December 27, 2012
As 2012 draws to a close and Voss Foundation looks ahead to our fifth year, I am overjoyed to take account of how far we have come.
In this year alone, we have funded the construction of 10 water access points and 30 sanitation facilities in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Swaziland! For the fourth year, we empowered communities to better their own lives by providing them with access to clean water. Our wells, water systems, and hygiene and sanitation facilities have improved health, education, women’s empowerment, economies, and politics in these three countries, and continued to do so in our other ongoing project countries: Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Mali. To explain this phenomenon, we released an infographic about Voss Foundation’s Ripple Effect this year, which was heralded by the WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) community and shared widely all across social media – I invite you to check it out if you haven’t yet!
Our objective this year was continuing to pursue our commitment to excellence, as documented in our 2012 video by the same name. When we say that, we truly mean a commitment to sustainable clean water access that meets a community’s needs and helps it thrive for many years after the opening ceremony. For us, funding and building a clean water project is just the beginning.
At Voss Foundation, we believe that this dedication to following up is one of the things that sets us apart. Because we continue to monitor, evaluate, and repair our water projects, we can actually see the long-term impact of our work. We’ve been following some of our projects now for up to four years, and we make as much information as possible available to our donors – you can always hold us accountable by tracking our Projects News web page.
This year saw a wide expansion in our supporter base, as more people around the world proved they believe in Voss Foundation’s work by generously contributing their time and money. Nearly $125,000 was raised by almost 300 women through our 2012 Women Helping Womencampaign with events and African Bazaars in New York, San Francisco, and Boston. We are grateful to everyone who made these events so successful, including our 2012 Women Helping Women honoree Selita Ebanks, Patti Austin and the Over My Shoulder Foundation, tireless San Francisco Event Chair Charlot Malin, and the efforts of countless committee members, volunteers and vendors.
We are honored to work with the Bergum family on their Lene Maria for Rent Vann campaign in memory of their daughter and sister, Lene Maria, who was a tragic victim of the shooting at Utøya in July 2011. The Bergums have proved to be extraordinary supporters and incredible grassroots fundraisers, bringing together hundreds of people of all ages across Norway to raise approximately $100,000 since March to fund a solar water system in Masikita, Kenya whose construction is currently underway; they plan to build additional wells and water systems in Liberia and possibly elsewhere. With such amazing accomplishments achieved already, who knows how many more lives the Bergums can change in Sub-Saharan Africa? I encourage our Norwegian fans to follow the Bergum family’s progress on their website and Facebook page.
A beautiful new online home for our African Bazaar; our numerous individual, foundation, and corporate donors; creative clean water champions; and, of course, our friends at VOSS Water all helped us progress in our mission for another year.
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; pro-bono PR and events management from Jet Fuel PR, our pro-bono counsel at Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman; VOSS’ marketing agencies Addiction and Tenthwave; McGladrey & Pullen; immeasurable video support from Castle Court Images; and our tireless Board and event committee members.
This is all to say that 2012 was another outstanding year and we have all of you to thank for it. We’ve got great plans in the works for our fifth anniversary in 2013 and encourage you to keep in touch through our website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, or by signing up for our mailing lists. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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, once again, we thank you for your support.
Kara Gerson, Executive Director