our mission

Surge for Water invests in communities with safe water, sanitation and hygiene solutions to help end the cycle of poverty

what makes surge different?

Our approach respects both people and our planet.


community driven

Working hand-in-hand with local partners to design and implement the right solutions


impactful solutions

Using local products, in country expertise, and customized education programs


sustainable design

Ensuring the longevity of our solutions through mindful planning and implementation

our solutions

Surge addresses several aspects of the water and sanitation crisis.

Water Access

well and rain water tank construction

well & spring rehabilitation

Water Purification

household and community water filters

Sanitation & Hygiene

household and community toilets

Education Programs

sanitation & hygiene
menstrual hygiene conservation

Our founder’s story

Shilpa Alva, Executive Director, United States

I’m often asked what it was that moved me about water.

My motivation began when I was a child visiting extended family in India. Issues related to the water crisis were so prevalent that I saw children my age who didn’t have the luxury of playing; instead many were fetching water for their family’s survival. Even as a seven year old child, I knew this was not the way the world should be. Access to safe water is a critical aspect of daily life, and everyone should have it. Children should not bear the responsibility of a family’s survival. I knew then that I wanted to make a difference, I just didn’t know how.

When I was 21, I spent a few months on a volunteer assignment in Rajgarh, a remote Indian village. I was confronted with water and sanitation issues for the first time as an adult. In an effort to save the limited water we had access to, we could only shower once in four days, flush the toilet sparingly, and often had to wash our clothes in a murky river. We were among the fortunate ones who had some access to this precious resource; many of our friends in the village didn’t share in this luxury.

It was through this firsthand experience that I realized it was now my responsibility to make a difference. The founding of Surge in 2008 was in response to this lifelong calling: It was my way of making a lasting impact.

As Surge started to form, a few friends — our first volunteers — united to launch the organization. Our launch was met with unexpected, overwhelming support and we knew that our mission resonated with our community and that we had the backing to continue with our vision. And so we did! We continued to organize frequent fundraisers and awareness events. Soon we started to transition from raising funds and awareness to partnering with grassroots organizations in Cambodia, Dominican Republic and Haiti. As we gained momentum, we were able to grow our impact and educational efforts around the world.

In 2014, this deep calling towards a life of service became even stronger. All this while, I was running Surge while also managing a successful career as a Management Consultant. I realized that I had to go all in to bring Surge to its full potential and so I quit my job and fancy, sophisticated lifestyle. I moved all my belongings into a small storage unit and spent a lot of time in the villages we serve around the world. It was one of the best decisions I made and it was when I truly started living life to its fullest.

Today, a global team of talented staff volunteers operates Surge; each has a personal story of being moved by water that brought them to our organization. We have come together because of our belief that every person has an equal right to access safe water and sanitation. As a team, we continue to be driven by the severity of the water and sanitation crisis and the struggles people face to access this basic necessity. Together, we are making a life changing difference for hundreds of thousands of people — changing the world, one drop at a time.”

See our founder, Shilpa Alva at TEDx

our team

Surge is led by a highly committed, experienced, global team – dedicated to our mission.

  • Channa North-Hoffstaed
    Channa North-Hoffstaed Board Chair, USA
  • Emily Lawrence
    Emily Lawrence Board Member, USA
  • Suvai Gunasekaran
    Suvai Gunasekaran Board Member, USA
  • Sarah Lynch
    Sarah Lynch Director Of Marketing & Communications, USA
  • Trisha Bhagat
    Trisha Bhagat Treasurer, USA
  • Anna Paul
    Anna Paul Director Of Operations, USA
  • Shilpa Alva
    Shilpa Alva Executive Director & Founder, USA
  • Jennifer B. Long
    Jennifer B. Long Associate Executive Director, USA
  • Chris Beukenkamp
    Chris Beukenkamp Governing Board, USA
  • Scott Minger
    Scott Minger Governing Board, USA
  • Marita Peters
    Marita Peters Executive Director, UAE
  • Lorraine Alva
    Lorraine Alva Director, UAE
  • Laila Al-Yousuf
    Laila Al-Yousuf Development Director, UAE
  • Mriganka Travasso
    Mriganka Travasso Design Manager, UAE

field partner leaders

Surge leverages local partnerships to make a global difference.

  • Dr. Pierre Erol Rene
    Dr. Pierre Erol Rene ASSHLA – Haiti
  • Florence Ringe
    Florence Ringe POPOW – Uganda
  • Camille Tahura
    Camille Tahura Clean Water Philippines – Philippines
  • Pak Gatot
    Pak Gatot YLRA - Indonesia
  • Ibu Anit
    Ibu Anit YLRA - Indonesia
  • I Made Chakra Widia
    I Made Chakra Widia Tri Hita Karana - Indonesia

Speaking Engagements

We are available for speaking opportunities from corporate functions to school groups.


1658 Milwaukee Ave # 100-14070
Chicago, IL 60647
United States





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