Last weekend, a friend and I made our way down to Brookfield place, a mall situated under the shadow of the new One World Trade Center. This mall has stores like Prada, Kate Spade, and Louis Vuitton, but that’s not what we were there for. Nope, we came for one simple reason: helping end the water crisis.

Charity:Water is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to eradicate the human water crisis through various methods including providing filtration or drilling for wells in impoverished places. We were at Brookfield place because they had created an exhibition where people could really encounter the water crisis first hand, in virtual reality. We put on our VR headsets and entered into the story of Selam, a 13-year-old girl who has been impacted by the water crisis. Instead of being able to invest in her own education, which is her passion, Selam has to work all day getting water, as well as assisting in her family's daily tasks. In the end, we see the beautiful impact a Charity:Water well has on her entire community, improving social and health conditions.

Charity:Water is groundbreaking (pun very intended) because of their structure. A big question that has arisen the past couple of years is how credible the charity is. How much of my money is going into the pockets of corporate as opposed to the cause I’m trying to help? Charity:Water runs differently because 100% of donated funds go to water causes, always. Their overhead came from a different set of donors.

Charity:Water is part of a myriad of “fashionable” NPOs, where they run it like an actual business, realizing the importance of how they present themselves through advertising, media, and grassroots. One of the first examples we see of this is Invisible Children in their campaign Kony 2012. They utilized YouTube and media as a platform to extend their reach, and broadened their influence by being interactive, having supporters print out posters and post them around cities to bring awareness to the atrocities of the Lord's Resistance Army in the aftermath of the Rwandan Genocide. Since, dozens of other nonprofits have risen that sell products to raise charitable funds. Now, with a new source of communal investment called crowdfunding, people are able to become a part of even more instances of progress or assist those in need.

With so many avenues to make a change in the world, Charity:Water sticks out in its credibility. Their main avenue of funding is flat donation, and they don’t broadcast emotionally charged ads to manipulate your emotions (cue Sarah McLachlan music). What they do that is successful is inform the public of the need, and allow it to be filled.

Because of the clear need that this organization presents, and because of their integrity, I have decided to donate my 19th birthday to Charity:Water. Please consider donating to the link below! https://my.charitywater.org/marcus-clarke