844 million people lack access to clean water, according to the World Health Organization. While this reality may be hard for us to grasp, the scarcity of water around the world leads to food scarcity, poverty, disease and death. Children are hit particularly hard by the scarcity of water and spend their days gathering water for their families rather than attending school.
Ph8 Foundation is working to change this reality; this organization is providing people around the globe with access to “clean, safe, sustainable sources of water,” not for a day, not for a month, but for the rest of their lives. Ph8 is making land fertile, allowing children to live better lives, and they’re improving the health of townships and cities around the world. By 2030, Ph8 hopes to help the United Nations’ reach its Sustainable Development Goal of clean, safe water access for everyone on earth.
We recently partnered with PH8 Foundation on a recent trip to Cambodia. Their work is making a profound difference in the world and we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it.
We had a chance to sit down with Mike Angel CEO/Founder of Ph8 Foundation. Mike is the kind of guy who radiates a positive energy that’s inevitably contagious; he’ll put a smile on your face about a half of a sentence into your conversation. You can feel Mike’s passion for his organization’s mission in every sentence, but he also has this grounded, realist mentality that you respect seeing in a leader.
Here’s what Mike had to say:
Detour: Let’s just kick things off by talking a little bit about the Ph8 Foundation
Mike: We provide clean water solutions in that places that really, really need it. And it’s not just drilling wells, we like to call it “prescription.” What we do is once we enter [a community] is we like to see what the the most effective and efficient [water] solution is for the people. So for example, in Ghana we created an electrical freshwater well, where the kids don’t have to spend their time pumping water, like a regular well. It’s solar powered, and with the push of a button, it fills up a poly tank, goes through a filtration system, and people can easily access the water by twisting a knob. In Cambodia, most of the people have water, but it’s contaminated with E.coli like crazy! So for them, we had to create bio sand filters along with other types of water filtration systems. Another thing that we do when we provide these solutions is we like to employ local people that know how to provide the solutions, so we’re also providing jobs.
One thing that really struck me to my heart, was seeing all these farmers growing crops with contaminated water. And when water is contaminated and you’re growing crops (you’re growing apples, you’re growing tomatoes) this water is going to destroy the nutrients that the children need in order to actually live a healthy lifestyle. One of my great friends, [Kevin Kassel], he’s the CEO of Aqus, shared that saving a child’s life could [happen with] a $30 water filter…So, you’re telling me that if I provide a $30 filter for this child, that the lifespan of this child will be expanded tenfold?! It’s things like this that we don’t really see or pay attention to, and that’s why I’m so passionate about water. We can’t have education if you don’t have water. You can’t have a successful, healthy lifestyle without clean water. So, that’s why I’m so fired up right now. I’m passionate about the global water crisis, and I know we can put an end to it during our lifetime, because there are a lot of solutions out there.
We know how to do it, all it takes is us coming together, working in unison. Ph8 Foundation, Detour Bar, our collaboration, spreading more awareness, raising more funds to provide these solutions for these people.
Detour: That’s an awesome mission. I love the passion, your level of understanding, and abilities that you’re organization is providing for the cause, It’s all just glaring out the door with what Ph8 is all about. So, with that in mind what are some of the things your constituents and beneficiaries love about your organization?
Mike: Well, you know the whole charity world that we see is very conservative, it’s very red or blue. You feel like there’s a big gap in creating a platform where you can have a lot of consciousness going on. So, the way we raise money is by hosting events called Party with a Purpose. We intertwine yoga, meditation, sound healing, we have live art, wine and art, EDM music. Our partners are Titos Vodka, 2 Towns Cider, and 100% [of donations through Parties with a Purpose] goes directly to the cause. And I feel like right now there’s such a huge gap, where when people hear, “hey we’re a charity, give us donations,” they already start to shield up. They don’t even want to hear the mission statement. If you’re walking down the street, and you see people with hats, carrying iPads, and they’re trying to talk to you about something, what are the chances that somebody is going to stop and really talk to them? Maybe 1 in 10. So, now imagine if we incentivize on our lifestyle.
Detour: That’s great stuff. So, with everything you just said, what do you think are some of the most influential factors to Ph8’s success?
Mike: We operate as a horizontal organization, there’s no real hierarchy; everybody is a leader. So, I believe that our people and the intention is what [creates] our success. It’s the love and the passion that everybody has; everybody has something to bring to the table.
You don’t attract what you want. You attract who you are. So that’s the type of people that [Ph8] is surrounded by–people with great intentions.
Detour: Now, let’s flip the coin over. What are some of the big challenges you guys have in completing your mission?
