Safe Water Network hosted its inaugural Water for All Ball, its largest fundraising event to date, on October 23, 2019. The event attracted a diverse crowd of more than 200 people, including corporate CEOs, politicians, celebrities, media, and leaders from the international water sector. These esteemed guests came to the event, hosted at New York City’s McKittrick Hotel, to learn more about the global water crisis and how Safe Water Network is taking the small water enterprise model to scale. A number of notable guests were in attendance, including American Gangster actress Carla Gugino and famed Indian actor Anupam Kher. The event was considered by all to be a resounding success, with supporters raising $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 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).
Guests were treated to performances by celebrated musicians 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" (which reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100), and is currently a judge on the Fox musical competition show The Masked Singer. While backstage, Thicke took time to congratulate Safe Water Network and Paul Newman for the important work that the organization does.
Cory Booker, New Jersey senator and presidential hopeful, greeted the audience in a video message that emphasized the importance of safe water.
Safe Water Network would like to thank the many volunteers that contributed their time to this event, as well as the following event sponsors who helped make the evening a success: