Saturday night a wonderful group gathered at The Wooster Street Social Club (yes, also known as TLC’s New York Inc tattoo parlor) in support of Sophia Sunwoo and Josh Braunstein’s start-up/non-profit Water Collective. Water Collective is dedicated to picking up where many charities leave off when it comes to bringing fresh water sources to those without. Growing light is being shed on the flaws in the existing water-aid system in that while various non-profits establish potable water sources they have neither the funds, nor the manpower to oversee long-term maintenance: without which, the solutions quickly dry up. Water Collective wants to change this by making a lifetime guarantee to every community with which they partner to ensure access to drinking water is both reliable and permanent.
Sunwoo first conceived of the idea while working on her senior thesis at Parsons that focused on building a disaster-prevention program on a micro and macro scale for developing communities. This is where she was confronted with the inefficiencies of many water charities and the extent to which global water technologies have been abandoned and broken. Rather than starting from scratch Water Collective’s approach involves improving and repairing what is already there. This means that each case is different and each community receives the specific and special attention they require to make a lasting, sustainable change. Saturday’s fundraiser was the columniations of a two-month long Call to Action Campaign (the collective’s debut project) to raise $40,000 dollars for their efforts in Uganda and marked the realization of that goal.
ExchangeMyPhone was a proud sponsor of the event and very much agrees with Water Collective’s approach to reuse and refurbishment, physically in the restoration of water systems that already exist but also ideologically in their aim to redefine the scope of what a charity does. We also admire the creativity of vision both co-founders share though they could not have come from more different backgrounds: Sunwoo has created and sold a successful clothing label while Braunstein focused on non-profit fundraising. This duo has a chemistry that defines Water Collective and was palpable on Wooster Street where friends, family, new supporters and other entrepreneurs exchanged ideas and offered support to a cause upon whose worth and urgency we can all agree.
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