Greenwood Elementary School third-grader Josie Droz, like many kids her age, likes to run lemonade stands. But not long ago she decided that the $30 she raised in one day could be used to help others.
“I thought I could do something better with that money,” she said.
So she did some online research and discovered that millions of people around the world don’t have access to clean water. Her father connected her with an old friend, Jan Kline, who is vice president of Water Access Now, a local charity that has built more than 100 wells in Ghana.
Since each well costs $10,000 to construct, Josie set her sights higher than her usual lemonade stand and created a charity called Josie’s Well, and solicited funds at our neighborhood’s big annual artwalk in May, and through numerous other fundraisers.
Josie and her dad walked around to neighborhood businesses asking for help. Herkimer Coffee donated paper cups and The Ridge Pizza let her set up shop out front for two days in May. Umpqua Bank set up an information station and collected donations. Josie poured free water while asking for donations, raising $640 that weekend.
“Which was a lot better than the lemonade stand!” she said proudly. “I didn’t expect to raise anywhere near that. I got some big donations.”
Josie and her little brother, Grayson, fundraising for Josie’s Well. Photos courtesy of Ken Droz.
Hazel Salon’s stylists hosted another fundraiser that raised more than $1,000; Stoup Brewing also held a fundraiser. Josie also set up Water for Water for Africa stands at the Greenwood Car Show, Green Lake Starbucks, Woodland Park Zoo, Greenwood Elementary Yard Sale, and has even washed cars to raise money for her well.
Water Access Now board member Ercenk Kerestaci was so impressed with Josie’s activism that he promised to match $5,000, for the $10,000 total to build one well.
Eight-year-old Josie said a lot of her friends helped her out with fundraising, plus her school and her family.
“I drive her around and make sure she’s safe, standing outside for hours at her stands, setting up appointments, logistics like making signs,” her father, Ken, said. “Josie’s really done the work of raising the money. I keep it organized.”
She’s raised about $1,000 towards her next well, and hopes to raise all $10,000 without a match.
“I want to be known for building wells,” she said of her future plans. “I want to have a big charity that’s made over 100 wells.”
Josie will speak at Water Access Now’s fundraiser in Woodinville this Saturday, where she will receive her $5,000 match and give them her final donation to build the well.
You can read more about Josie’s Well and donate on her blog.