As African Well Fund nears the $1 million fundraising mark, we've asked supporters to share their stories of why they give. In this installment, AWF board member Lara Wineman shares her reasons why.
How did you first learn about the African Well Fund?
Back in 2002 I watched the MTV documentary with Bono and Secretary [of the Treasury Paul] O'Neill in Africa. The one part that stuck out to me the most was when it was mentioned that $1,000 could build a well for a village of hundreds and completely change their lives in extraordinary ways. I was very active on the U2 forums at the time and discovered others had had the same segment jump out at them. We were all on the same wavelength that if we could find a handful of people to donate a modest amount we could build a well.
Why did you want to support AWF?
Raising such a relatively small amount of money to save so many lives was my biggest motivation. It was the first time in my life where I really felt like I could make a difference even though I'm not rich or well-known. I did not know much about clean water issues at the time but, after researching them, I was appalled with the statistics about how many people in this world in this day and age do not have access to clean water and what a large percentage of those people are in sub-Saharan Africa. I really had taken my station in life for granted up until then and, after finding out that this basic need is needed so desperately, I couldn't not do something.
What are some specific things you've done to support AWF's mission to fund clean water and sanitation projects in sub-Saharan Africa?
In the beginning I helped develop the AWF website as well as create the logo and branding of the fund. Throughout the years I've also been responsible for designing specific online and printed fundraising materials and merchandise. My most-fulfilling contribution, I feel, is creating Bono's birthday card every year from all the heartfelt and inspiring messages his fans and AWF donors leave through that fundraiser.
Lara Wineman (left) presented Bono with his latest birthday card prior to U2's recent concert in Nashville.
Have you introduced your family, friends or community to AWF? How?
I have talked endlessly to friends, family and colleagues who let me about the AWF's history, mission and need to for clean water. I've been invited to talk a handful of times to schools and have done so. Through Facebook I have donated my birthday cause to AWF, as well as reposted news stories and other related posts.
Why do you continue to support AWF?
Because we've only made a small dent in bringing clean water and sanitation to the population of Africa. The percentage of those without the basic right of clean water is still too high to live in good conscious with.