Celebrating the Holidays Through Giving

The Holiday season means many different things for people. Whether it’s getting everyone the perfect gift, spending time with family, or preparing favorite foods for friends, the holidays are a time of giving. Our family here at Tata & Howard takes holiday giving to heart. We understand how important philanthropy is to both our local and global community. For this special time of year, we are looking at some of the most charitable and full-hearted organizations we’ve had the honor to support.

DARE Family Services

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T&H’s holiday DARE Giving Tree

Since 1964, DARE Family Services has been committed to improving the lives of children who have been abused or neglected. By providing a family-based setting, they give children the opportunity to recover and live healthy, happy lives. Every holiday season, DARE Family Services reaches out to communities for gift donations to help kids experience a memorable holiday – in many cases, for the first time in their lives. At Tata & Howard, our employee-owners take DARE’s mission to heart and bring gifts to put under our DARE Giving Tree for children in need. Fortunately, we are one of many organizations and individuals who support DARE and their determination to better the lives of disadvantaged and neglected children. They help thousands of kids every year and we thank them for their generosity.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

T&H’s Heidi White raised over $3,000 for DFCI this fall through their “Run Any Race” program.”

The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, along with the Jimmy Fund, is home to groundbreaking cancer discoveries. They are one of the greatest examples of a philanthropic organization working for a worthy cause – curing cancer. There are seemingly endless ways Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund raise money and resources to give hope to families affected by cancer, especially during the holidays. Tata & Howard is a proud supporter of Dana-Farber and donated $5,300 towards cancer research this past November, and donated another $1,500 this week in lieu of sending printed holiday cards to clients and friends. Some of our employee-owners are doing their own part to help them out as well. Our Marketing Communications Manager Heidi White participated in their “Run Any Race” program and raised over $3,000 by running Ragnar’s Reach the Beach in New Hampshire this past September. Also, T&H Engineer Molly Coughlin is currently training for the 2017 Boston Marathon to raise money for Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund. Her personal goal is to raise $15,850 and we are all cheering her on. Go Molly!

Water For Peoplepict_grid7

Over 1.8 billion people globally lack access to safe drinking water, and Water For People is looking to change that by committing to provide long-lasting water and sanitation infrastructure for communities in need. They operate in nine countries and have helped over four million people live better lives by providing access to clean water. To make this happen, Water For People works with communities, governments, and business owners to ensure reliable, safe water for future generations. In support of their passion for clean water, many employee-owners at Tata & Howard contribute to Water For People through automatic bi-weekly payroll deductions, which Tata & Howard matches dollar for dollar. In this way, we are able to do our part to realize Water For People’s mission of clean water for everyone, forever.

The Navajo Water Project

This man keeps his water in barrels by his outhouse. Water and sanitation always go hand in hand. About 40% of Navajo don’t have a sink or a toilet at home. Courtesy of navajowaterproject.org.

Speaking of clean water for everyone, the Navajo Water Project is an amazing organization that seeks to solve a little-known water problem. Of the nearly 200,000 Navajo population right here in America, 40% do not have running water – which has created a cycle of poverty that limits health, education, and economic security. As a subsidiary of DIGDEEP and primarily funded through private donors, the Navajo Water Project works with communities in Navajo Nation to install systems that bring running water and electricity into homes. The water is delivered via truck and safely stored in large cisterns, from which it is pumped into a sink and shower inside the home. The organization also installs solar energy systems to power the pumps and lights inside. With their determination and adequate funding, The Navajo Water Project expects to install home water systems in every Navajo home in need by 2018. Since we learned of the plight of the Navajo people in 2015, Tata & Howard has actively supported the Navajo Water Project. In 2017, which is our 25th anniversary year, we are organizing a national virtual 5K to raise money for this incredible organization. Participants will receive a beautiful medal and 100% of the cost of registration will go directly to the Navajo Water Project. Stay tuned for details of this exciting event!

