Today’s blog is written by Laurie Loftin, program specialist in the ACC Water Conservation Office
The Day of Giving may have passed, but it is never too late to donate to a deserving organization dedicated to a cause you hold dear. Today I share with you five charities I believe are acting as champions of water with the support from people like you.
The Day of Giving may have passed, but it is never too late to donate to a deserving organization dedicated to a cause you hold dear. Today I share with you six charities I believe are acting as champions of water with the support from people like you.
An easy way to contribute to a reputable non-profit is to start with a visit to Charity Navigator, an independent evaluator of non-profit organizations. They assign a rating to organizations based on their performance as it relates to finances, administration, and transparency. Using this tool helps you to be informed about who you are donating to and how the group will apply your contribution.
Let me give you an example as to how it works. Perhaps you care a lot about, oh, I don’t know…let’s go with WATER. Enter “water” into the “charity search” bar and see a list of charities pop up. You will notice the star-rating the charity has earned, with four stars being the highest. It is important to note that if an organization does not have a rating, it does not necessarily suggest the group is mismanaging . Many small non-profits do not meet the eligibility requirements to be rated by Charity Navigator. For example, some smaller organizations file a Form 990-EZ, which lacks the data used in their analysis.
Here is a description of a few four-star rated groups with a focus on water, as well as their missions as written by Charity Navigator.
Water.org (focus on global water issues) Providing access to safe water and sanitation
Co-founded by Gary White and Matt Damon, Water.org has transformed hundreds of communities in Africa, South Asia, and Central America by providing access to safe water and sanitation. Water.org traces its roots back to the founding of WaterPartners in 1990. In July 2009, WaterPartners merged with H2O Africa, resulting in the launch of Water.org. Water.org works with local partners to deliver innovative solutions for long-term success. Its microfinance-based WaterCredit Initiative is pioneering sustainable giving in the sector. All of the projects Water.org supports are self-sustaining, with organizational and financial structures in place to allow communities to independently operate and maintain them. Projects have an active water committee governing the operation of the water system, and users paying a water bill to cover the costs of operating and maintaining the water system.
charity: water (focus on global water issues) Water changes everything
charity: water focuses on life’s most basic need — water. But to significantly cut down disease rates in the developing world, water is just the first step. Almost everywhere charity: water builds a freshwater well,
we also require sanitation training. In some communities, we build latrines; at the very least, we promote simple hand-washing stations made with readily-available materials. Clean water can greatly alleviate the world’s disease burden, but only with education and hygienic practice. charity: water is committed to using water as a gateway to sanitary living. charity: water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. 100% of public donations directly fund water projects.
Chattahoochee Riverkeeper (focus on Chattahoochee River Basin) Keeping watch over our waters
The Chattahoochee Riverkeeper’s (CRK) works to advocate and secure the protection and stewardship of the Chattahoochee River, its tributaries and watershed, in order to restore and preserve their ecological health for the people, fish and wildlife that depend on the River system. Established in 1994, CRK is an environmental advocacy organization with more than 6,000 members dedicated solely to protecting and restoring the Chattahoochee River Basin – drinking water source for 4 million people. CRK actively uses advocacy, education, research, communication, cooperation, monitoring and legal actions to protect and preserve the Chattahoochee and its watershed.
Inspiration for the selection of these next three charities comes from the bumper sticker: “Think globally, act locally.” They are smaller organizations with less than $1 million in annual revenue, so they are not rated by Charity Navigator. Nonetheless, they are fiercely dedicated to protecting the water resources in GA and are worthy of support.
Upper Oconee Watershed Network (UOWN): (focus on Upper Oconee watershed) Protecting the Upper Oconee Watershed through monitoring, education, advocacy, & recreation
The Upper Oconee Watershed Network (UOWN) was formed in January 2000 in response to citizen concern about the region’s rapid growth and its impact to local streams and rivers. UOWN members actively engage in various advocacy, education and stream monitoring initiatives in an effort to raise community awareness about local water resource issues and to facilitate a cooperative spirit for long-term watershed protection.
Keep Athens-Clarke County Beautiful: (focus on water sources in Athens, GA) Keepin’ it Clean
Keep Athens-Clarke County Beautiful is a Keep America Beautiful certified program which focuses on litter prevention, beautification, and proper solid waste management. Many communities have similar chapters. KACCB’s objectives are to identify and improve areas of general community concern, increase awareness of each individual’s role in taking care of our community, and promote adequate maintenance of public and private property. Though not devoted to water issues exclusively, their efforts to reduce litter indirectly protects our streams and rivers from non-point pollution.
Georgia River Network: (focus on Georgia rivers)
Founded in 1998, Georgia River Network works for clean waters and serves as the voice of Georgia’s rivers. With a goal of connecting people to water, they organize Paddle Georgia, a week long river trip on a different Georgia river each June, and maintain the Georgia Water Trails Website. They want Georgia’s rivers to be a focal point of our communities, a place we bring our families to have fun, be together, celebrate and relax. Through their advocacy, they hope to see these rivers being used to enrich our lives, fuel our economy in creative ways, and provide clean, healthy drinking water to all Georgians for years to come.
Donating to any of these charities provides communities and wildlife with the most basic need – water. Give the gift of water to all this holiday season and be a champion.