News Feb 5, 2019

Jacobs Employee Contributions Secure Water Resources for Developing Countries

The World Economic Forum listed water crises as one of the top ten global risks both in terms of likelihood and impact for 2019. Discover how we’re helping secure a world where no one suffers or dies from a water or sanitation-related disease.

Black child in colorful dress carrying water

In our first-ever Water For People employee giving campaign, Jacobs donated more than $250,000 to the non-profit organization based in Denver, Colorado, whose mission is to facilitate the development of safe water, improved sanitation and health and hygiene education in nine countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Jacobs’ contributions came from staff from all over the world and will help advance the non-profit organization’s mission of promoting the development of high-quality drinking water and sanitation services, sustained by strong communities, businesses, governments and staff volunteers. By applying simple and sustainable water and sanitation technologies, involving and empowering local communities and focusing on health and hygiene education, Water For People is creating a world where all people have access to safe drinking water and sanitation; a world where no one suffers or dies from a water or sanitation-related disease.

Jacobs supported the employee contributions with a $50,000 corporate donation, demonstrating the firm’s global commitment to safe drinking water for everyone forever. The firm’s contribution brought the entire donation to nearly $260,000, surpassing the overall goal of donating $250,000 in the two-month campaign.

Employees who donated online shared why they were contributing to Water For People. Here are a few of the many great responses:

  • "Well done for the initiative. This is a very important and touching project and I am proud I work in a company with ethics that contributes to the society. Congratulations for the people who actually work on it. Wish for the best!" – employee from Glasgow, U.K.
  • "Jacobs has the technical capabilities to end the water crisis that so many around the world are living with on a daily basis. As a geologist with a background in groundwater supply development and a certified well driller, this issue is personal with me!" – employee from Massachusetts, U.S.
  • "I have seen first-hand the overwhelming need for clean water and sanitation in developing nations during my travel and Peace Corps service. I am proud to work for a company that supports Water for People." – employee from California, U.S.
  • "I value that Jacobs is providing me a way to make difference." – employee from South Carolina, U.S.
  • "Water is such a basic need and so many of us take it for granted. Nothing can be achieved without it. A reliable source can change so much. This donation is being made with my three children in mind. I hope it will make it possible for the children of others to achieve great things putting their imaginations to work when freed from concentrating on water." – employee from Colorado, U.S.
  • "In my early years, I have experienced what is described in the introductory message (i.e. people travelling long distance for water) and so I know what it means! No child in this day and age should experience that. Bonne courage with your campaign!" – employee from France

“We appreciate the enthusiasm and generosity staff showed for our first combined Jacobs employee giving campaign, and I am humbled by the generosity,” said Jacobs COO and President of Buildings, Infrastructure and Advanced Facilities Bob Pragada.

In December 2017, Jacobs acquired CH2M, who had a long history of supporting Water For People. In fact, in the early 1980s, Ken Miller, then a CH2M executive, helped create the organization. CH2M was also Water For People’s largest workplace giving contributor. Since 2003, CH2M had donated more than $2 million to Water For People via its employee giving campaigns.

“We are delighted to be able to continue the tradition of a Water For People employee giving campaign at Jacobs,” added Pragada. “Our donations allow Water For People to provide complete water coverage for every family, every school and every clinic in the nine countries where they work—bringing everyone together to make a difference.”  

Water For People is Jacobs largest global employee giving campaign. This year, employees from more than 130 project and office locations donated through payroll deduction, online and through office events that included a silent auction, walk for water, brown bag presentations and bake sales. A recent article by Water For People’s CEO provides further proof that the WFP employee-engagement model is a win–win–win for partner companies, volunteers and the people who benefit from WFP's efforts to address global water challenges.

Two Jacobs employees have even been selected to share their expertise and serve on a Water For People World Water Corps technical volunteering assignment, and will work to rehabilitate wastewater treatment facilities in Bolivia that have fallen into disrepair. The research and planning portion of the assignment has already begun, and the team will travel to Bolivia in early February for implementation.