The holiday season is the perfect time to give to others and to help the community, both locally and globally. Even the smallest gesture of generosity helps others in significant ways. And the best gift a person can receive is hope — and that is exactly what DARE Family Services, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Navajo Water Project, and Water for People are all about. We here at Tata & Howard encourage everyone to give to someone in need and celebrate generosity this holiday season. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

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Water Crisis in the United States, Part 1: Navajo Nation

Great_Seal_of_the_Navajo_Nation.svg_-300x300Water poverty has long been considered a global crisis, with over 783 million people worldwide — that’s one in nine people — lacking access to a safe, clean water supply. Over half of the world’s hospital beds are filled with people afflicted with water-related illness, and over 80% of illnesses in sub-Saharan Africa are directly attributable to poor water and sanitation conditions. There are a plethora of charities dedicated to solving the global water crisis, including Tata & Howard’s and AWWA’s charity of choice Water For People. However, there are also water crises taking place right here in the United States. For the month of July, we will be delving into water crises in the United States — and how we can work together to solve them.

Navajo Nation

Last fall, CBS Sunday Morning News ran a cover story titled The Water Lady: A Savior Among the Navajo. The piece showcased Darlene Arviso, a Saint Bonaventure Indian Mission employee who delivers water to the people of Navajo Nation. Prior to that, the American people were largely unaware of the water crisis afflicting a full 40% of the 173,000 residents of Navajo Nation.

Russell Begaye, President of Navajo Nation
Russell Begaye, President of Navajo Nation

Navajo Nation, though located within the borders of the United States, is a soverign nation with its own president, and does not fall under the jurisdiction of the United States government. Therefore, it also does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Safe Drinking Water Act, which regulates all 155,000 public water supplies of the United States and ensures that our drinking water is safe and clean. Water poverty affects all aspects of life, including not only health and longevity, but also livelihood and education. Unfortunately, the people of Navajo Nation are no exception.

Many of the residents of Navajo Nation must travel many miles to gather water, the most fortunate of whom typically travel by car. However, a large percentage of these residents live well below the poverty level and can ill afford the cost of gasoline required to travel to gather water. Others must walk several miles — no different from their sub-Saharan counterparts. To make matters worse, the water they gather is often from livestock troughs or unregulated wells, frequently fouled by bacteria and other contaminants.

EPA warning to residents of Navajo Nation
EPA warning to residents of Navajo Nation

Adding insult to injury, much of the water in Navajo Nation is contaminated with uranium and arsenic due to the prevalence of mining that took place in the area during the nuclear arms race. Uranium and radioactive particles have been found in much of the water supply in Navajo Nation, and the rest has been contaminated by coal mining and coal-fired power plants. At this point, basically all of the water of Navajo Nation is contaminated in some way, which has affected the health of the citizens there. Nearly half of the residents have been touched by kidney ailments or cancer. Since the Navajo people now understand that the water in their land is poisonous, they are forced to travel even farther to find safe water. Some of the residents save up their money for gasoline and make the four-hour trek to Flagstaff, Arizona to buy bottled water when it is on sale.

Solving the Navajo Nation Water Crisis

 "Baby Lisa" — photo courtesy of Navajo Water Project
“Baby Lisa” — photo courtesy of Navajo Water Project

Fortunately, the Navajo water crisis is finally receiving the attention it deserves. Navajo Water Project, a subsidiary of DIGDEEP, is the sole water charity dedicated to the Navajo water crisis in the United States, and has a mission in which Tata & Howard firmly believes. Working with the Saint Bonaventure Indian Mission and subsisting on private donations, Navajo Water Project digs wells, installs water storage tanks, and brings in-home plumbing to those suffering from water poverty in Navajo Nation. Most recently, the Navajo Water Project issued a plea for Baby Lisa, a Navajo child born with Microvillus Inclusion Disease. Her illness requires her to have a feeding tube, for which she needs clean water. Without clean water, she could become seriously ill or even die, so Baby Lisa was living in a medical facility over three hours from her family home. The Navajo Water Project petitioned individuals and businesses for $50,000 to bring clean water to Baby Lisa’s home, and this past spring, they surpassed their goal. The Project is now in the process of installing plumbing in the family home.

