As African Well Fund nears the $1 million fundraising mark, we’ve asked supporters to share their stories of why they give. In this installment, Paola Palumbi Yeager, AWF board member and auction coordinator, shares her reasons why.
How did you first learn about the African Well Fund?
I first learned about the African Well Fund in 2004 on Zootopia, the online community at There was a mention of AWF in the Hearts and Minds section of the sight. I checked out their website and sent an e-mail to the info address saying I wanted to volunteer.
Why did you want to support AWF?
I used to volunteer at a food bank in the city where I lived but as I got older my job (and life) became more complicated. I found that I no longer had time during “normal hours” to volunteer my time. Then I discovered AWF. I had really never thought about it before but was impressed how building one well could change the lives of so many people. The virtual grassroots aspect of the group fit my crazy hours–I was able to help out sitting in my basement in my pajamas at midnight.
What are some specific things you’ve done to support AWF’s mission to fund clean water and sanitation projects in sub-Saharan Africa?
I was an event planner/fundraiser in my former life so when I came on board as a volunteer I used my knowledge of eBay and [its] charity giving program to create the annual “Got Water?” auction which takes place every November. I was then asked to join the board of directors, as they say, the rest is history.
Have you introduced your family, friends or community to AWF? How?
I have a blog where I post about AWF and our fundraisers. I also talk about AWF and our mission to as many people as will listen. A lot of people tune out, but I also think a lot of people listen and stop to think about how they might be able to create change in this insane world.
Why do you continue to support AWF?
The reality is our board members and volunteers have “real jobs,” families and limited time, yet still we have been able to create some real change in the lives of thousands of people. What an amazing achievement! Imagine what we could do it AWF was our full-time job. Also, when I joined as a volunteer in 2004 I never dreamed that the members of the AWF would become more than just colleagues; we are a family. We are also a group of people that truly believe in the power of change and in the notion that access to clean water is a basic human right. Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world–indeed it is the only thing that ever does.” This is the embodiment of the AWF and this is why I will continue to support the African Well Fund.
If you’d like to tell African Well Fund why you give, please e-mail To make a donation to support future African Well Fund projects, please click here.