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Safe Water Network hosted its inaugural Water for All Ball, its largest fundraising event to date, on October 23, 2019 at New York City’s McKittrick Hotel. The event attracted a diverse crowd of more than 200 people, including corporate CEOs, politicians, celebrities, media, and leaders from the international water sector. The event raised $1 million dollars to further Safe Water Network’s mission of reaching those most in need of safe water.
The festivities opened with remarks by the evening’s Event Chair, Robert De Niro, who spoke of his friendship with Safe Water Network’s co-founders Paul Newman and John Whitehead, and reflected on how the organization’s work is carrying on their legacy. In his remarks, De Niro argued that “there are rights that logic and humanity tell us should be universal—among them are freedom, healthcare, clean air, a robust environment, sufficient food, and safe water for drinking and hygiene.”
Safe Water Network CEO Kurt Soderlund welcomed guests, sharing the many milestones that Safe Water Network has marked since its founding, and provided examples of how the organization is now leveraging its success to advance its approach for global impact.
The Chairman of Safe Water Network’s Board of Directors, Steve Zide, took the stage to reflect on the unique partnership that gave birth to the not-for-profit, and presented awards to Founding Chair Emeritus Josh Weston, Clea Newman (accepting for her late father, Paul Newman), and David Earls (accepting for the extended family of John Whitehead).
The evening concluded with performances by Norah Jones and Robin Thicke. Jones, who launched her solo music career in 2002 with the release of Come Away with Me, offered a fusion of jazz, country, blues, folk, and pop. Thicke rose to international fame in 2013 with his single “Blurred Lines,” and is currently a judge on the Fox musical competition show The Masked Singer. Cory Booker, U.S. Senator from New Jersey and presidential hopeful, greeted the audience in a video message that emphasized the importance of safe water.