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell signed an agreement in 2015 guaranteeing the water rights of the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes in Nevada and ensuring water supplies and facilities for their Duck Valley Reservation. Joining Secretary Jewell in a signing ceremony was Shoshone-Paiute Chairman Lindsey Manning. — photo courtesy of nativenewsonline.net
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell signed an agreement in 2015 guaranteeing the water rights of the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes in Nevada and ensuring water supplies and facilities for their Duck Valley Reservation. Joining Secretary Jewell in a signing ceremony was Shoshone-Paiute Chairman Lindsey Manning. — photo courtesy of nativenewsonline.net

In addition to the Navajo Water Project, the Navajo have entered into agreements with the United States government. Since 1978, native Americans have entered into deals with the U.S. Department of the Interior in which they procure funding for their nation’s water supply in exchange for relinquishing some of their water claims to the federal government, states, and private investors. Additional deals are currently underway, including one in Utah that passed in January of this year. The deal secured millions in funding to build water infrastructure such as distribution systems and treatment facilities on Navajo land. And while many Navajo see these deals as the only way to improve their quality of life and support economic growth, others worry that by relinquishing their water rights they are essentially stealing from future Navajo generations who, if climate change progresses as predicted, may find their water supply has run dry.

In Conclusion

maxresdefault-225x300The answer to solving the water crisis of Navajo Nation is not simple. Bringing safe, clean water to the people of Navajo Nation will require both public and private investment. It will also require fair legislation that allows the Navajo to keep rights to water on their land while requiring the federal government to fund the cleanup of the waters that they contaminated. The nation has been in an uproar over the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, in which hundreds of children suffered from lead poisoning from their water supply. However, we should also be outraged at the decades of water poverty and contamination that the people of Navajo Nation have endured. The time has come to address the water crisis in Navajo Nation and to ensure that ALL people living on U.S. soil are afforded the most basic human right to water.Subscribe-to-our-newsletter1

12 Months of Giving — Keeping the Holiday Spirit Alive Throughout the Year

philanthropyDuring the holiday season, we typically hear about gifts on the 12 days of Christmas, eight days of Chanukkah, or seven days of Kwanza. And in the spirit of the season of gift-giving, many people choose this time of year to donate food to shelters or toys to needy children. We here at Tata & Howard love this time of year and the generosity that is so prevalent, but we are also committed to giving back to the local and global community throughout the year. So this holiday season, we have compiled the 12 Months of Giving — a list of 12 philanthropic events in which we have had the honor of participating in 2015.

