Pine River Capital Management Amongst Benefactors for Innovative and Transparent Clean Water Charity

The Earth is 71 percent water. Up to 60 percent of the human adult body is water. From the Nile River in ancient Egypt to the Thames in London, for thousands of years the locations of our civilizations have been determined by the accessibility of water.

For many of us getting clean, drinkable water is as simple as turning on a tap, but worldwide one person in nine lacks access to safe water, totaling 785 million people. Additionally, water for sanitation purposes can help the two billion people in the world who lack access to a toilet. Like water, toilets are critical, preventing the spread of disease and providing health, privacy and safety.

The World Economic Forum has reported in 2020 that the water crisis is the number five global risk in terms of impact to society. The simple solution of providing quick and easy access to safe water has the power to change millions of lives, especially those of women and children who are disproportionately affected by lack of access. As the ones who are often responsible for collecting safe water, the time and energy expended to do so cuts into time that could be spent at school or working, contributing to the cyclical nature of poverty.

Thankfully there are many organizations who are working against this crisis, but in the vast landscape of non-profits it can be difficult to know where monetary contributions will do the most good, and which charitable organizations are the most trustworthy and provide the most value.

One poll has found that one in three Americans lack faith in charities to spend their funds well, and more than 60 percent of people worldwide say they don’t believe that groups can accomplish their missions. The solution to this problem is also perhaps the simplest: more transparency. By being transparent about their partnership and goals, disclosing who is benefiting from a project or campaign, disclosing how much they are receiving and precisely how and when funds are being raised and disbursed, organizations have a chance to break the cycle of mistrust within the nonprofit sector.

One of the core value of the nonprofit charity: water is transparency. Furthermore, charity: water is committed to ensuring that 100 percent of the public donations they receive go directly to fund their clean water projects, even going so far as to pay out of their operating account any credit card fees deducted from donations. The nonprofit’s business model sees their clean water projects and the operational side of their business differently and treats them as such, separating out purposes, fundraising goals and even bank accounts to ensure that every public dollar donated goes directly to their charitable cause. In order to cover the inevitable overhead costs such as office rent and staff salaries, they rely on private donors who commit multi-year support specifically for operations funding. By separating out funding in this way, each donor public or private knows the exactly where their funds are going

Websites such as Charity Navigator and GuideStar allow people to learn more information about charities before making a contribution and have significantly changed the expectation of transparency within nonprofits as a result. In one study, researchers from Villanova University and the University of Wisconsin found that charities who earned a seal of transparency from GuideStar gained an average of 53 percent more contributions one year later, evidencing the importance of transparency when it comes to securing much-needed donations. charity: water is a platinum-level GuideStar participant and has a score of 91.5 out of 100 on Charity Navigator, placing it in the four-star category that indicates donors can “give with confidence.” The organization’s active involvement in transparency platforms such as these are just another way in which they show their commitment to full accountability and ensuring that donated funds are being used to their full potential.

As an organization committed to charitable giving, charity: water’s transparency and mission made it a natural selection as the beneficiary of funds from the asset management firm Pine River Capital Management (‘Pine River’). Named after the small lakeside town in Minnesota where it was founded in 2002, Pine River Capital is employee-owned and provides investment solutions to their clients through commingled hedge funds, and bespoke solutions. Wanting to place charitable contributions where they can have the most impact, Pine River has sponsored over 50 water projects for charity: water, including projects related to drilled wells, and piped systems.

The projects undertaken by Pine River and charity: water on average start at $10,000, but can cost $25,000 or more depending on factors such as location and scale. The entire process takes about 21 months, beginning with a lengthy research period in which vetted partners do prep work, get permits and supplies and work with the local communities to ensure long-term sustainability. After the construction of the necessary infrastructure, time is then taken to train the local communities to maintain their new water systems, ensuring self-sufficiency after the project is completed. Finally the project is completed once data collection is done, and a new community that was previously lacking clean water is set up for a better future.

From sponsoring entire water projects like Pine River, to smaller donations by individuals and businesses, every donation to charity: water can help worldwide access to safe water, which is critical to prevent the spread of disease and to providing health, privacy and safety.