The highly variable climate of southwestern China leaves much up to chance when it comes to the availability of one of life’s most crucial necessities: water. Drought stricken localities that were previously reliant upon rain are forced to travel miles to collect contaminated river water for their families. On May 12, 2008 a massive earthquake struck the Sichuan Province in China, taking over 69,000 lives, 10 million homes and leaving 374,000 injured. The wake of destruction left an already thirsty Sichuan without access to clean drinking water. Reconstruction slowly progressed as entire villages were completely rebuilt, but lack of water and contamination remained a major issue.
soon after, we met dick grace (founder of the Grace Family Foundation and Grace Family Vineyards), through a friend and fellow philanthropic soul, Beth Nickel (founder and proprietress of Nickel & Nickel and Far Niente Wineries). Dick and his team had been doing small developmental projects in health and education in western China for several years at that point and were eager, as always, to extend a helpful hand. The Grace Family Foundation’s mission, simply put, is to select a course of action to more freely express your innate compassionate nature and do it! In accordance with this belief, Waterhope joined on to fund the installation of an Aqua Pure water purification system in 2009, servicing the Sichen village and the Shechen Valley Boarding School. In order to ensure sustainability and that the system would stay well maintained, the installation team sourced filters for the Aqua Pure unit in China where replacement items could be found locally. With fresh water to drink and an onsite green house for growing vegetables, the general health of the children has been greatly improved and the amount of diarrheal disease has drastically reduced.
Seeing “wine as a catalyst for healing our planet”, Grace Family Vineyards translates much of the profits from their highly revered and expensive wine into meaningful change around the globe. From a remote village in Nepal to right here in California, their beneficiaries are wide-ranging to say the least. Finding worthy causes everywhere in their constant travels, Dick and his wife Ann exemplify how charity is much more than giving money. It sets off an exponential chain—changing minds and stirring the soul. As the kids of the Shechen Valley Boarding School saw firsthand, we not only need food and water to nourish our bodies, but hope to fill our hearts.