December 21, 2011
It’s hard to believe 2011 is already coming to a close! We have accomplished so much this year, constructing 15 new water access points in 4 countries: Kenya, Ethiopia, the D.R. Congo, and a new nation, Liberia! Once more, our wells and water systems have brought access to clean water to communities, schools, and health centers. Again, Voss Foundation’s program activities saved children’s lives, sent girls to school, helped women earn income and gain parity, and fueled community development throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. We attended opening ceremonies across the African continent, bringing our donors to see the very work they have helped to fund. You can learn more about our water projects and how they bring a brighter future to all they touch in our 2011 video, An Engine for Growth.
We continued to raise consciousness of the water crisis itself, bringing together thousands of donors and supporters through a variety of events. I am still amazed by the success of the Just Around the Corner Art Auction we held this May outside of Oslo with Sotheby’s, Kistefos Museum,and Blomqvist Kunsthandel – we surpassed our fundraising goal by a factor of seven! With the help of collectors, galleries, and artists we gathered and sold first-class art from international participants, all in the name of our work changing lives in Africa with access to clean water. The auction broke an astonishing number of records and I am eternally grateful to my Oslo staff and the untold other selfless philanthropists who made it all a possibility. I hope you will take a look at the catalog if you hadn’t already – there are not words to describe how proud I am of everyone’s efforts.
Our Women Helping Women campaign maintained its trajectory of growth in its third year as we added a Boston group. We celebrated success again in New York and, through our new African Bazaar, brought our supporters even closer to our work. Items from the bazaar are still online and I invite you to shop there today, before the goods sell out! Additional events with our friends at VOSS, and organizations like the Emirates Dubai Golf Invitational and Old Salem Farms Spring Horse Show further increased our ability to meet our mission’s goals.
We maintained our Give A Drop partnership with Jewel‘s Project Clean Water and Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Unite, allowing us to reach many more people than we could otherwise. Jewel had some very kind words to say about us recently, and Sir Richard was kind enough to endorse our May art auction himself. Virgin and Jewel were some of our earliest supporters at the time Voss Foundation was founded and it’s an alliance of which we are exceedingly proud.
We couldn’t do our work without the people who devote their time and energy behind the scenes, like our pro-bono social media consultants STC Associates; our pro-bono counsel at Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman; VOSS’ marketing agency Addiction; McGladrey & Pullen; the video genius of Castle Court Images; and our tireless Board and event committee members.
And, of course, we continue to owe so much to our friends and founders at VOSS water. From public endeavors like their 31 Days to Make a Difference campaign, to their individual employees’ personal time and energy, to our donated office space in New York and Oslo, VOSS continues to enable the Voss Foundation’s vital work as part of their own sense of corporate social responsibility.
In sum, 2011 was an outstanding success and we have all of you to thank for it. Just as we talk about the ripple effect of clean water, every single one of you and your actions, whether a donation, Facebook “Like” or Twitter RT, helped make this a reality. It really does start with a drop!
You’ll see here I’ve shared with you some of my own photos from visiting our projects in Kenya and the D.R. Congo this year — I do hope you will consider joining us on some site visits in 2012. We’ve got plans for donor trips to Kenya and Liberia, and are eager to share our great work with you!
In the meantime, I send all of you best wishes from the Voss Foundation for a happy and healthy new year. Clean water is a gift and we thank you for your support.
Kara Gerson, Executive Director