About Us FAQs

How to Donate FAQs

Projects FAQs

School Challenge FAQs

About Us

What is Ryan’s Well Foundation?

Ryan’s Well was founded by Ryan Hreljac, and was registered as a non-profit in Ontario in 2001.

Ryan’s Well Foundation is a family of people committed to delivering access to safe water as an essential way to improve the lives of people in the developing world. We motivate citizens of all ages to take action and effect positive change in the world.

Here are some quick facts:

  • We have completed 1,667 water projects and 1,317 latrines in 17 countries, bringing safe water and sanitation to 1,342,555 people.
  • We are a Canadian registered charity (charitable registration # 88858 7110 RR0001).
  • On average, 86 cents of every dollar donated directly supports our charitable programs (Build-Educate-Motivate).
  • We have a small staff of just three full-time and one part-time staff in Kemptville, Ontario.
  • We are governed by a volunteer Board of Directors that meets quarterly.
  • Our fiscal year end is March 31st, and our financial statements are audited annually by Hendry Warren LLP Chartered Professional Accountants, Ottawa, Ontario.
  • You can also find us on:

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Is Ryan’s Well Foundation a registered charity?

Yes. Although Ryan began raising money for water projects in 1998, the Foundation was not formed until later. In Canada, Ryan’s Well Foundation has operated as a not-for-profit organization in the Province of Ontario since 2001. The Foundation received federal tax exempt status as a registered charity in 2004.

You can visit the Canadian Review Agency’s Registered Charities to view our Registered Charity Information Return (T3010). Our Charitable Registration number is 88858 7110 RR0001.

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Who supports Ryan’s Well Foundation?

Donations come from many sources. Students from schools are very creative in their fundraising – from lemonade stands to “shave-your-head days.” Many individuals, corporations, and other organizations donate generously to our projects. Without this loyal support, we could not do the work that we do. Our Monthly donors provide an important level of support by giving a consistent, month-by-month amount on which we can rely.

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How does my donation make a difference?

An average of 82 cents of every donation dollar spent has directly supported our charitable programs (Build-Educate-Motivate). As we continue to examine ways to grow and diversify our revenue stream, we are deeply committed to ensuring donations are directed towards our mission of improving lives and effecting positive change in the world. Our small and efficient team is critical to keeping our overall fundraising cost at 8%, and our average administration costs remain unchanged over the past three years at 10%.

The Foundation’s fiscal year runs from April 1st to March 31st. Our annual audit and financial statements are available on the Financials & Reports page of this website.

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How to Donate

How do I make a donation to Ryan’s Well Foundation?

Please visit our Ways to Donate page.

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Does Ryan’s Well Foundation issue tax receipts?

Yes. Canadians will receive a charitable tax receipt on donations of $10 CAD or more. If you make an online donation, you will receive an electronic tax receipt.  Canadian donors can calculate the benefit of their donation by using the Canada Revenue Agency’s tax credit estimator. If you make a donation through the Tides Foundation, Tides USA will issue your tax receipt.

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If I live in the United States, how can I make a donation?

If you are donating from the United States and DO NOT require your contribution to be tax deductible, then donations can be made directly to Ryan’s Well. If you are donating from the United States and want your donation to be tax deductible, you can donate to Ryan’s Well Foundation through the Tides Foundation.

The Tides Foundation is a registered public charity under sections 501(c) (3) and 509(a) (1) of the US Internal Revenue Code, and accepts donations through their Global Support Fund. When donating through the Tides Foundation, a receipt will automatically be issued for donations of more than $250.00 CAD. For donations under $250.00 CAD, please keep your cancelled check as a receipt. Please make your check or money order payable to: TIDES Foundation – Ryan’s Well Foundation, and send it by mail to: Tides Foundation P.O. Box 889389, Los Angeles, CA 90088-9389.

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I live neither in Canada, nor in the USA. How can I make a donation?

