Businessman’s effort brings clean water to others
Allen Stubitsch and Midwest Pond Design has led fundraising efforts to bring wells to people throughout the world. | Photo provided
The Water Project
To donate to Midwest Pond and Allen Stubitsch’s fundraiser for The Water Project, go to http://thewaterproject.org/community/profile/
Updated: February 11, 2013 6:37AM
MUNDELEIN — Allen Stubitsch uses water to bring beauty to homes throughout Lake County.
However, Stubitsch — the owner of Midwest Pond Design — is most proud of the water work in Kenya and Sierra Leone that also have his signature.
Through fundraising efforts, which include customers, family and friends, as well as total strangers, Stubitsch has paid for the creation of two wells, bringing clean water to 2,000 people.
“We go through drive-throughs and order a couple of numbered meals. For that same money, we can give one person water for life,” said Stubitsch, whose business specializes in retention walls, ponds and patios. “For that $10 or $15, you can give people the chance to grow crops, to feed livestock.”
Stubitsch’s 10-month, $6,000 effort to create the two wells through The Water Project started with an epiphany on New Year’s Day 2012.
“I literally woke up on New Year’s Day and thought, ‘There is something more I could do in the world,’ ” Stubitsch said. “I build waterfalls and ponds. I keep fish alive and keep water clear. Yet there are people in the world who drink water that is contaminated, and they share that water with livestock.”
Stubitsch, a Mundelein resident, started looking at different charitable organizations and settled on The Water Project, which brings clean water to communities around the world. Stubitsch noted that the nonprofit agency gets money for all its operational fees through separate fundraisers. Stubitsch said he likes knowing that 100 percent of what is raised for the organization goes into the construction of wells in other parts of the world.
He said things are out of whack when one in every seven people in the world does not have clean drinking water, but one in every seven people in the world is on Facebook.
Stubitsch said before getting others involved in the fundraising effort he had to take action himself.
“We all have to make small sacrifices,” Stubitsch said. “For me, it was energy drinks. That’s $3 a day, $80 a month. For that $80 one month, eight people can have water for the rest of their lives.”
Stubitsch said he doesn’t miss the daily energy drink.
“It is healthier for you if you drink water instead,” Stubitsch said. “On any day, you can have the revelation that here we go to the fridge for soda or an energy drink or Gatorade, and we have water, filtered water, from Lake Michigan, and we are not using it.
“People literally are dying for that water.”
Stubitsch, who has operated Midwest Pond Design since 1999, hasn’t just given money. He also gives his time.
Stubitsch will do a lawn aeration or minor repair job and instead of providing the customer with a bill, he will simply ask that the client make a donation to The Water Project.
“I have a nice customer base,” Stubitsch said. “A few times during the year, I will sacrifice a little time. I may do a lawn aeration for nothing. For that $60 or $70 — one hour of my time — I can give six or seven people water for life.”
Stubitsch is thankful for the customers, family and friends who contributed to the first fundraiser. He is hoping for similar results in a second fundraiser. He hopes to raise $7,500 by mid-July in this effort, aimed at bringing clean water to more than 800 people.
Through his first online fundraiser, he got support from people through the nation and world.
“A lady donated $500 that she was going to donate to a political campaign,” Stubitsch said. “Here is a woman from Arkansas who I have never met and she donates money that was going to go to the election process. We spend money on all the election signs and there are people with nothing. This has been very educational.”
Stubitsch, who had been in warehousing before stating Midwest Pond, has done plenty of backyard beautification projects and has not been stumped with any customer’s request. He said having an outlet for his creativity is satisfying.
“I do something where I get to create unique things that can last forever,” Stubitsch said. “I give people something they can look at and enjoy.”