Jin Zidell

Nonprofit Founder
Blue Planet Run
Purpose Prize Fellow 2009

Jin started Blue Planet Run to provide safe drinking water to people in the developing world.

Unsafe drinking water is a chief agent of health-related sickness and death worldwide, leading to more than 2 million deaths a year. Zidell, whose professional endeavors have included scrap iron/steel processing and real estate development, started Blue Planet Run Foundation in 2002 at age 63. The goal: to deliver safe drinking water to 200 million people by 2027. Blue Planet Run created the Peer Water Exchange, a global online network through which nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) work together to vet, select, manage, and monitor water projects funded by Blue Planet Run, other foundations, and individuals. As peers vet each other's projects, they are able to learn from each other and inform their own work. For example, an African NGO belonging to the Peer Water Exchange installed a hand pump that brought safe drinking water to 300 villagers after learning from an Indian member of the network about purchasing parts for 50 percent less. Blue Planet Run has funded more than 300 projects in 21 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, serving more than 300,000 people and fostering economic development in those areas. Says Zidell: "Gaining access to safe drinking water is the first step on the ladder out of poverty. Children go to school. Women become respected members of their communities,and these communities grow."