Empower Helps the World Get Water


Tap Project aims to get thousands a clean drink

When we get thirsty, we can easily fill a glass with water from the tap. We don’t have to worry that a small taste of cold, refreshing water on our parched tongues will lead to illness, or possibly even death. We never think of water as a luxury, but for hundreds of thousands of children around the world without access to clean water for drinking and sanitation, safe drinking water is all too hard to come by.

The Tap Project has found a way to make a difference and change that fact.

And it’s only a glass of water and a buck away.


The statistics are startling. According to UNICEF, more than 1 billion people are without access to clean water or adequate sanitation, and 20 percent of them are children. Lack of safe and clean water is the second largest worldwide killer of children under the age of 5.

While UNICEF has already helped more than 1.2 billion people gain access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation facilities since 1990, the organization wants to do more. With the help of cities such as Cincinnati and campaigns like the Tap Project, UNICEF hopes to contribute to the Millennium Development Goal for water and sanitation, which aims to cut in half the number of people still without access to safe water and basic sanitation by the year 2015. And now you can help.


UNICEF has implemented the Tap Project, a campaign to help support its water programs for children in more than 90 countries around the world. Through the project, restaurants charge $1 for a glass of usually free tap water and that money goes toward UNICEF’s programs. It’s as easy as shelling out a single George Washington to give children a fighting chance at survival in developing countries.

With each dollar donated, UNICEF can provide 40 liters of safe drinking water to children. That is enough water to serve one child for 40 days or to serve 40 children for one day. The fundraising campaign launched last year in New York City, with 300 restaurants getting involved to raise $100,000 in a single day. This year, 14 cities, including Cincinnati, are leading the project that now will last for an entire week to help raise awareness and money.

“(Empower MediaMarketing) actually proactively reached out to UNICEF,” says Mitch Dunn, vice president of client strategy for Empower, about how Cincinnati became a participating city. “We offered Empower’s services to bring the Tap Project to Cincinnati.”


After about three months of planning and organizing, the campaign began Sunday, March 16, and it culminates on World Water Day on Saturday, March 22. During the week, you can head out to any of the more than 60 restaurants involved and order your life-saving glass of tap water.

Tavern Restaurant Group’s deSha’s in Montgomery, The Polo Grille in Deerfield Township and Nicholson’s downtown are a few of the local places where you can support the Tap Project campaign.

“It’s a very worthy cause. It is a very simple, easy way for our guests to make a charitable contribution as well as us as a restaurant to be able to make a charitable contribution in a very easy way,” says Robin Breth, marketing director for Tavern Restaurant Group. “It was a very simple, easy way to pull a charitable contribution into our day-to-day operations.”

Helping UNICEF through the Tap Project couldn’t be easier – for restaurants or for you.

“I thought it was an unbelievably great idea, and it was so simple,” Dunn says.


The success of this year’s campaign will help Dunn and others determine goals for the project in upcoming years.

“We’re really going to use this year as a gauge for future years, because we view this as year one in a hopefully very long commitment by the city to participate,” Dunn says of expectations for the Tap Project in Cincinnati.

He and others believe Cincinnati will step up to the challenge just like New York City did in 2007.

“One of the things that Tavern (Restaurant Group) likes to do, especially since we have multiple restaurants within the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky market, is if there’s an opportunity where we have the ability on a multi-location level do something that is charitable or giving back to the community in some way, it always is a wonderful effort and something that we try to find opportunities to do,” Breth says.

And judging from the long list of restaurants involved with the Tap Project, that sentiment is shared by many other Cincinnati dining establishments.

Dunn feels the same way: “(This) is a great restaurant town, and I think Cincinnati is also a very generous town, and you put those two things together and it makes (the city) a perfect fit for something like (Tap Project).”

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