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News Release - Nov. 9, 2021

Lifewater ranked among Canada’s 10 most impactful charities for third consecutive year

Organization with no full-time staff consistently called one of the best charities in the country in terms of how much ‘bang for the buck’ donors achieve

Nov. 9, 2021 – Lifewater Canada, a non-profit organization providing safe accessible water to people in Africa and Haiti who urgently need it, has been ranked for the third consecutive year as one of the 10 best charities in Canada for ensuring donations achieve truly meaningful improvement in people’s lives.

The ranking comes from Charity Intelligence, an independent entity that monitors the performance of more than 800 non-profit organizations in Canada. Each year, Charity Intelligence compiles its “Top 10 Impact Charities” list. The 2021 list was released today, and once again, Lifewater was included.

“Some charities create a lot of change with the donations given to them; others have almost nothing to show for the money coming from donors,” says Greg Thomson, Charity Intelligence’s Research Director. “These top 10 have the highest measurable demonstrated impact. Our calculations estimate this group delivers average returns of almost $7 for every $1 donated, compared with overall average returns of only $1-$2 dollars.”

In addition to including Lifewater in its Top 10 overall impact list, Charity Intelligence again included Lifewater among Canada’s top 10 charities focused in 2021 on international relief and development. It also selected Lifewater as Canada’s most impactful charity among those focused on providing water.

“We are honored to be consistently assessed so positively by Charity Intelligence, an organization focused on helping Canadians make intelligent decisions about their charitable giving,” Lifewater president Lynda Gehrels said. “We will continue to focus on keeping our administrative and fundraising costs as low as possible (7.1% in 2020-2021 and 5.9% in 2019-2020) while ensuring that we are accountable in ensuring that every donated dollar helps someone receive safe, accessible water.”

Each project that Lifewater completes is posted on the organization’s website ( – with photos, GPS coordinates, information about the benefiting community, and a thank-you note from community leaders – so donors can conveniently see what impact their support is achieving.

Lifewater also provides regularly updated reports detailing how many people are benefiting from each project, plus cumulative data including total beneficiaries, local economic impact, additional hours in school each month for children who no longer need to walk long distances every day to fetch water, and how many additional hours girls are in the classroom to improve their lives and offer new opportunities.

The U.S. Centre for Disease Control says 780 million people are forced to drink untreated water every day. Someone – usually a child – is dying every 20 seconds from diarrheal diseases (including dysentery and cholera) caused by dirty water and inadequate sanitation.

In response to this tragedy, Lifewater is drilling wells, rehabilitating dormant wells, repairing broken handpumps so wells can be functional again, installing rainwater catchment systems, constructing toilets and handwashing stations, and providing vital health and hygiene training. More than 3.8 million people have benefited since Lifewater was established as a registered Canadian charity in 1997.

About Charity Intelligence:

“Some call Charity Intelligence a charity watchdog,” the organization says. “We see ourselves as research analysts who help Canadian donors give better. Yes, we hold charities to account for the generous support they receive from Canadian donors and expect them to be financially transparent, and yes, we call out exorbitant overhead costs or charities that don’t need more funding. Similarly, each giving season we also call out the best impact charities we’ve found. Charity Intelligence’s reports are independent and objective – charities do not pay for ratings or listing on our website.”

About Lifewater Canada:

The late Jim Gehrels, an Ontario government hydrogeologist, wanted to share his water knowledge to those in need. After a visit to Africa where he witnessed first-hand the urgent need for safe accessible water, he founded Lifewater Canada in 1997. Despite an eye disease that would eventually leave him blind, Gehrels travelled overseas many times to oversee Lifewater’s operations.

Jim’s wife Lynda often travelled and served with him. When Jim passed away in July 2020, Lynda began leading Lifewater. The non-profit Christian charity is headquartered in Lynda’s home in Thunder Bay, ON, and has part-time contract employees who work from their homes in Thunder Bay, in Swift Current, SK, and in Calgary, AB. They oversee water projects in Liberia, Kenya, Nigeria, and Haiti.

For interviews or more information:

Every $1 you give provides a child with safe water for a year!

457 Heather Crescent
Thunder Bay, ON P7E 5L1

+1 807-622-4848
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