You can donate using your credit card through our secure website, over the phone, or by mail using your credit card information.

Residents outside Canada or the US can send an international money order payable to Ryan’s Well Foundation, in either US or Canadian funds, to: Ryan’s Well Foundation, P.O. Box 1120, Kemptville, ON  K0G 1J0 Canada.

You can also send a bank transfer. Contact info@ryanswell.ca  or call 1.613.258.6832 if require any assistance.

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May I direct my donation towards a specific project?

Donations that are under $10,000 CAD will be allocated to where funds are needed most. Contributions of $10,000 CAD or more may be designated to specific Active Projects. Please contact us by email or call 1.613.258.6832.

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Can I be recognized as a donor towards a specific well or water project?

We will recognize project-specific donations of $10,000 CAD or more from individuals, corporations, schools, and faith-based or community groups. If you would like your name acknowledged on a plaque at one of our project sites for a memorial, tribute or personal donation of $10,000 CAD or more, please contact us by email or call 1.613.258.6832.

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Does Ryan’s Well Foundation trade, sell or rent donor information?

No, the Foundation does not exchange donor information in any way, shape, or form. We value the support of our donors, and do not believe in providing this information to others.

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How much does it cost to build a well?

There are many factors that determine the cost of a well and other types of water access, such as protected springs or rainwater harvesting tanks. What country is the well in? Is it a deep or shallow well based on terrain and geology? How accessible is the well site? What community activities and training are taking place to support the well? Is there a latrine included? These are all questions that impact the costs of our water and sanitation projects, and are important factors in the sustainability of safe water sources. As a guideline, a deep well in Uganda generally costs between $10,000 and $15,000 Canadian dollars, depending on the region. Costs include community mobilization, monitoring, training the Water Committee on managing/maintaining their water source, and hygiene education – all of which are essential for long-term sustainability of the well. Our Active Projects will give you a good idea of the current costs for our projects based on all these important factors for building sustainable water access.

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Can I travel to help build a well?

Ryan’s Well does not send volunteers or groups to help build wells. We are a small organization, and do not have the capacity to manage travel for groups, and do not have offices or on-the-ground staff in each country. Most importantly, our water and sanitation projects are implemented by local partner organizations (local non-governmental or community based organizations) in each country and region where the projects take place. Through collaboration with local communities, projects benefit from cultural insight and community participation — a win-win when it comes to successful water and sanitation projects. This supports positive change in the area through capacity and skill building, while providing the means for a community to manage and maintain their water and sanitation sources for the future.

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In which countries has the Foundation helped to build wells?

To date, the Ryan’s Well Foundation has supported water and sanitation projects in 17 countries. Currently, we are focusing our efforts and resources in two primary regions: (1) East Africa – Malawi and Uganda (2) West Africa – Ghana. Ryan’s Well has also supported projects in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Mexico, Nigeria, Tanzania, Togo, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

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How are the local communities involved in water and sanitation projects?

For a project to be sustainable, it is imperative that the benefiting community is involved in the entire process — from the initial site selection, to the final take-over of the water or sanitation source from the implementing partner. This is because our ultimate goal is for the community to be self-sustainable, and we achieve this by providing the community with specific skills and training. These skills include how to properly clean their infrastructure, how to avoid water wastage, and how to fix the infrastructure if something breaks. We also provide WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) education to the beneficiaries, and discuss a multitude of topics, including the importance of transporting water in clean containers, how to properly wash hands, and how to make reusable menstrual pads (RUMPs). These skills and education build their capacity to improve the overall health and well-being of their community, and ensures that the community is properly trained on how to manage and maintain their sources. By including the entire community in the construction and training processes, we evoke a sense of pride and ownership, which yields more sustainable projects, and ensures that beneficiaries have clean water for many years to come.

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How does Ryan’s Well Foundation choose the projects it supports?

