Outer Aisle’s Jeanne David Runs for Clean Water with Team World Vision
It’s the sixth year that Outer Aisle founder, Jeanne David, participated in the Los Angeles Marathon with Team World Vision, a fundraising program of World Vision, a humanitarian organization. Joined by running partner and best friend, Brianna Hammond, as well as seventy-five locals from the Santa Barbara area, the team set out to raise money for clean water in developing countries.
Through Team World Vision, participants raise money for World Vision projects through athletic events in the U.S. Over the six years they’ve been running the marathon—and marathons in other cities as well— Jeanne and the Santa Barbara team have raised close to $1 million, and they hope 2019 will be their best year ever.
“I was inspired to enter the race and raise funds for clean water by Michael Chitwood,” Jeanne says. “He came up with the idea for doing endurance events for charity. He knew the life change it brings for both the participant and those we are raising money for.” Chitwood, the director of Team World Vision, used to weigh 275 pounds until a friend running the Chicago Marathon invited Chitwood to watch him compete. Instead of watching, Chitwood joined the race, started running regularly, and lost the extra weight. It changed his life.
Getting Involved in Clean Water
In 2009, Jeanne left her position as director of the Arthritis Foundation. She took a position as interim executive director for Hands 4 Others (H4O), a local nonprofit started by high school students that brought clean water to developing countries. During that time, she traveled to Honduras and Indonesia, and, while there, learned about both the problem of the lack of clean water in many third world countries and potential solutions. In the developing world, about 1K children die every day from diarrhea caused by a lack of clean water, sanitation, and hygiene, more than from AIDS and malaria combined. In Africa, where there is no clean water, children have a 50% chance of making it to their fifth birthday.
But the problem of unclean water is not the only thing that motivated Jeanne to get involved. “The complexity of the issue is why I fell in love with this cause,” Jeanne says. “It goes way beyond water.” Key to her passion are the women’s issues around clean water.
An important reason girls drop out of school in developing countries—mainly in Africa and Asia—is that, when women and girls spend hours each day walking to water sources to collect water for their families, they have little time or energy to pursue an education or other gainful activities. They also risk falling prey to human trafficking and rape on their journeys to get clean water.
Giving Back and Serving Others
“Providing clean water is an issue we can solve!” Jeanne states enthusiastically. “We just need to focus our resources on it. Team World Vision has a plan to solve the problem. They have the technology and know-how. They just need funding.”
So how does Outer Aisle figure into Jeanne’s charity efforts? “Our company allows us to work and make money to give to the clean water cause,” Jeanne says. OA gives 1% of profits every year to World Vision for clean water projects globally through 1% For The Planet. Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, started 1% For the Planet in 2002, and since then, members have given more than $175 million to environmental nonprofits.
“Here at home, the company is also conserving water, especially since we’re situated on the south-central coast of California,” Jeanne reports that the manufacturing processes at OA are highly water conservative, with many innovative and alternative methods to cut water use.
Jeanne’s dedication is relentless. “Next is the Hood to Coast Relay in August. It’s a thirty-six-hour relay endurance run down Mt. Hood to the coast of Oregon, a distance of about 200 miles. We’re raising money through Team World Vision for clean water once again.”
Her own words sum it up best: “By focusing our business on giving back, it gives us a chance to contribute to others and hopefully inspire others to give as well,” Jeanne reports. “We believe our most important work is what we do for others. In the meantime, we’re building a business, serving others through the products we make and the funds we can raise to give back.”