We take it for granted: Turn on the tap, water runs. It’s unlimited and cheap. “For a large part of the world, that’s a foreign concept,” Matt Delzell says. That’s why Delzell, a 30-year-old M Streets resident, formed a nonprofit called Millions from One. The company raises money to drill wells in places where clean, potable water is as scarce as hundred-dollar bills. Delzell and his partner, Yield Clothing Co. founder Jeff Lucas, raise money through the sale of $10 leather bracelets. Five dollars from every sale goes to well drilling, and it takes about 1,000 Yield bracelets to drill a well.
Since the company started in September 2009, it has provided funds to drill four wells — two in India, one in Uganda and one in Peru. Millions to One has rehabilitated wells in Haiti and Sierra Leone, and raised enough to start drilling six more wells soon. Millions from One doesn’t spend money on fundraisers, advertising or marketing. He relies on word-of-mouth, online social networking and a few celebrity endorsements to spread the message. Delzell is a group account coordinator for the Marketing Arm, and he negotiates celebrity endorsement deals for a living. So far, Joel McHale of “The Soup” and “Community”, Olympic gymnast Nastia Liukin and former NBA star Scottie Pippen have worn the bracelets. The company’s message takes just a few seconds to explain. “You can’t live without water. No one can,” Delzell says. It’s a natural resource, and in general, the wells are inexpensive to drill. “It’s easy and inexpensive to save people’s lives,” he says. “When people realize they can spend $10 on this bracelet, and their money goes so far, it’s an easy sell.” Starting out, Delzell didn’t know how well Millions from One would do, so he set the bar high. “Our goal is to drill a million wells,” he says.
Learn more about Millions from One or buy a bracelet at millionsfromone.com.
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