  1. waterforpeople_tatahowardCharity of Choice: Water For People
    Most Tata & Howard employee-owners donate to Water For People with every paycheck through automatic payroll deductions, and the company matches 100% of donations made in this way.
  2. Water For People Golf Tournament
    Tata & Howard sponsored the American Water Works Association, Connecticut Section Golf Classic to benefit Water For People this past August. All funds raised by the event were donated to Water For People.
  3. Rally for the Jimmy Fund
    Employee-owners participated in the Rally for the Jimmy Fund in April. The Rally encourages people to wear Red Sox gear on Opening Day at Fenway Park in exchange for a donation to the Jimmy Fund, and has raised over $4 million for cancer research since its inception in 2006.
  4. Special Olympics of Massachusetts (SOMA)
    Some of our philanthropy is through the gift of time. Justine Carroll, P.E., has volunteered for SOMA for over 15 years as a swimming coach with the Belmont, Massachusetts swim team, and each year she has helped 30 to 40 athletes on her team participate in the Special Olympics Summer Games held every June at Harvard University. In addition to her full schedule as a Project Manager and Team Leader at Tata & Howard, her commitment as a coach involves training sessions twice a week in preparation for Special Olympics. Now that’s dedication!
  5. joel_loithersteinRacing for the Jimmy Fund
    Employee-owners supported co-workers Joel Loitherstein, P.E., LSP, and Heidi White as they participated in the Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) and Mass Dash for the Jimmy Fund, respectively. PMC is an annual 200-mile, 2-day bike-a-thon that crosses Massachusetts starting in Sturbridge and ending in Provincetown. Mass Dash is a grassroots, 100-mile relay in Massachusetts that starts at Mount Greylock and ends in Amherst. Both races raise funds for cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, with PMC raising over $500 million and Mass Dash raising over $500,000 since their inception.
  6. Camp Sunshine
    Tata & Howard participated in National Flip Flop Day in June. The holiday was started nine years ago in an effort to raise funds to benefit Camp Sunshine, a retreat in Maine for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. Employee-owners wore flip flops to work in exchange for a donation to Camp Sunshine, which was matched 100% by Tata & Howard’s Philanthropy Committee.
  7. The Watershed Fund Annual Fundraiser
    Tata & Howard sponsored the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority (RWA) annual golf tournament to support The Watershed Fund in August. The Watershed Fund recognizes that land use choices are important decisions confronting many towns and individuals across the region, and strives to enhance the environment and improve quality of life by protecting drinking water supplies and threatened watershed lands.
  8. Navajo Nation Monetary Donation
    After learning that people living on American soil lacked access to clean water, Tata & Howard employee-owners, along with a match from the company, donated to Navajo Water Project, a subsidiary of DIGDEEP that works to provide safe, accessible drinking water to Native Americans living in Navajo Nation.
  9. food_donationFood Drive
    In October, employee-owners participated in a month-long food drive to benefit local food banks. Among all offices, Tata & Howard donated over 400 pounds of food.
  10. City of Marlborough
    In December, employee-owners contributed to the Mayor’s Charity Relief Fund of Marlborough, Massachusetts, which helps residents of the city in need of financial assistance at times of crisis or hardship. Tata & Howard’s corporate office is located in Marlborough, and employee-owners were glad to be able to support the local community.
  11. DARE Family Services
    For the holiday season, employee-owners donated handpicked gifts to foster children in Massachusetts through DARE Family Services, a non-profit whose primary mission is to find, train, and support loving homes that will help children become resilient and overcome the trauma of serious abuse and neglect. DARE Family Services has six offices throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut, including its administrative offices in Somerville, Massachusetts.
  12. navajo_water_crisisNavajo Nation Water Cistern Donation
    Tata & Howard again supported the Navajo Water Project by purchasing a 1,200-gallon water cistern, which will provide the necessary water storage for a full running water system in one Navajo American Home. The gift was purchased in honor of Tata & Howard’s clients in lieu of holiday cards.

As 2015 comes to a close, we at Tata & Howard are thankful that we have been fortunate enough to have the ability to support a variety of charitable organizations throughout the year. In 2016, we look forward to participating in additional philanthropic activities both as a company and as individuals, and to continue to do our part to improve the environment — and world — in which we live. Happy Holidays!Subscribe-to-our-newsletter1

T&H donation helps bring water to Navajo Nation

T&H donation helps bring water to Navajo Nation

Water cistern purchased on behalf of clients

This water cistern, donated by Tata & Howard on behalf of its clients, will help provide safe, clean drinking water to a family living in Navajo Nation
This water cistern, donated by Tata & Howard on behalf of its clients, will help provide safe, clean drinking water to a family living in Navajo Nation

