I Am Waters Foundation, Inc.

Bringing physical and spiritual hydration to America's homeless

Houston, TX   |  www.iamwaters.org
This organization has not appeared on the IRS Business Master File in a number of months. It may have merged with another organization or ceased operations.
This organization's exempt status was automatically revoked by the IRS for failure to file a Form 990, 990-EZ, 990-N, or 990-PF for 3 consecutive years. Further investigation and due diligence are warranted.

Mission

I Am Waters Foundation's (IAW) mission is to enrich the lives of America's homeless by providing a continuous source of fresh, clean bottled water, delivered with a daily, inspirational message of hope, love and a sense of belonging to the greater community. Through partnerships and strategic alliances with existing facilities that already have a distribution network or services for the homeless (food banks, homeless organizations, shelters, churches), I Am Waters delivers physical and spiritual hydration to homeless men, women and children.

Ruling year info

2009

Principal Officer

Mrs. Elena Davis

Main address

3262 Westheimer Road #229

Houston, TX 77098 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

27-0375247

NTEE code info

Homeless Services/Centers (P85)

Homeless Services/Centers (P85)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's 2015 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress Part 2, there are "1.5 million Americans with no place to call home."

A person's home is not only a place of shelter and comfort, it is also the main source for one of life's essential needs -- water. People without a home rarely have the funds to meet their basic need for water by buying it. Shelters provide water with meals but many shelters also restrict access beyond these meal times. Additionally drinking fountains have disappeared from public places in recent years, eliminating yet another source of water for the homeless. As a result, the number one barrier to clean, safe drinking water in the U.S. is homelessness.

Further, the loss of employment is a major factor as to why a person becomes or remains homeless and there are no effective strategies or programs designed explicitly to find jobs for people experiencing homelessness.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

I Am Waters / I Am Jobs

Proof of Concept: The Fondren Foundation funded a hybrid qualitative and quantitative academic study on the efficacy of IAW’s program in 2016. “When Water Meets a Higher Need: A Study of an Unprecedented Mission” found 72% of homeless respondents reported being thirsty all or most of the time, and 100% of homeless service care providers surveyed acknowledged that dehydration is a problem for people experiencing homelessness.

The study proved that the words on the bottles act as a vehicle for self-improvement and frequently have a psychological impact paralleling that of a “virtual counselor” who stands ready 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When a homeless individual reads and spends time with the word on the bottle, the study revealed that 47% of the respondents showed elevated levels of self-esteem. Increased self-esteem gives rise over time to self-empowerment, leading to constructive and potentially life-altering behavior (e.g. employment, education, housing, stability, and community). One bottle of water with a single word is a thousand different bottles to a thousand different people depending on what each person needs. The existing system has no answer for this personalized connection and empowerment.

Meeting Two Important Needs – Water and a Job: The first level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs encompasses the most important physiological requirements for human survival – air, water, food, clothing and shelter. Without these, the human body cannot function properly and will ultimately fail. When a person no longer has a home, their main source of water disappears. A human being can only survive a few days without water; in extreme heat, death can occur prematurely.

People experiencing homelessness rarely have funds to buy water, and outdoor water fountains are few and far between. The homeless are often unwelcome in public places and may trespass on private property to drink water. While shelters do have indoor plumbing, not all are open daily nor can they meet each person’s need for portable drinking water. IAW’s program remains the only one of its kind in Houston. Methodically and systematically, IAW has taken an evolutionary next step based on the study findings that 47% percent of all homeless respondents reported they are looking for a job.

Loss of employment is a major factor why a person becomes or remains homeless. The biggest gap for service providers in the continuum of care is job placement, which is how I Am Jobs evolved.

How It Works – I Am Waters / I Am Jobs: IAW’s program will distribute 380,160 bottles of its uniquely branded bottled water in two strategic ways. Eight local partner agencies receive their deliveries via the Houston Food Bank. These partners are:
Angela House
The Beacon
Crossroads at Park Place
Healthcare for the Homeless – Houston
Houston Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Team
Harris County Sherriff’s Office’s Homeless Outreach Team
US Vets
Mission of Yahweh

IAW’s study revealed that only 24% of the homeless care providers surveyed have programs to reach the 45% of the homeless that never use the shelter system. As a result, IAW conducts its own street outreach to complete the dual-pronged approach to distribution.

IAW’s program empowers the homeless to begin the process of reintegration into society. However, it is impossible to become a contributing, self-sustainable member of the greater community (i.e., a tax-paying, voting Houstonian) without gainful employment.

