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The Gift of Water Live Chat Transcript

If you missed the chat with Jane and her guests David Simms and Ken Wood, you can catch the conversation here.

Today’s participants:

Jane Pauley, AARP’s Brand Ambassador

David Simms, Head of Leadership and Careers at the Bridgespan Group

Ken Wood, Founder of Wells for Ghana

This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Jane Pauley: Hello everyone! Thanks for joining us. I hope you enjoyed our TODAY Show segment this morning featuring Ken Wood, a Maryland well driller who’s now bringing clean water to countless people in Ghana. Ken’s nothing short of an inspiration. He “reinvented” himself by thinking big – taking the well drilling skills he’d spent his entire career honing, and applying them to something much larger than himself. Today we’re going to talk about how you can do something like that too.

Ken joins us in the chat this afternoon, along with David Simms, head of the Bridgestar division of the Bridgespan Group, which helps nonprofits and philanthropic leaders implement strategies for social change.

Hello, Ken and David! Great to have you with us. I have to say that this story has generated unusual excitement. It's gratifying how many people have skills and experience and a desire to put them to work on other people's behalf. Ken is so exemplary but so are you. Let's get going!

Comment from Steve: I want to send a donation to Ken's organization. Where do I send it to?

Ken Wood: You can visit and submit your donation through the site. All donations are appreciated and well-needed!

Comment from Vince: I'm a part-time photographer looking for ways to give back. What and how is the best way for me to do so?

David Simms: Hey, Vince. Great question. Why don't you look for a nonprofit that hopes to improve how they communicate about their work and their beneficiaries via photos and stories. I have a good friend who is an artist and has started doing this for a nonprofit in third world poverty. Her artwork now covers many note cards for supporters to use. Good luck!

Comment from guest: I've worked in sales and purchasing. I've been laid off and in my 60s am having a lot of trouble finding work. What would I be able to do to help other people?

Simms: For the person who has been let go, first I’m sorry to hear that. I applaud your desire to “give back.” In terms of ways in which you can do so, think about the particular skills you have developed in your career. If you have done well in sales, could you help train some development/fundraising staff of a local nonprofit? If you have skills in marketing, can you help a nonprofit organization with their communications and messaging? If you have strong management skills, can you help mentor some junior staff of a nonprofit?

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