Tag Archives: North Carolina

Wine to Water

I enjoy wine!  A nice cold white wine on a warm summer night or a red wine to warm me from the inside on a cool winter evening.  Actually, I am enjoying a glass from a local vineyard right now.  So, when I found a non-profit that uses wine to make a difference, I was intrigued. 

When Doc Hendley was in college at North Carolina State University, he was working as a bartender and looking for a way to make a lasting impact on the world.  Once he discovered the magnitude of the world’s water crisis, he began to help in the only way he knew how, pouring drinks and playing music.  He held several events he called “Wine to Water” nights at the bar he worked at and with the help of his friends and regulars at the bar he raised money.  After six months, he took a trip to Darfur, Sudan to fight the water crisis first hand.  After he returned he founded Wine to Water as an official 501c3 nonprofit in Boone, North Carolina in 2007 proving you do not have to be a celebrity to make a difference. You simply must have enough courage to take the first step and the passion to keep going.

WIne to Water

Wine to Water is a unique organization because of its origins in a bar.  A CEO may be enjoying a drink at the bar next to a mechanic and through this organization they can come together for the same goal of fighting the world’s water crisis. 

The mission of Wine to Water is to provide clean water to people in need around the world through the most sustainable methods possible.  They believe that the relationship they form in the process is just as important as the end result, so they strive to work with local people for each project they facilitate.  This helps them cultivate a lasting relationship and leave the local community with the knowledge and tools to continue the work that was started by their organization.

In 2009, Wine to Water expanded by starting their own wine label.  They currently have 5 varieties available through a partnership with the Bliss Family Vineyards in Mendocino County, California.  Approximately $7 from each bottle sold is donated to the Wine to Water mission to fight the water crisis in countries such as Sudan, India, Cambodia, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Haiti.

Wine to Water has reached over 100,000 people with clean water.  Each of their projects is different and requires a different method to achieve the maximum impact.  Some of their methods include deep and shallow wells, hand-pump well repair, ceramic water filters, bio-sand water filters, rainwater harvest tanks, latrine installation, and hygiene education programs.  One example of a recent project in Haiti is a partnership with FilturePure for a ceramic water filter factory run by local Haitians.

How can you help?

  • You can host your own Wine to Water event at a local bar, restaurant, or home.  A typical event involves a wine tasting and a discussion about the world’s water crisis.  You can download a variety of tools to help plan and run your event on their website.    
  • You can purchase wines through to help support their mission.
  • You can also make donations directly to the organization or their specific projects on their website.

You can learn more about the Wine to Water organization on their website,  You can also connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Related Posts: Nisha Varghese and Shoeman Water Projects

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Posted by on September 13, 2012 in Nonprofit Organization


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Sow Much Good

Sow Much Good

It is harvest time for home gardeners.  Several of my Facebook friends have been posting pictures of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and more that they have picked from their gardens.  Not everyone has the ability to garden in their yards or have easy access to fresh produce.  Today’s organization is helping those living in one urban area get more fresh fruits and vegetables. 

In 2008, Robin Emmons decided to plant a few extra rows in her garden for her brother and others living in his mental health facility.  She had seen her brother’s health decline while he was being treated for his mental disorder and she felt it was due to his consumption of canned and sugary foods.  This was all the facility could provide since they were unable to afford fresh produce on their non-profit budget.  After Robin’s donations of fresh fruits and vegetables, her brother’s physical health improved dramatically as did the health of others at the facility.  Robin knew this probably happened in other places and she decided to do something about it.  This was the birth of her Charlotte, North Carolina based non-profit named Sow Much Good.

Sow Much Good is a 100% volunteer organization. Without volunteers manning the farm stands on Saturdays, people living in urban food deserts would not have access to healthy, affordable produce.

Sow Much Good believes that everyone has the right to clean and nutritionally dense food.  Eating fresh fruits and vegetables can help reduce health issues such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.  The organization’s mission is to provide produce in underserved communities while teaching its residents how to grow and prepare their own fruits and vegetables.  They do this with hands on labor of their volunteers.  Even their executive director can be found working with other volunteers planting, weeding, and watering their three garden sites.  They then sell the fresh produce they harvest at farm stands at a low cost to people living in urban food deserts (areas without a full service grocery store). 

Company volunteer days are ways for corporations to be involved with Sow Much Good’s three micro farm sites.

Sow Much Good partners with landscapers, gardeners, farmers and community groups, and others to further their mission.   Through these partnerships, workshops have been held to show others how to grow gardens.  These workshops include information from nutritionists, growers, master gardeners and others.  A small 100 square foot garden can provide a family up to $700 worth of fresh produce per year and even a small garden can make a difference to those unable to purchase fresh produce nearby.

How can you help?

  • If you live in the Charlotte, North Carolina area, you can volunteer at one of their three gardening sites or at their farm stands.  You can find a list of local volunteer opportunities on their website.
  • They also seek monetary and in-kind donations to further their mission.  You can learn more about these opportunities on their website

You can learn more about the Sow Much Good organization on their website,  You can also connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Related posts: Hands for Harvest and Open Arms of Minnesota


Posted by on September 11, 2012 in Nonprofit Organization


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Headbands of Hope

Hair is important to girls.  Before a recent haircut, my daughter told me she didn’t want hair a boy haircut.  When I was in high school, I had pretty short hair for a while.  My part time job at the time required me to wear a hat and I was called a boy more than once.  Today’s organization is helping girls who have lost their hair still feel girly and pretty.

Headbands of Hope is on a mission to spread hope in all girls, one headband at a time.  They are located in Charlotte, North Carolina and their headbands are manufactured in Bismarck, North Dakota.  The organization was founded by Jessica Ekstrom after she interned with the Make-A-Wish Foundation in 2011.  She met girls who lost their hair due to chemotherapy treatments and loved to wear girly headbands to still feel pretty and keep their feminine identity.  Wigs can be awkward and uncomfortable and hats are not that girly, so a headband is a great way to boost their spirits when they looked in the mirror.  You can read the touching wish story that inspired Jessica here

Headbands of Hope

Jessica is also an inspiration to girls because she started Headbands of Hope when she was just 20 years old.  She says, “Hopefully my story shows people that it’s never too early to follow your dreams.”  While she admits there are challenges to running an organization while also focusing on school and keeping a social life, she continues, “I wouldn’t have wanted to start it any other way.  I can say I’ve helped hundreds of girls and started a fashion trend that makes a difference, all before I get my [college] diploma.”

Headbands of Hope has a variety of headbands for girls and women on their website.  For each headband purchased, $1 is donated to the St Baldrick’s Foundation to fund life-saving childhood cancer research.  In addition, headbands are donated to hospitals for girls undergoing treatment.  They work with St. Baldricks to select hospitals or take suggestions by e-mailing  You can read one volunteer’s story of bringing headbands to a hospital here

In a recent interview on the Bellaspire Blog, a young headband recipient named Tori said, “I like headbands because my head is bald! It makes me look pretty and the headbands are soft and don’t hurt my head.”  Tori’s favorite headband is the one named after her, Totally Tori.

How can you help? 

  • Purchase headbands via their website or through a retail location.
  • If you are a retailer and would like to carry Headbands of Hope, you can contact Jessica at
  • You can also spread the word about their mission on social media and sharing with friends. 
  • You can also find out more about becoming a Hope representative by contacting Jessica.

Learn more about Headbands of Hope on their website,  You can also connect with them on Twitter and Facebook.

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Posted by on August 29, 2012 in Nonprofit Organization


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