Charity: Water

Bringing clean water to people around the world


Children in the Tigray region of Northern Ethiopia whose village was helped by Charity: Water, Image via Flickr courtesy of Google Images, labeled for reuse with modification.

Savannah Jones, Writer

More than 5 million people die every year due to disease and lack of hygiene caused by unclean water. In areas where poverty runs rampant, pollution builds in water sources and, when certain death from dehydration outweighs the risk of catching a deadly disease from unsafe drinking water,  people around the world make the inevitable decision to drink contaminated water every single day. In places where clean water is a part of daily life, it can be difficult to understand and easy to ignore the problems faced by people who have no access to clean water. Charity: Water is a charity that builds and restores clean water wells for communities whose water sources are impacted by pollution and other means of contamination.

Charity: Water’s website includes a map that pinpoints each of the completed and in-progress water projects with details regarding the goal of the project and what it will do, or has done already, to benefit the community. 100% of public donations are sent to local partners on the ground, who build and implement the projects. When the projects are completed, charity: water proves every one of them using GPS coordinates, photos and details of the community served,” says Charity Navigator. Everyone who donates, whether contributing once or committing to a monthly donation, can see the impact that their money has made and get updates on the communities that they have served.

One thing that stops people from donating to charities is the fact that most people do not trust organizations to use their money morally and efficiently. Charity: Water, however, pledges that 100% of donations go towards their mission. The charity has a seperate account for donation costs called The Well,  which is funded by private donors, many of which donate over $1 million per donation to keep the charity running. According to TruthOut, “What sets [Charity: Water] apart…is that they undertake their mission with a dedication to total fiscal transparency and without a marketing budget. More than 20,000 individuals seem to agree, and have held birthday campaigns for the company, generating millions upon millions of dollars since it started in 2006.” One of Charity: Water’s biggest sources of funding is its trend of birthday campaigns, in which people around the world give up their birthdays and instead donate the dollar value of all the gifts they would have received. Thousands of people so far have donated their birthdays to Charity: Water to raise money for clean water.

One of the most significant birthday campaigns seen by Charity: Water was started by  Rachel Beckwith, whose 9th birthday wish was to raise 300 dollars for the organization. After a car accident claimed Rachel’s life, her campaign drew in over 1.2 million dollars from more than thirty-one thousand donors around the world. Many people donated 9 dollars in her memory, but top donations to her initial campaign ranged from nine thousand to twenty thousand dollars. The Charity: Water website includes a tribute to Rachel called Rachel’s Gift, which states, Rachel’s original birthday campaign funded 143 water projects. Since then, her family has continued to fundraise in her memory. Today, Rachel’s story has helped bring clean water to more than 37,770 people in Ethiopia.” The story serves as a central part of many of the organization’s advertisements and represents the millions of donors who have given their own money and birthdays to help others, a movement that Rachel supported, and that her family continues to support in remembrance of her.

Charity: Water’s 100% donation model represents the full dedication of the company to fulfill its goal of providing clean water to all people, halting the deadly spread of waterborne disease and infection in countries without proper sanitization. Because the charity’s ambitions are so large, it never stops building, and it is important that donations continue so that underprivileged people around the world can gain access to water free of toxic pollution, chemicals, and disease. Donations to Charity: Water can be made at