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When Matt and Danelli Scott wanted to start donating to Lifewater Canada each month, they knew they didn’t have much money to spare. The Calgary couple have two young children and all the same financial challenges that face thousands of other Canadian families.
One of those challenges was how to pay for a second vehicle so Matt could get to and from Alberta Health Services in northwest Calgary where he works in the medical supplies procurement department. Matt was always glad to ride his bicycle to work on sunny summer days but that didn’t sound very pleasant during Calgary’s typically five- or six-month winters when temperatures can often drop below -30C.
However, Matt and Danelli were determined to make significant monthly donations to Lifewater, even if it hurt. So they opted against buying that second car and instead Matt began biking to work year-round, even during the coldest, darkest winter days. The thousands of dollars he and Danelli are saving each year in gas, maintenance, and insurance costs have been redirected to people in Africa and Haiti who urgently need safe water.
“We strongly believe in the work Lifewater is doing,” says Matt, while vowing to continue his year-round riding through future winters. “Clean water is essential to people’s survival, and we know there are millions of people who don’t have it. Lifewater is providing that water in a very cost-effective manner.”
The Christian couple first learned about Lifewater while doing online research to identify a water-focused charity to support. They learned Lifewater has been ranked as one of the top 10 most impactful charities in Canada by Charity Intelligence for four consecutive years.
Factors that play an important part in Lifewater’s consistently high ranking include our insistence on a dedicated page on our website for each completed water project (10,500 so far). Each page features technical data about the project, including GPS coordinates, plus photos, a brief profile of the benefiting community, and a thank-you letter from its local leaders.
The Lifewater website also has an “Impact” section where there are heart-warming stories about children and adults whose lives have been transformed through the gift of safe water. But in addition, this section includes a variety of graphs and statistics showing how a new or restored well can transform lives. The information includes on a yearly and long-term basis:
Charity Intelligence says its top 10 charities deliver average returns of almost $7 for every $1 donated and are “a breed apart from the over 800 Canadian charities we report on and rate.”
When Lifewater donors invest in a water project, they also receive a “project certificate” – a one-page document that includes the name of the benefiting community, and a photo of grateful residents.
"Seeing the photos that Lifewater sends us leaves us feeling so happy that our donations are making a big impact," Danelli says.
Matt downplays the personal sacrifices he’s made to enable his family to support Lifewater, saying even the chilliest bike rides to and from work are worth it when he thinks about the potentially life-saving impact he and Danelli are having Africa and Haiti.
“Yes, those mornings in the winter are cold. But then I just think about how hot (and dry) it might be where people are still waiting for clean water. They need a well more than I need a warm car to get to work!”
He and Danelli were hesitant to be profiled as Lifewater donors when we first approached them. They feared their story might be perceived as boasting. They eventually agreed because, Matt says, “maybe others could be inspired to save money in some area of their lives to allow others access to safe water.”