I Am Jobs (IAJ) provides a free recruiting service for homeless adults and corporations. IAJ’s development staff builds relationships with local companies and addresses questions prior to submitting candidates for employment. Employee progress and notable accomplishments, salary increases, and duration of employment are tracked.

The IAJ telephone hotline on IAW’s water bottles enables homeless adults an opportunity to call when they are ready. Individuals are assessed for program eligibility, and those who do not qualify are referred to appropriate resources. Vetted candidates are then given an in-depth interview regarding past positions, job skills, and obstacles to employment. IAJ also provides customized mentoring to strengthen the chance for job placement and retention. Job seekers experiencing homelessness have different needs than their domiciled counterparts (i.e., assistance with a shower, a haircut, interview attire), and IAJ connects its candidates with resources where they can properly prepare to re-enter Houston’s workforce.

Candidates are contacted at least once per week until employment is attained. Post-employment communication continues on a bi-weekly basis for 30 days followed by a monthly mentoring call to monitor growth and development. After a full year of employment, the individual has the opportunity to become a Volunteer Mentor for future candidates.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

Texas Homeless Network 2011

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

I Am Waters program is aimed at achieving physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological hydration of the homeless people served by our partners. Thereby improving health, safety, increased trust and bonding of those most in need.

The program is designed for homeless persons in order to empower them to take the first step towards overall health, provide them with new hope for their rehabilitation, and to demonstrate that the community truly does care about their welfare.

IAW also strives to increase public awareness of the plight and identity of the homeless, including the dangers they face due to a lack of safe drinking water, and of how such a problem can be ameliorated.

IAW's program now includes I Am Jobs (IAJ), the only job placement program that finds gainful employment specifically for homeless adults.

We deliver bottles of water with an inspirational word (LOVE, HOPE, PEACE, or DREAM) via Feeding America Food Banks to homeless shelters and homeless service care providers, which in turn will distribute the bottles to the people they serve.

IAW's water bottles include the I Am Jobs hotline number that homeless adults may call when they are ready to seek employment. All calls are responded to within 24 hours. Each individual is assessed to determine program eligibility, and those who do not qualify are referred to appropriate resources. Vetted candidates are then given an in-depth interview in order to learn about their past positions, job skills, and obstacles to employment. Job seekers who are homeless have different needs than those who are domiciled and looking for a job. They may require assistance with a place to shower, a haircut, or interview attire, and I Am Jobs connects candidates with local resources where they can properly prepare to re-enter Houston's workforce. The program also provides customized mentoring which creates a bond that strengthens the chance for meaningful job placement and retention.

We conduct program activities year-round with each partner, and within IAW's general operational and program budgets.

Maintaining the quality of IAW's partnerships through efficient service along with frequent in-person visits and being available after hours for the occasional emergencies has engendered trusting healthy relationships over the past 8 years.

I Am Waters Foundation delivers the bottles of water through Feeding America Food Banks to the homeless shelters and service care providers in its service area. The Water Delivery Program / I Am Jobs not only provides physical and spiritual hydration but also a free recruiting service for homeless adults and corporations. Program development staff builds relationships with local companies and addresses questions prior to submitting candidates for employment. Employee progress and notable accomplishments, salary increases, and duration of employment are tracked.

I Am Waters will continually collaborate with each shelter partner, as well as the Feeding America Food Banks, through visits and phone calls to ensure the program activities are going according to plan.

Research on homeless statistics as well as the partnering organizations will be done on a continual basis in an effort to help bring awareness to the plight of the homeless.

We continue to make progress growing the program and expanding our services. Please see the map of bottles distributed that is in the documents section.

In 2010, we served 8 shelter partners and distributed 93,205 bottles of water. To date, IAW has provided 4,174,209 bottles of physical and spiritual hydration to America's homeless.

In Fiscal Year 2017-18, our goal is to distribute 627,264 bottles of water and interview at least 300 vetted candidates and mentoring each person to help them gain meaningful employment.

Financials

I Am Waters Foundation, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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I Am Waters Foundation, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 09/24/2018
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Jim Pierce

Marsh Energy

Joseph Benson

SEARCH Homeless Services

Elena Davis

I Am Waters Foundation

Terri Havens

Community Volunteer

Jim Pierce

JLT Specialty USA

Bob Weylandt

JPMorgan

Li Moneypenny

Shell Oil Company

Laura Sweeney

John Daugherty Realtors

Anderea Link, MD

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes