ITT expands global reach of Watermark philanthropy program
Commitment to improve water and sanitation at schools in China added to efforts in Latin America and India to aid 100,000 children and their families
BEIJING, China. — ITT Corporation (NYSE: ITT) today announced an expansion of its global corporate philanthropy program, ITT Watermark, with a $200,000 investment toward improving water access for students and educators in mainland China. This new pledge underscores ITT Watermark’s three-year initial commitment to provide safe water and sanitation in more than 300 schools in Asia and Latin America—an initiative that will improve the lives of more than 100,000 children and their families.
ITT launched the program during World Water Week in August 2008 with a $3 million commitment to Water For People to help provide safe water, sanitation and hygiene education in developing countries. In order to expand this support within China, ITT has partnered with the China Women’s Development Foundation (CWDF), a non-governmental organization dedicated to improving the lives of women and children. Working with CWDF, ITT will provide eight rural schools with safe drinking water, new sanitation facilities and education on water safety, environmental protection and hygiene.
“The global water crisis is deepening, and China is particularly exposed to water issues—a staggering 200 million people in China still have no access to clean water while many millions more lack the means to proper sanitation,” said Mike Kuchenbrod, president of ITT’s China & India business. “ITT is proud to partner with CWDF in clearing a path toward lasting progress on water issues in China.”
Today’s announcement was marked by a signing ceremony, held in Beijing and attended by Zhen Yan, vice president and member of the Secretariat of the All-China Women’s Federation and deputy secretary general of the China Women’s Development Foundation; ITT’s Mike Kuchenbrod; Ruiping Dong, ITT’s vice president and director of external affairs in China; and Bjorn von Euler, ITT’s director of corporate philanthropy. To coincide with the ceremony, employee volunteers from ITT carried out inaugural training courses titled “Angels of Safe Water Usage” at satellite ceremony sites in Jiangsu, Yunnan and Hebei provinces, where the eight initial school programs are located.
“This program sets an excellent example of what partnerships between corporations and local organizations can accomplish. We are able to take action to solve a fundamental issue affecting those in need, and we are proud to support this program fully,” said CWDF deputy secretary general, Zhen Yan. “ITT is a highly committed partner, which continues to demonstrate a deep concern about China’s water scarcity and water pollution, and willingness to help solve the problem.”
Water pollution and insufficient conservation in recent decades have intensified China’s water access issues. According to the Chinese government, 90 percent of cities have heavily polluted bodies of water, 50 percent of towns are supplied with sub-standard drinking water and 40 percent of national water resources are undrinkable. As a result, many children suffer from developmental issues in addition to serious and chronic stomach ailments.
To ensure the program’s sustainability, ITT will conduct long-term management and maintenance of facilities built or installed through the ITT Watermark initiative with the help of local CWDF branches. In addition, ITT will teach training courses on hygiene for students and, with CWDF, will identify a third party to monitor and evaluate the program independently.
Through ITT Watermark, the company is also leveraging its global network of more than 40,000 employees to lend individual support to water-related volunteer activities in their local areas. For example, elsewhere in China, ITT employees are already providing science and water hygiene classes for students and distributing water-related products, such as soap and towels. In further support of this effort, ITT provides a matching gift for each employee contribution to its three non-profit partners, Water For People, Mercy Corps and now China Women’s Development Foundation.
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