Heroes!

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