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FINAL WEEK for the #bethesparklewaterchallenge!

We're into our final week for the #BeTheSparkleWaterChallenge---how have you been doing?  I'll admit, this has been one of the most difficult challenges I've set out for myself!  There have definitely been some stumbles and there have been days where I haven't hit my goal.  But, I have stuck with it and while I haven't been 100% successful, I just keep going.  I hope that you are, too!

Now that we're into our final week, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on how very grateful I am that I have clean drinking water to do our water challenge.  I would really be grateful and appreciate you taking some time to not just read this post, but share it to spread a bit of awareness for the others in our world who aren't as fortunate as we are and have their own water challenges---the challenge to have clean, safe, drinking water on a day-to-day basis.

I've compiled a very short list of charities and organizations who are committed to bringing safe drinking water to those who need it today, as well as, hope for a better tomorrow. 

1.  Water.org

Who they are: Co-Founders, Gary White and Matt Damon, saw a need for the water crisis and wanted to pioneer smart solutions ten years ago.  Together and partnered with 87 different foundations, financial institutions, and brands, they have helped lead water.org to be one of the highest ranked organizations for the water and sanitation sector.  Working in 13 countries, they are able to bring new solutions to those in need with clean water.

How your dollars help:  Every $1 that is donated essentially turns into $40 of impact, since this charity grants small, easy-to-repay, loans for safe water and water sanitation.   Bringing clean water is also just a start---by providing affordable financing, they are also giving people an opportunity to find employment, earn wages, and break the poverty cycle that not having clean water presented.

To learn more:  If you'd like to learn more about how the financing process works, click here.  I'll admit, at first I didn't quite know how I felt about offering financing to people---why not just give them water?  But, once I read more about it and the true impact that it provides (not to mention the statistics---over 99% of the loans are repaid which allows those dollars to impact even more people with fewer donations!) I was all on board!  And, of course, to read more about them in general, click here to go to their homepage and start exploring for yourself!

2.  charity : water


Who they are:  In 2006, Scott Harrison founded charity : water, upon completing a photojournalist project in Liberia, West Africa.  charity : water searches the globe to find the best water sanitation companies and partners with them to build long-lasting clean water solutions.  They have a 3-step approach to maximize their efforts and fund the most successful programs.  They have completed over 28,000 projects in 26 countries, bringing clean water to over 8.2 MILLION people!

How your dollars help:  This is a charity that I was really struck by---100% of your dollars goes to work to fund the water projects.  charity : water has private donors who fund all of their operational costs, so your dollars go further to bring clean water to those who need it most.

To learn more:  This page has direct links to see the proof of their projects as well as their financial statements, so you have a completely transparent view of the work they have completed and their fiscal allocation for the entire year to see exactly where each dollar is spent.  Their homepage allows you to navigate their site to view more about their story, their approach, and their commitment to the world.

3.  The Water Project


Who they are:  This non-profit organization is People Centric and believes that everyone is a part of the team; from fundraisers to field technicians and that is part of why their project reporting is so unique.  Founded ten years ago by former pastor, Peter Chasse, they have impacted over 370,000 people and completed 113 projects, just this year alone!  They believe in more than just bringing clean water and sanitation to Sub-Saharan Africa; they provide community engagement, education, and follow-up with monitoring and evaluation to make sure that an entire area---not just one person---is fully impacted with clean, safe water.

How your dollars help:  Because fundraisers are considered a viable part of the team (because, let's face it, they are!) they get unique, personalized reporting of the project they have become a part of.  When you donate funds to The Water Project, you immediately get to start seeing the results of where your dollars are being allocated.  You get a full report with photos, maps, stories, and more so you can see exactly how your donation has impacted lives of those who need it. 

To learn more:  Their About Us page offers a few videos to share their who, how, and why.  (I'd have a tissue or two ready, though...these videos hit you in the feels!)  Of course, to see how your donation works in action, you can click here to see a demonstration of their personalized reporting share.  And, as always, their homepage is the central part of learning all about them.

4.  Water Charity


Who they are:  Jah۞Sun and Averill Strasser co-founded Water Charity in late-2007 while travelling in Central America.  They started with one single project for the Guatemala City Dump and then quickly expanded into 76 countries.  Many of their projects are completed in an average of two months (from inception to completion!) and they became the official partner for the National Peace Corps Association.  Their infographic shows that they have been able to help over 4 MILLION people in 76 countries by over 4000 completed projects.

How your dollars help:  An average of $25 saves a life through Water Charity since the communties they are serving has an average annual income of only $200!  They have organized their projects by dollars needed, so you can choose which project you'd like to contribute to, if you'd like.  Each project description provides highlights on how much money is needed to raise, the community they are serving, the impact they can provide, the project leader, and more.

To learn more:  You can search their extensive project list, with their projects organized by country, funding needed, progress of completion, and alphabetical order.  Of course, the primary "need-to-know" information is all nicely summarized on their homepage here.

5.  Ryan's Well Foundation


Who they are:  Well, this charity really hit me in the feels.  A 6-year old little boy, named Ryan Hreljac, from Canada, rallied his community to build a well in Uganda, Africa.  One. Well.  This well quickly grew into over 1,200 projects, 1,200 latrines, and impacted over 924,000 lives.  They have been able to reach over 1,000 communities in 16 countries---all since 2001 and one well.

How your dollars help:  The Ryan's Well Foundation Team has been able to keep their operating and administrative costs as low as possible, allowing about 82 cents per dollar directly support their charitable programs.  While the foundation is based out of Canada, US contributions can still be made and can still be tax-deductible.  They are very transparent with their financial statements, too, and those can be viewed online on their website.

To learn more:  Their FAQ Page has answers to many questions, including how your US contribution can be tax-deductible.  They also list all of their active projects here and you can click on those projects individually to learn more about each specific one.  No matter what page you click on, they have easily accessible links with sub-menus to easily navigate to different topics to learn more about them.

I am truly blown away by the impact these organizations have to really make a difference in the world we live in---and by something that I sometimes take for granted---clean, safe water.  Talk about them carrying out their own version of my mission to #BeTheSparkle!  Sparkling, clean water can make the biggest difference in health, education, and overcoming poverty.


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