Ryan’s Well has established a network of local partners throughout the countries in which we work. We accept project proposals on an ongoing basis from these non-governmental and community based organizations. Our Project Committee reviews all proposals, and then make their recommendations to our Board of Directors for approval. We continue to build slowly and carefully to ensure we are providing what communities need and can sustain for the future. Ryan’s Well Foundation believes in local ownership and community participation. Our staff and volunteer Board Members work with our partners daily from Canada and travel to each project throughout the year to monitor and evaluate the work on the ground.

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What are the different types of water access that Ryan’s Well supports, and how do you choose which one to build?

The types of water access most often supported by Ryan’s Well are drilled wells (also called boreholes or tubewells), rainwater harvesting tanks, and protected springs. We consider many factors when deciding what type of water access point should be built, including climate, terrain, depth of the groundwater table in both rainy and dry seasons, cost of bringing in building materials and equipment, and community culture. Our expert partners in each country and region can assess what type of water access is sustainable, desired by the communities, and most suitable for the area given its geographical factors.

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How long does it take to complete a water project?

There are many factors which can impact the time needed to complete a water project. It is not always an easy question to answer, given that it can vary by location, by season, and by the scale of the work being done. In general, a project of multiple sites can take between 6 and 12 months to complete. In some instances, they can take longer, due to issues such as in accessible road conditions in the rainy seasons, instability in the country, or complications with acquiring materials.

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I know of a school or village in need of a well. Can Ryan’s Well build a well there?

With almost 1 billion people across the globe in need of access to clean water, there are many regions and areas needing wells. In order to work most efficiently and sustainably within our capacity, Ryan’s Well works with local partner organizations in each country and region. These partners know the region, and can work with the communities, assess the most suitable type of water access, and ensure a comprehensive plan is in place to mobilize the community and build a well. It is up to our local partners in each region to identify sites based on these activities for sustainability. Unfortunately, we are not able to build a well at a specific site based on an individual request. We certainly understand the great need. However, our experience has indicated that it is not the most sustainable way to utilize the donations that we gratefully receive. We encourage you to look at our Active Projects to see the areas in which we are currently working, and are in need of your support.

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School Challenge

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Can Ryan or a Ryan’s Well representative come to our school or event?

While we try to send Ryan or a representative of the Foundation upon request, it is not always feasible based on distance and staff availability.  If you are interested in booking an appearance request with Ryan or another staff or board member, please let us know! Remember, video conferencing is a helpful alternative to any appearance request. Be sure to indicate whether you’d be willing to connect online!

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Can you set up a pen pal program with students from the project area we are fundraising for?

Due to challenges with mailing and administration, Ryan’s Well is not able to facilitate a pen pal program.

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How do we participate in the school challenge and do we have to pledge a fundraising amount?

A pledge towards the School Challenge can be made by any school, individual class, club, or team.  It does not have to be an entire school. This year, there is no need to sign up for the School Challenge. You set your own goal amount. We have found in the past that students not only reach their set goal, but surpass it! Whatever you raise will make a difference. When you are finished fundraising, we will send you a certificate to thank you for all of your hard work. If the School Challenge project should become fully funded, we will direct your donation to another active project in need.

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For the School Challenge, some of our donors would like tax receipts – what do we do?

In order to issue tax receipts to individual donors, we must receive personal cheques or online credit card donations to Ryan’s Well Foundation from Canadian sources. Donations from outside of Canada are not eligible for a Canadian charitable tax receipts. In general, proceeds from events where items are sold such as bake sales or tickets, are not receiptable under Canadian Revenue Agency guidelines. Only direct donations over $10 CAD can receive a Canadian charitable tax receipt.

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Since 2001, Ryan’s Well has had the financial support of many private donors, foundations, and corporate organizations. These ongoing contributions not only support our clean water, sanitation and hygiene education projects and motivation work, but also cover the basic costs that it takes to run an organization, such as staff salaries, rent, and office supplies.