The story of ActiveWater might actually be similar to your story.
You see, like you, we didn’t begin with nonprofit classes, a room full of corporate dreamers, a million dollar grant, or even a single donor. We just saw a need where millions of people were hurting, we knew we wanted to provide a remedy to as many families as possible, and we set out with a plan to do so – a very big plan - one that pretty much involved just us.
‘Just us’ was two friends, Daren Wendell and myself, Amie Hadaway. Honestly, we weren’t even friends at first. We were just two completely opposite people serving as volunteers for another trusted water-nonprofit, Blood:Water Mission. We crossed paths one day while I was working online on a big social media campaign. Daren volunteered to be of help and getting to know him, it turned out he was this insane athlete who was conspiring to make the most epic journey of his life - an 18,000 mile solo walk around the world he called The Earth Expedition. Daren said he wanted to use this monumental physical challenge and his public speaking skills to draw media attention to the World Water Crisis and be a voice for families who needed clean water. And me, well I was this nonstop campaign organizer/former teacher/stay-at-home mom who had been using part of my weekdays and weekends to organize campaigns and recruit volunteers to raise funds for clean water. I had been doing most of my fundraising through churches, music festivals, college groups, public schools, you name it. So I saw Daren’s campaign idea as not only something new and different, but one that had endless potential. So much so, that I immediately started pushing all of my effort towards helping him make it a success. And it was a success!
In the course of a year, Daren walked the greater part of the USA (3,400 miles). And together, we had raised awareness through dozens of newspapers, local newscasts, short film projects, and even had The Earth Expedition spotlighted in re-known magazines like Men’s Fitness, Men’s Health, and Vanity Fair. Both of us were unbelievably excited and humbled by the knowledge that we were helping provide clean water for thousands of villagers in Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya. But then, just as the story was beginning to reach its full potential, it started to actually fall apart.
You see, Daren was convinced early on that he could do this heroic, near-endless, sacrificial trek around the world, and he had convinced me too. But in all actuality, he couldn’t. It was such a big dream and such a far out goal that the reality of it was tearing his mind and body apart. So what could we do? Where could we go? We didn’t want to end everything and stop supporting families who desperately relied on our help.
So our original plan backfired and, for a while there, we felt like we had failed. Never once had ‘our plan’ included our own nonprofit. We considered ourselves as helpmates at the very core. But suddenly, while facing a false defeat, we realized that we could turn our story of one man’s heroic journey into something completely other – the epic collective story of tens of thousands of people – people just like you - all inter-connected through the platform of education and fundraising that we knew, through experience, that we could provide them. And in December 2008, that’s just what we did. We co-founded ActiveWater.
ActiveWater is certainly no longer just two ordinary people working together to do the unthinkable. The volunteer leadership team that makes up our Board of Directors is like a winning hand of aces – all specialized in areas of expertise that we could never understand. Over the years, we have raised awareness and recruited funds to provide more than 130,000 people with clean water, improved sanitation, and hygiene training. We’ve worked with volunteer athletes that range from first-time 5K runner to Ultra Marathoners and World Record Cyclists. We’ve helped amazing artists and musicians take the stage with our message and we’ve assisted high school freshmen as they put together their first ever persuasive speech for their classmates. It’s not that we’re experts on anything and everything. It’s just that we see potential in everyone!
We believe that you have a great heart and a meaningful story to tell and we know that we can provide you with the resources to tell it. But the best part, now you can be connected to a specific village in Africa or Asia and know just who you’re raising your voice in support of!
Thank you for considering being a part of this mission, and thank you for being willing to make our story even better.