As 2014 comes to a close, the Laguna Beach, California-based nonprofit Wells of Life should be considered for year-end charitable giving. This 501(c)(3) organization funds and digs water wells in the country of Uganda. An average water well costs $6,000 to complete, so even a small donation of $6.00 a month for the life of that well makes an incredible difference. This monthly amount is comparable to a Venti drink at Starbucks or an average combo-meal at any fast food restaurant.
Toward that end, Wells of Life held its 4th annual fundraiser on Saturday, October 25, 2014 at the Mission Viejo Country Club, in Mission Viejo, Calif. The sold-out crowd of 200 guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and a no-host cocktail bar, along with many silent and live auctions items to raise funds and awareness.
First-time attenders Mark and Drucilla McElrath, owners of a womens’ apparel company, were impressed by Wells of Life President Nick Jordan’s business model, and empowered to participate in this charitable work.
“What really resonated was the fact that a well for $6,000 can transform a village economically by unleashing women and children from the drudgery of having to tote water,” Mr. McElrath said. “If you can unleash them from that responsibility, anything’s possible. So as a business person, in terms of the economic opportunity, it unleashes personal growth.”
This year’s fundraiser welcomed Irish Tenor Anthony Kearns as the Wells of Life National Ambassador. Along with representing the organization in his travels around the world, Kearns gave a beautiful concert to the guests at the fundraiser with music chosen especially for the evening.
“In my first contact with my fellow Wexford man Nick Jordan, he asked me would I be a part of the event here this evening. Then he came back to me again and asked would I help out in spreading word of Wells of Life and what they are doing,” Kearns explained. “I said, ‘Absolutely!’ I’m talking on radio, and with other papers, and I’m traveling around the world with the Irish Tenors, and in solo concerts and operas—it’s no burden for me to get this word out.”
Nick Jordan and Kearns come from the same small village of Kiltealy, in Country Wexford, Ireland; a village of 600 people where the community and familial bonds are strong.
“Where Nick and I come from, we can put ourselves in the shoes of families, and children, and communities,” Kearns said. “Just think for a minute if you couldn’t have the basic water when you get up in the morning. That’s a big deal that we take for granted. We’re a nation in Ireland and we’re surrounded by water. But to think for one day you have to get up and maybe walk for half a day to collect water—it’s mind boggling. So for $6.00 a month, that’s what it takes to pledge to make life a little easier, then we’re going to try to generate as many $6.00s as we can. That’s what it’s all about.”
The organization also reveled in new advisory board member David Feldman. Professor Feldman is Chair of the Department of Planning, Policy, and Design at the University of California Irvine (UCI), and will help connect and build partnerships between the department’s students, water advocates, and the Wells of Life organization. The UCI program attracts students from Asia and other eastern nations where water issues are critical.
“I think the idea of empowering people to not only have access to clean water, but to be able to maintain, care for, and be stewards of it themselves is a wonderful way of advancing social justice in developing countries,” Prof. Feldman said. “It’s a great model that can be followed in all countries.”
The organization also honored the Martin Family. Mike, Amber, and their six children have donated toward four water wells in the last 3 years. The children donate allowance, Christmas, and birthday money toward the drilling of wells, and the family’s goal is to donate one well for each of their six children—two to go!
President Nick Jordan praised the Martins philanthropy and vision, and said, “If we can show our children the gift of service, we can teach them to plant their feet firmly on the ground.”
Wells of Life raised in excess of $173,000 that night through the silent and live auctions. However, what makes the difference in seeing wells built are individuals, like the Martins, who commit to the cause of life. For only $6.00 each month, you can fund a water well and permanently alter the circumstance of an entire village.
Princess Evelyn Komuntale, founder and president of Outreach to Africa (OTA) also partners with the Wells of Life organization, and has seen first-hand the transformation it makes to a community.
“Water is life, and without water, nothing can function. I’m from Africa, I’m from Uganda, so I know the need. I see the people being sick, and all the different villages where access to water is an impossibility. Women and children have to go for miles to little rivers, or dug out wells that are not even clean to carry water. As a result of not having clean water, they have a lot of diseases.
“So when you dig a well, and give a well to the village you’re bringing life! You’re bringing health!”
To discover more about the organization and donate, visit the Wells of Life website. You can also follow Wells of Life on social media:
Facebook at Wells of Life
Twitter at Wells of Life
LinkedIn at Wells of Life
Or send correspondence to: Wells of Life, Inc., 1278 Glenneyre Street, #60, Laguna Beach, CA 92651.