This month, the bottled-water company Humankind Water beat out over 4,000 other products to reach the "top ten" in an American Idol-style contest run by Wal-Mart called Get on the Shelf. The contest pitted start-up companies and entrepreneurs against each other, as voters submitted a million votes in total to tell Wal-Mart which product they would like to see, as the title suggests, on the shelf of their local superstore.
Now, the top 10 products are competing against each other again, in a second round of voting that ended yesterday. The top three finalists will be carried on walmart.com, and the overall winner will also "get on the shelf" in select Wal-Mart stores.
Get on the Shelf is the first contest of its kind by a major retailer, according to The Wall Street Journal's Market Watch. It's also an opportunity, says Humankind Water founder T. J. Foltz, to help right one of the major wrongs in our world: the lack of clean drinking water.
We've seen the statistics so many times we've almost become immune, Foltz says. Some 10,000 children die every day from a lack of clean drinking water. Sitting on his couch one morning two years ago, praying, Foltz says he came up with an idea: launch a bottled-water company that gives 100 percent of its net profits toward clean water efforts around the globe.
Foltz's background isn't in business or marketing. "I've spent most of my adult life in youth ministry," Foltz says, although he's also worked for Scripture Union and the philanthropic adviser Geneva Global. And Foltz did not set out to make Humankind Water overtly Christian.
"We very intentionally did not put crosses and hallelujahs all over the bottle, ...1
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