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Meet Jennifer Rice of Wells Bring Hope in Bel Air

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Rice.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Joining the team of Wells Bring Hope was a natural fit for me. A native Angeleno, I lived the last thirty years in Washington, DC and Tunisia. This past year I returned to Los Angeles and am still settling in.

What attracted me to this LA-based nonprofit that funds the drilling of water wells in Niger? EVERYTHING!!

Before retiring from the International Monetary Fund, I chaired the IMF’s Civic Program Advisory Committee which reviewed grant requests from nonprofits. This committee taught me the best practices for nonprofits and the importance of (1) having a focused mission, (2) quantifying the impact of grants, (3) ensuring sustainability, and (4) managing internal administrative costs. I saw the positive impact that nonprofits had on development at the grassroots level.

During multiple assignments in Tunis at the African Development Bank and at the civil society, Almadanya, I learned from my colleagues the importance of clean water as a basic human need that we often do not consider in the US. In fact, one of the missions of the AfDB is to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”.

Mentoring girls and empowering them through education and opportunity are constants in my life. Wells Bring Hope’s goals to drill wells includes these benefits; In Niger, girls were the ones responsible for collecting safe water when there are no wells. The girls’ time is used to collect safe water, not to go to school. After the hand wells are available, the girls go to school. And, education changes their lives.

As Director of Development, I work with a diverse, talented and socially conscience group who knows the importance of volunteering for meaningful causes while finishing their schooling, developing their careers and starting their families. The corporate development team seeks companies and organizations that want to support a US nonprofit that is changing the lives of people in Niger by drilling wells.

Now, I am back in Los Angeles and able to apply my passion for Africa, helping others and education by volunteering at Wells Bring Hope.

Has it been a smooth road?
Having retired from an international organization, my personal challenge has been acclimating to the lean business model of a virtual team. Our volunteers are patient and available to explain the use of technology to work as a team. I am slow to learn, but I am learning!

Another challenge is developing long-term partnerships with companies that want to support nonprofits which focus on water issues. There are many nonprofits promoting clean water projects so communicating our message of how we differentiate ourselves is important. Unlike other organizations that our drilling wells, Wells Bring Hope is focused on one of the poorest countries in the world, Niger. We have partnered with one of the most reputable organizations operating in Africa, World Vision. In ten years, we have improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of Nigeriens, and tens of thousands of girls have done to school. Now, we are introducing micro-finance projects for women to help them start businesses. ALL wells are still working and being used. 100% of all funds donated go directly to fund the drilling of wells. Our website clearly tells our story, and the lives we are changing.

The next challenge for me is implement sustainable giving models. Young people are passionate about the use of social entrepreneurship and social media to introduce our message to others. We are also developing business partnerships with more creative win-win models. Today, businesses want to support nonprofits with transparent measurable results, and they want their customers to know how their choices of support synchronize with the mission and values of their companies. Wells Bring Hope offers this type of partnership.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Wells Bring Hope – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Our story, once known, speaks for itself. Wells Bring Hope started organically in 2008 by inspiring photos taken by Gil Garcetti of girls carrying water in West Africa. At that time, a group of LA women decided to make a difference by funding the drilling of wells so these girls could go to school. A simple idea but not always easy to execute. Thanks to its founder, Barbara Goldberg, Wells Bring Hope established a partnership with World Vision, ensuring the on-the-ground management of this international effort. With Barbara’s organization and her team of volunteers (with one paid employee), Wells Bring Hope has successfully funded the drilling of more than 500 wells in ten years. More important is that ALL wells are still operational, thanks to our program with World Vision.

A unique aspect of this 501c3 is that 100% of all donations go directly to funding wells. Period. Administrative costs (one employee and operating costs) are generously funded by a private donor. Therefore, every $5,600 drills another well in Niger which serves a village of 500-1000 people.

Compared to others providing clean water, we are unique in that we chose Niger, a land-locked aquiferous country that is one of the poorest in Africa. A well requires expensive drilling to access the clean water hundreds of feet beneath the surface, but it is there in abundance. We have been operating ten years with utter transparency and success. All our wells are still working. Our partner maintains a presence to ensure the sustainability of the projects that are funded. We are improving the lives of hundreds of thousands of people with better sanitation, access to clean water, and opportunity for girls to go to school.

September 23, Wells Bring Hope is hosting its 10th Anniversary Fundraiser in Los Angeles. This event is particularly special because it is a moment of reflection and an opportunity to reset goals. Indeed, we have exceeded our goals and expectations from when we started ten years ago. The team is now inspired to continue our successes by helping hundreds of thousands more in Niger. Those who wish to learn more about Wells
Bring Hope are welcome to contact me.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Los Angeles has changed a lot since I last lived here in the 1980s. One of the best changes has been the visible increased diversity which I prefer. I am also impressed with the range of cultural events, trend-setting activities and healthy lifestyles that LA promotes. Best of all, being in LA gives me the chance to spend more time with my family.

One of the frustrating ‘dislikes’ about the city is the traffic. I have managed this by living in the walking community of Playa Vista which is similar to living in Georgetown.

Pricing:

  • $5,600 per well (total cost is $11,200 per well but thanks to 50-50 partnership with World Vision, our cost is $5,600)

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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