Making philanthropy wearable
Love + Water designs wasn't on the menu, but it was cooked up during a springtime lunch between friends. Michael Kavalus '05 and his friend, Alexis Fedor, wanted to build a community that produces "wearable philanthropy," which Kavalus explains is "clothing created for and inspred by organizations doing good in the world." They also wanted to be sure the community gives back to those organizations on a regular basis.
That April lunch led to Love + Water designs, a philanthropic online community launching Oct. 1 that raises awareness and money for charities. it serves to connect artists with charities around the world by hosting weekly design projects.
"Every week, artists submit their charity-inspired work to our site in the categories of design, photography and wordage," Kavalus explains. "Throughout the week, the Love + Water community votes on the designs they like best using our interactive site
." At the end of each week, the top three designs are printed on limited-edition t-shirts which are sold through the site. The winning artists earn a cash prize and Love + Water donates 15 percent of the profits from each shirt sold to the charity that inspired the design.
A monthly featured charity project helps promote selected charities; 50 percent of the profits from all t-shirts sold are donated to that charity. Once users create a profile, they can browse charities featured on the site and interact with community members, as well as personal contacts, friends and family. Eagle-eyed Bucknellians may recognize Amanda Brecker '06 modeling t-shirts on the website.
To Kavalus and Fedor, the company's name has a deeper meaning: It's a recipe for happiness. "We see love and water as the two essentials for a happy and healthy life," he says. "Our present state is living in a world that needs repair, both physically and spiritually.
"At the end of the day, we are making high quality t-shirts, but what's most important is the conversation sparked by that shirt's design," says Kavalus. "We want to create a platform of greater social awareness where artists and non-artists can learn about and have a hand in the incredible charity work being done around the world, and we want to prove that a lot of small donations can add up to a significant large donation, fast."