Mike: So, going back to being a 100% charity model, we all have side jobs to fund our flights, to fund our stay, and to fund our food while we’re out there completing projects. That’s pretty much the hardest challenge. But somehow the universe has it where it is tough, but we still end up making it happen.
Detour: For someone just getting to know your organization, the level of passion and dedication I can hear resonating from your voice is admirable, it’s refreshing. So, what are some plans for the future, what’s ahead for Ph8?
Mike: Here’s what’s going on, we have this Cambodia trip happening. We’re going to provide water for 1,500 people, by build latrines and a water filtration system for a school.
In early 2018 we’re headed to the Philippines by Bohol, in Davao City, and we’re also working with and forming partnerships with charities in Nepal, Ethiopia, and Malawi. These are some of the areas where people really desperately need [water]! Especially in Cambodia, and oh my God, Cambodia is such a peaceful country. There’s so much joy going around, and a small act of kindness can change somebody’s life over there. These are the areas that that we specifically chose as an organization.
Detour: That’s big. That’s an amazing way to tie things together and an awesome plan for growth. I have to ask, what are some of the surprising lessons that you’ve learned along the way to where you are now with Ph8?
Mike: Oh brother, there’s a lot! OK, first, we’re just extremely blessed. A lot of people don’t see that, but going into this mission and seeing the water scarcity and experiencing it as well has just changed my life completely. On the road with Ph8, I’ve just learned to love unconditionally. Understand that everybody has their own journey, but we’re all the same. I see America a totally different way. Before this, oh my God, I used to have ego, I used to just complain about the littlest things. And another thing that really fascinated me is the impact that will resonate across the world from just a little act of kindness; it can just change somebody’s life so drastically. And now, I see every day as a miracle, I expect miracles to happen. There’s that saying, “you’re either a blessin’ or you’re a lesson,” and we have to maintain that growth mindset, always. Always constantly growing and growing and learning and sharing. I’ve learned all this from launching this organization, and I’m still constantly learning and growing. We’re all teachers and students at the same time. That’s why I’m doing work elsewhere as well as here.
One thing we do for our community is every Saturday we’re partnered up with this organization called Red Eye, they provide youth mentorship. So whenever we’re not out providing clean water you’ll find us…mentoring children. I believe in setting great examples with people, it really resonates, energy is contagious, and we’re such intuitive beings. So if we start teaching the kids at a young age about love and giving back by the time they reach our age they’ll surpass us, and they’ll keep emanating that love. There’s a lot more brother that I can talk about, but those are the most important points through this journey.
Detour: Let’s talk a little bit about how can others get involved in supporting your mission. How can people get involved with Ph8?
Mike: I think the best ways to do it is to reach out to us at ph8foundation.org, or through contributions, but not just donations. If you have resources, if you have connections, if you want to spread awareness, or share us on social media. If you’re in L.A. you can come to [Saturday] hikes at Runyon Canyon Park at 9:00 a.m. [We] bring a jerrycan that weighs 45 pounds. Some children in Africa have to walk about 3.7 miles daily with this thing on their head, it’s so heavy! So. what we do is, we like to have the people that come on the hikes feel what it’s like to carry this big jerrycan of water. There are multiple avenues to help us out, but not just through donations, through resources, because at the end of the day, we’re volunteer based.
Detour: Will do… So, with this mindset, and with everything we’ve talked about, I have one more questions. What are some of the things that you’ve been able to achieve as an organization?
Mike: Would you believe that with one event, we were able to provide 1,186 students in Kumi, Uganda clean water for life; from one [brunch] event, in less than a day. That to me was mind blowing. Another one that I’m really proud of is, we like to help out anyway that we can, and [in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey] Corey Taylor and another Ph8 co-founder Gordon Zhou, took a red eye to Texas to go help people with their homes. And that’s something that we’re going to be launching on the side, an emergency and disaster relief sector. I’m also proud of the way we fundraise. We had an event called Resonate, where we had sound healing, meditation, yoga etc., and we were able to change 800 people’s lives in Cambodia, that to me just felt amazing. It just really supports the fact that a little simple act of kindness can go a long way; It’s just people coming together in unison and really caring about a hardship that they haven’t had to experience. I’m proud of that as well.
Detour: I love that. I love the passion that’s pouring out of you, because of what you’re doing, and what you’ve done. The past, the present and the future with Ph8, it’s inspiring. I really appreciate your time today.
Mike: Thank you, I’m extremely grateful for you guys taking the time to hear our story, and spread the message, I’m forever grateful, for sure.