I enjoy wine! A nice cold white wine on a warm summer night or a red wine to warm me from the inside on a cool winter evening. Actually, I am enjoying a glass from a local vineyard right now. So, when I found a non-profit that uses wine to make a difference, I was intrigued.
When Doc Hendley was in college at North Carolina State University, he was working as a bartender and looking for a way to make a lasting impact on the world. Once he discovered the magnitude of the world’s water crisis, he began to help in the only way he knew how, pouring drinks and playing music. He held several events he called “Wine to Water” nights at the bar he worked at and with the help of his friends and regulars at the bar he raised money. After six months, he took a trip to Darfur, Sudan to fight the water crisis first hand. After he returned he founded Wine to Water as an official 501c3 nonprofit in Boone, North Carolina in 2007 proving you do not have to be a celebrity to make a difference. You simply must have enough courage to take the first step and the passion to keep going.
Wine to Water is a unique organization because of its origins in a bar. A CEO may be enjoying a drink at the bar next to a mechanic and through this organization they can come together for the same goal of fighting the world’s water crisis.
The mission of Wine to Water is to provide clean water to people in need around the world through the most sustainable methods possible. They believe that the relationship they form in the process is just as important as the end result, so they strive to work with local people for each project they facilitate. This helps them cultivate a lasting relationship and leave the local community with the knowledge and tools to continue the work that was started by their organization.
In 2009, Wine to Water expanded by starting their own wine label. They currently have 5 varieties available through a partnership with the Bliss Family Vineyards in Mendocino County, California. Approximately $7 from each bottle sold is donated to the Wine to Water mission to fight the water crisis in countries such as Sudan, India, Cambodia, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Haiti.
Wine to Water has reached over 100,000 people with clean water. Each of their projects is different and requires a different method to achieve the maximum impact. Some of their methods include deep and shallow wells, hand-pump well repair, ceramic water filters, bio-sand water filters, rainwater harvest tanks, latrine installation, and hygiene education programs. One example of a recent project in Haiti is a partnership with FilturePure for a ceramic water filter factory run by local Haitians.
How can you help?
- You can host your own Wine to Water event at a local bar, restaurant, or home. A typical event involves a wine tasting and a discussion about the world’s water crisis. You can download a variety of tools to help plan and run your event on their website.
- You can purchase wines through winetowater.com to help support their mission.
- You can also make donations directly to the organization or their specific projects on their website.