Isabelle, Katherine and Trinity Adams are sisters from Dallas, Texas, aged 14, 12 and 8, respectively. They raised more than $1.5 million to provide clean water to children in developing countries and have been selected the 2018 CARTER Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy, Group, by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).
The CARTER Award for Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy honors young people with a proven record of exceptional generosity who demonstrate outstanding civic and charitable responsibility and whose philanthropy encourages others to engage on a community, national and/or international level.
Isabelle and Katherine began the project because they wanted to help other girls in countries who didn’t get to go to school because they have to spend their days hauling unclean water into their communities. With their father having taught Isabelle and Katherine origami, and with many origami pieces piling up around the house, the girls decided to sell them to raise funds to build a water well in Ethiopia.
The girls’ original goal was modest — raise $500. But the origami ornaments sold out in just one night. After two months, the sisters had raised more than $10,000, and they’ve never looked back, continuing to use origami to generate funds and awareness for clean water education and funding.
Isabelle and Katherine are co-presidents of Paper For Water, which was formed in 2011, and Trinity, their youngest sister, joined recently as director of marketing. The sisters have dedicated more than 4,000 hours of their time to supporting the organization. They have raised more than $1.5 million and completed more than 160 water projects in 15 countries, including the United States. They have also spoken to thousands of people to increase awareness of water poverty issues around the world.
More than 48,000 individuals now have access to clean water due to the efforts of the three sisters. In those communities now with access to clean water, the infant mortality rate has decreased and in places with Ebola, the disease’s transmission rate has also decreased due to the health and sanitation training that is implemented prior to well placement. Thousands of children are now going to school and playing like children should instead of hauling water, and adults too now have more productive hours to grow food, start businesses and other activities.