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Ryan's Well Foundation

Ryan's Well Foundation

Celebrating its 11th year, the Ryan’s Well Foundation is an amazing story of how one child has made a difference.

When Ryan Hreljac was in the first grade, his teacher informed the class that many children around the world do not have access to safe water and sometimes have to walk many miles to retrieve this very basic necessity. Ryan could not believe what he was hearing and begged his parents to help him earn $70 to build a well at Angolo Primary School in Uganda, Africa. Building on this childhood gesture, the Ryan’s Well Foundation has now helped build hundreds of wells and latrines, bringing safe water and sanitation to nearly 750,000 people.

The vision of the Foundation, and Ryan himself, is for every person in the world to have access to safe water. With over 2.6 billion people worldwide lacking access to adequate sanitation, these efforts really are a matter of life or death. In fact, water-related diseases are the leading cause of death for children under five. Ryan’s Well delivers safe water and sanitation to Haiti and five countries in Africa. An important part of that work is providing education to women who hold key roles of responsibility for the household water supply, childcare and community mobilization.

Very committed to educating youth, Ryan’s Well Foundation not only raises funds but also awareness, specifically with youth in over 30 countries. Each year they share their message with thousands of people through various speaking engagements and fundraising activities. Ryan’s story is instrumental in demonstrating how young people really can make a significant and positive impact on our world.

Through engagement with local partners in each country, Ryan’s Well Foundation provides funding support, guidance and capacity building. Members of each community and school are engaged in project planning, implementation and ongoing management of new water sources, sanitation and hygiene education activities. Partnerships with non-governmental organizations and community based groups bring their local insight, providing a vital link between donors’ support and assisting those in need.

Ryan’s Well is committed to sustainable results for the future. Through proper planning, implementation, operation and maintenance, Ryan’s Well Foundation is striving to continue to strengthen and expand its programs.

Putting donor dollars to work quickly

Ryan’s Well Foundation operates from eastern Ontario, Canada. As with many charitable organizations, they receive donations in Canadian and American dollars. These funds are converted quickly into the local currency (in Africa or Haiti), in order to provide and sustain important, lifesaving projects.

Historically, the organization relied on bank transfers to send donor funds to their international partners in several countries throughout Africa and in Haiti. Western Union Business Solutions worked with Ryan’s Well Foundation to provide an online system that allowed for easy access and a two-step approval process. The low service charge for each transfer was attractive to a charity where minimizing expenses is of primary importance.

The Western Union Business Solutions payment platform allows Ryan’s Well Foundation to easily compile a database of beneficiaries with their account information, allowing transactions to be executed online, smoothly and quickly. The ability to check and lock in rates prior to sending payments means they always know exactly how much will be delivered to a partner’s account.

“Many of our local partner organizations deal with rural bank branches in their country. It’s often a challenge to straighten out transfer details, transit numbers, bank identifications and intermediary banks. We appreciate the expertise that Custom House offers in making these transfers possible,” explains Jane Baird, Executive Director, Ryan’s Well Foundation.

Moving money for better

With limited time and budget, Ryan’s Well staff immediately saw how their organization could benefit from the efficient and cost effective services from Western Union Business Solutions.

In particular, the Ryan’s Well Foundation benefits from the segregation of duties and the ability for remote approvals through their online solutions. With one point of access to all of their local partners and project information, there are fewer burdens on administration teams by providing improved record keeping and a shorter approval chain to release funds.

The project partners in Africa and Haiti have expressed very positive feedback about the new services.

They receive funds in a timely manner, without additional service fees and with no unexpected fluctuations in currency exchange. With the expert advice and support of their Western Union Business Solutions team, troubleshooting and ensuring the integrity of every transfer is simple.

The Last
Overall, Jane appreciates that even though the Ryan’s Well Foundation is a small, non-profit organization, they receive dedicated, big business service. “For non-profit organizations transferring funds internationally, this is an excellent system. It’s low cost, easy to use, the transfers are timely, and we benefit from expert assistance with international banking transactions and accurate record keeping."

International Payments  Foreign Exchange 

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