TORONTO, September 7, 2011 ONE DROP and RBC today announced a new and innovative initiative, Project India, that will educate and improve access to safe drinking water and sanitation in Orissa, one of India's poorest states. Project India will be funded by a $1.1 million grant provided by RBC. Guy Laliberté, Chair of ONE DROP and Founder of Cirque du Soleil®, and Gordon M. Nixon, President and CEO of RBC, were on hand for the announcement made at LA SOIRÉE ONE DROP under the big top of Cirque du Soleil's TOTEMT at the Toronto Port Lands.
"ONE DROP is acting as an agent of change by joining forces with the RBC Blue Water Project® and other local organizations to improve the living conditions and reduce poverty in India. This initiative, based on a social arts and popular education program, aims to encourage communities to adopt responsible behaviour and help preserve the vital resource of water," explained Guy Laliberté, ONE DROP. "This evening, in Toronto, we have taken another step towards the dream of water for all - a source of life and a creative development force. I will continue reaching out to the world to make this dream a reality, one drop at a time, one step at a time, for future generations."
Project India will partner with local organizations such as Gram Vikas, a non-governmental organization that has been working with poor and marginalized rural communities in Orissa since 1979. Gram Vikas will take the technical lead on the project, working with local residents to establish community-managed water supply and sanitation facilities. In addition, ONE DROP will collaborate with local organizations such as the Bakul Foundation, to create an arts and education program intended to provide lasting behavioural change with residents and in the community at large. The RBC Blue Water Project will fully fund the implementation of the arts and education component of Project India.
"India has some of the world's most water-stressed regions, and on behalf of all of our clients from India, RBC is proud to be able to support such a worthy project," said Gord Nixon, RBC. "As a Canadian organization, we're conscious of how challenging it can be to select the best overseas projects for funding, especially with an issue as complex as water. We're confident that the collaboration between ONE DROP and the reputable and efficient organizations who are already working on the ground in Orissa can make a real difference."
LA SOIRÉE ONE DROP in Toronto: A show of solidarity
This dazzling benefit event will include a performance of TOTEMT by Cirque du Soleil and an exclusive reception. RBC and ONE DROP would like to thank all the people and businesses who spared no effort to make LA SOIRÉE a magical event.
This benefit evening in favor of access to water for all, presented by RBC in aid of ONE DROP, raised $300,000. These funds will be used to finance ONE DROP Project India as well as raise awareness among people and communities about water-related issues, both locally and globally.
The funding announced today is part of the RBC Blue Water Project's 10-year, $10 million commitment to ONE DROP for a range of on-the-ground water projects and awareness programs around the world. Since becoming the founding corporate partner of ONE DROP in 2007, RBC has committed $1.5 million for a watershed protection and conservation project in Honduras, and $1 million to help restore small hydraulic and sanitation infrastructures in Haiti as well as raise awareness about the importance of sound water management through an arts program.
About ONE DROP
ONE DROP - an initiative of Guy Laliberté, Founder of Cirque du Soleil - is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) founded on October 29, 2007 in Montreal, Canada. Water is essential to life. Access to safe water gives communities the chance to learn, develop and thrive. That is why ONE DROP works on several fronts to make a real difference. With its unique arts-based approach, ONE DROP helps to ensure sustainable development for communities by implementing educational projects, providing adapted solutions for access to safe water and granting microfinance loans. Creative projects led by ONE DROP worldwide seek to raise the population's awareness of water-related issues and to encourage the adoption of responsible water management practices. To learn more, visit ONEDROP.org.
About RBC and the RBC Blue Water Project
The RBC Blue Water Project is a 10-year, $50 million philanthropic commitment to supporting organizations that protect watersheds and ensure access to clean drinking water in Canada and abroad. Since 2007, RBC has committed more than $28 million in single and multi-year grants to over 400 organizations.
Royal Bank of Canada (RY on TSX and NYSE) and its subsidiaries operate under the master brand name RBC. We are Canada's largest bank as measured by assets and market capitalization, and among the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America's leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management services, insurance, corporate and investment banking and transaction processing services on a global basis. We employ approximately 74,000 full- and part-time employees who serve close to 15 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 55 other countries. For more information, please visit rbc.com.
- 30 -
Office: 1-514-723-7646 ext. 7029
Senior Manager, Brand Communications, RBC