Tata & Howard sponsored a water cistern through Navajo Water Project, a subsidiary of DIGDEEP that works to provide safe, accessible drinking water to Native Americans living in Navajo Nation. The 1,200-gallon cistern provides the necessary water storage for a full running water system in one Navajo American Home. The gift was purchased in honor of Tata & Howard’s clients in lieu of holiday cards.
“The western border of Navajo Nation is only 25 miles from Tata & Howard’s Flagstaff, Arizona office, so it really hit close to home when we learned of the Navajo Nation water crisis,” stated Shira S. McWaters, P.E., Manager of the firm’s Flagstaff office. “We as a company have historically supported and will continue to support Water For People, a charity that works to bring clean and sustainable water to developing nations, through automatic payroll deductions as well as corporate sponsorship of benefit events such as silent auctions and golf tournaments. However, in light of the water poverty facing those living right here on American soil, we decided to also focus our efforts on Navajo Nation this year.”
Tata & Howard and its employee-owners had made a previous donation of $2,235 to Navajo Water Project, which is the only water charity that serves people living in the United States, in September.
“The fact that there are people living right here in the United States who lack access to safe, clean drinking water is deplorable,” added Joel S. Loitherstein, P.E., LSP, Vice President of Tata & Howard. “We are proud to support Navajo Water Project in their efforts to bring a sustainable water supply to all who live in Navajo Nation, and are thrilled to do so in honor of our clients.”
In addition to the donation of the water cistern to Navajo Water Project, Tata & Howard employee-owners donated handpicked gifts to foster children in Massachusetts through DARE Family Services, a non-profit whose primary mission is to find, train, and support loving homes that will help children become resilient and overcome the trauma of serious abuse and neglect, and made monetary donations to the Mayor’s Charity Relief Fund of Marlborough, MA, which helps residents of the city in need of financial assistance at times of crisis or hardship. Tata & Howard’s corporate office is located in Marlborough.

National Philanthropy Day 2015

NPD logoIn 1986, United States President Ronald Reagan designated November 15 as National Philanthropy Day, a day which celebrates giving, volunteering, and charitable works, and the impact that philanthropy makes on our society. National Philanthropy Day celebrates philanthropy, which etymologically translates to “love of humanity,” each November 15 in an effort to turn the word into action and to recognize the change that word has brought to our local and global communities.

National Philanthropy Day is now overseen by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, who entreat people to follow the five Ps of giving in order to make the most impact:

  1. Passionate. With literally thousands of charities and causes from which to choose, it is critical to support a select few about which you are passionate. The more passionate you are about a cause, the more likely you are to fully invest in it, including not just money, but time.
  1. Proactive. Once you’ve determined which type of cause you would like to support, proactively find a charity dedicated to the cause.
  1. Prepare. Do your research. Not all charities are created equal, and you want to be sure that the charity you are supporting is fiscally responsible and well managed. Both Charity Navigator and Charity Watch are excellent resources for investigating all aspects of charity ratings.
  1. Plan. Create a plan of giving action so that you hold yourself to a certain dollar and time amount. Charities typically receive most of their donations in the last quarter of the year, while struggling in the spring and summer. Find out what makes the most sense for the charity you have chosen to support and put a specific plan in place — and stick to it.
  1. Powerful. Now that you are ready and committed to give, ensure that your donation is powerful; meaning give the most you can, in both time and money.

water_for_peopleAt Tata & Howard, we are passionate about improving the environment in which we live through our work — and works. As a corporation, we have followed the five Ps of giving and have partnered with select charities in an effort to support them fully. Water For People has been Tata & Howard’s charity of choice since 2005, with employee-owners donating directly from their paychecks and the company matching 100% of every dollar donated. In addition, Tata & Howard sponsors the CTAWWA Water for People Golf Tournament in the fall. Water For People strives to provide safe, sustainable drinking water for everyone, forever. According to Water for People, they exist for one purpose, and it’s as simple as their name: they want all people to have safe, continuous water, and when they do, their job will be done.

navajo water project
Tata & Howard employee-owners helped support the Navajo Water Project

This past year, Tata & Howard selected another key charity to support after learning of the plight of the Navajo on American soil. This year, Tata & Howard donated $2,235 to Navajo Water Project, a subsidiary of DIGDEEP that works to provide safe, accessible drinking water to Native Americans living in Navajo Nation. While there are dozens of water charities supporting developing countries, Navajo Water Project is the only water charity that serves people living in the United States.

