The Greatest Gift Of Compassion

Your Voice Contributor

Mark Hogg.

Mark Hogg.

On Friday, March 22, organizations around the world will shine a spotlight on the global water crisis in recognition of World Water Day. As Louisvillians, it may be hard to imagine a “water crisis,” as we are blessed with an abundance of safe, great-tasting water thanks to the Louisville Water Company. But the reality is that waterborne illness is the leading cause of death in the developing world, killing millions of people, mostly children, each year. Doesn’t it seem logical that since the greatest problem in the world is waterborne disease, the greatest gift of compassion we can give is the gift of safe water?

But, compassion isn’t really about logic – it’s a matter of the heart. Whether a child or an adult, working at a for-profit business or a nonprofit organization, in line at the grocery store or in line for food stamps, humanity longs for community and a sense of purpose. At WaterStep, we’ve been working to create solutions to the world water crisis for over a decade. With our resources, the compassionate people of Louisville are uniquely positioned to save lives around the world, without ever leaving the city.

Compassion can inspire creativity. Recently a 9-year-old boy in Tennessee chose to collect donations for WaterStep at his birthday party instead of receiving gifts.

Compassion can inspire education. A new partnership with Ivy Tech Corporate College is allowing WaterStep to make their safe water training courses available and affordable to anyone in the world through an online platform.

Compassion can inspire innovation. Engineers from GE and the Louisville Water Company are continuously volunteering their time to help improve the efficiency of WaterStep’s tools and technology.

We encourage you to honor World Water Day by appreciating your blessings and doing something to show compassion for those who thirst around the world. The opportunities are diverse. You can participate in our “Make Your Steps Count” program and help bring awareness to the problem by wearing a WaterStep t-shirt during the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon or miniMarathon. You can complete one of our training courses and travel on a mission trip to help save lives around the world. You can host a shoe drive at your school, business, gym or church, and collect used shoes for our shoe recycling program.

Mayor Fischer’s upcoming Give A Day Week of Service, April 13 through 21, gives all of us the perfect opportunity to take action. No matter what the compassionate act may be, whether creating world water solutions, collecting canned goods, painting houses or baking muffins for an elderly neighbor, these are just tools for us to invest in one another. Let’s join together as a city and stab a marker in the ground to claim visibly that Louisville’s compassion has grown beyond a series of moments, and is building lasting momentum towards a greater movement of the heart.

The heart transforms logic into possibility. Imagine what could happen with the energy being created in the gifts, the people, the stories and the hope.

Mark Hogg is the founder and CEO of WaterStep, a Louisville-based nonprofit organization that provides solutions to waterborne illness through training and technology to empower self-sufficiency for people in crisis around the world. To learn more call 502.568.6342 or visit