Carl Wall’s eyes light up as he passionately talks about his work. At the age of 73, he is completing, what he feels to be, the most important job of his life. Carl is a “Water Warrior” and for the past eight years has served as a board member of Wellspring for the World. With a mission of providing clean water to the people of the world, Wellspring raises funds for water projects in ten African countries to be completed by their partner, World Vision.
A self-proclaimed “doubting Thomas,” Carl initially turned down the opportunity to serve on the board of the Fargo based non-profit when it was created in 2005. “It wasn’t a priority at that point in my life and I was not willing to step forward.” In 2009, his daughter asked him to accompany her and her son on a Vision Trip with World Vision to Africa. He initially turned down this opportunity as well. It was only after hearing a sermon at a church service about the importance of helping the poor, that he decided to make the trip. Still a skeptic, Carl decided to go but he would only go along as an observer. What he could not have imagined is how that trip would change him and the path his life would take as a result.
“I found that these people have a joy and peace in their heart. They have the ability to help each other in so many areas, but they can’t get clean water on their own. I saw the tremendous importance of helping these people. This was something that was needed and was being done the right way with World Vision.”
DREAMING AND DOING
In 2013, Carl led Wellspring in a fifteen month campaign to reach its 100th well. The campaign, entitled “Darold’s Dream: 100 Wells” was a tribute to former Wellspring board member Darold Rath.
Rath proposed the campaign just one month before his death. The original goal was met within the first five months and from there Carl set his sights on a new goal. An event planned to celebrate the success of the campaign was announced, and Carl wanted the President of World Vision USA, Richard Stearns, to make the trip to Fargo to attend the celebration. The end of the campaign saw an additional 55 wells and the announcement of a new objective, proposed by none other than Richard Stearns. On the evening of Wellspring’s celebratory dinner, Stearns would issue a new challenge to Wellspring and its donors: fund 1,000 wells.
The Wellspring 1,000 campaign will see the realization of clean water for 315,000 people, surpassing the populations of Fargo, Moorhead, and West Fargo by more than 140,000 people. The goal is big, but the need is bigger. Carl’s drive has been a catalyst in helping Wellspring surpass the 500 well mark. One of the most important pieces of the campaign is the matching funds available for all donations. Through Wellspring’s partnership with World Vision, all donations are matched two times. In addition, a local million-dollar match program provides another contribution which is also matched two times through the World Vision partnership.
Last summer, Carl and two of his daughters went back to Africa. This time, they would spend a week in Zambia viewing first-hand the work funded by Wellspring. “I’ve learned more about the people and each time I go back my perspective is enhanced. I can tell donors that their money goes exactly where it needs to go. From a business side, World Vision is accountable. They have expectations for themselves and the people they serve. The sustainability of the program means that in five years, your dollars will still be at work. That’s important to people.”
According to Carl, “the purest form of giving is when you can receive nothing in return. All people are created by God and here are people who don’t even have access to the world’s most basic element.” For the Wall family, including Carl and his wife Carol, their adult daughters and several of their grandchildren, providing clean water has become a family affair. “You are helping someone else and as a by-product, I feel personally enhanced in my life. It’s a win-win, but the clean water is the most important by far.”
In Africa they say that water is life. At Wellspring we have one job: Give water. Give life.