East Dallas girls Isabella and Katherine Adams, age 9 and 6, won Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy awards from the Greater Dallas Chapter of Fundraising Professionals for their origami-for-safe-water efforts.

Isabelle and Katherine Adams look so sweet, but these kiddos are aggressive and straight-business when it comes to fundraising.

Third and first graders at Providence Christian School, Isabelle and Katherine started making origami at an early age under the tutelage of their father, Ken Adams, a half-Japanese doctor with a passion for the Asia art that involves fashioning delicate figures from paper. After watching a video about Ethiopian people’s struggle to find enough clean water, the girls, encouraged by dad and mom, Deborah, decided to sell origami ornaments and donate the proceeds to Living Water International, a nonprofit that brings clean water to 24 water-deprived countries.

They made close to $1,000 at their first art sale. Inspired by the initial success, they went to work, often for several hours a day. When profits reached $9,200, they bought a well in Ethiopia — that’s H20 for 2,000 people. Another $18,000 and they bought three wells in India, enough to sustain an orphanage that will sell and barter the extra water for food and other necessities.

These kids are still raising money for water through origami, and they have raised money for Children’s Medical Center, Parkland’s Pediatric Burn Camp and volunteered at a local nursing home.

The sisters recently spoke at the New York Chapter of the United Nations. Say Philanthropy Day organizers, “They serve as an inspiration to a person of any age who would like to make a difference.”

The young ladies as well as several other philanthropy award winners will be honored at a KERA/AFP luncheon later this month.


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