Each Thanksgiving season, Tata & Howard employee-owners participate in a food drive for the Worcester County Food Bank (WCFB). WCFB is central Massachusetts’ leading anti-hunger organization distributing over five million pounds of donated food and grocery product in partnership with food donors, financial supporters, and volunteers. This year, Tata & Howard employee-owners collected and donated over 400 pounds of food for WCFB during the month of October.

dare_family_servicesEvery December, Tata & Howard partners with Dare Family Services to provide personalized gifts to disadvantaged children. Employee-owners choose wish ornaments from a giving tree and purchase the gifts for which the children ask. All unclaimed wishes are purchased by Tata & Howard’s Philanthropy Committee — a robust, in-house committee that raises and distributes funds to charities — ensuring that every child receives his or her requested gifts. Dare Family Services’ primary mission is to find, train, and support loving homes that will help children become resilient and overcome the trauma of serious abuse and neglect. Every child is given a life, education, and a road to normal adulthood.

In addition to Tata & Howard’s partner charities, employee-owners support their own chosen charities, often with support from the company’s Philanthropy Committee. Employee-owners have supported such worthy causes as Special Olympics of Massachusetts (SOMA), Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Camp Sunshine, and Livestrong. And Tata & Howard employee-owners don’t just write checks — they also donate significant amounts of time, like coaching SOMA, running for the Jimmy Fund, competing in the Tough Mudder Challenge to support Wounded Warrior Project, riding in the PanMass Challenge, training dogs for NEADS/Dogs for Deaf, and skiing for hear ME now.

hands_holding_globeNational Philanthropy Day is a grassroots movement to increase public awareness of the importance of philanthropy, and to provide information on giving and volunteering so that people can practice efficient philanthropy. It is also the ideal day to reassess charitable giving, from both a corporate and individual level. As John Rockefeller stated, “Think of giving not only as a duty but as a privilege.” At Tata & Howard, we feel truly privileged to be able to support our corporate and individual causes, and believe that each and every act of charity has significant impact that helps to make the world a better place. Happy National Philanthropy Day!Subscribe-to-our-newsletter1

Tata & Howard donates over $2,000 to Navajo Water Project

Tata & Howard donates over $2,000 to Navajo Water Project

Charity provides clean, accessible drinking water to Native Americans living in Navajo Nation

navajo water project
Tata & Howard employee-owners from the Marlborough, MA corporate office helped support the Navajo Water Project

Tata & Howard donated $2,235 to Navajo Water Project, a subsidiary of DIGDEEP that works to provide safe, accessible drinking water to Native Americans living in Navajo Nation. Employee-owners donated $1,235 and the company matched $1,000.

“When we learned of the extreme water poverty in which people right here within the borders of the United States live, we knew we had to act,” stated Donald J. Tata, P.E., President of Tata & Howard. “The company asked employee-owners to make donations to Navajo Water Project and agreed to match up to $1,000. We weren’t at all surprised when the good people here easily surpassed that number.”

“Having worked on several projects in Arizona, I have seen first-hand the difficult and, frankly, heartbreaking conditions in which some Navajo live,” added Jack E. O’Connell, P.E., LEED AP, Senior Vice President of Tata & Howard. “Bringing safe, clean, and accessible drinking water to Navajo Nation should be an urgent priority of the American people, and we here at Tata & Howard are more than happy to do our part.”

While there are dozens of water charities supporting developing countries, including Tata & Howard’s own charity of choice Water For People, Navajo Water Project is the only water charity that serves people living in the United States. For more information on the Navajo Nation water crisis, please click here.

About DIGDEEP Water

Launched in 2011 by international human rights lawyer George McGraw, DIGDEEP Water is changing the way people think about water. By designing water access projects that go hand-in-hand with its education and advocacy programs, DIGDEEP focuses on solving water poverty in marginalized communities at home and abroad while promoting better water consumption and conservation practices globally. DIGDEEP collaborates with local communities in order to find appropriate, sustainable solutions to water poverty in places like South Sudan, Cameroon, and the United States. Since each community is unique, each one of DIGDEEP’s projects is also unique. 100% of all donations support projects. To learn more, visit www.digdeepwater.org.