Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Meet Tiffani Ashley Bell: Founder of a Non-Profit to Help Families Pay Their Water Bills. #BlackHistoryMonth

img via Stacey McChesney

 “You don’t have to be this wealthy, well-resourced person to actually make a difference.”
- Tiffani Ashley Bell to AfroTech

We often see commercials requesting monetary donations for those of need in other countries, neglecting what's actually going on the home land.  Tiffani Ashley Bell set her foot forward to create change in many communities starting with something that all humans require.  Water.

Founded by Bell in July 2014, "The Human Utility" is a platform that brings people together to assist families with paying their water bills.  Currently, the platform serves people in Baltimore, Detroit, and 28 other cities in Michigan.  

Where did the inspiration come from?  Bell told AfroTech...
We shadowed the (Atlanta) mayor at the time and then all the cabinet members. And we just got to see how cities worked basically.  I got to see most importantly, all the decision-making behind certain stuff. That was a one-year engagement.  Halfway through that, I read about what was happening in Detroit with water bills and shutoffs, and I was just thinking about — ‘Okay, you have Atlanta and you have Detroit. What’s making them make the decision to instead of actually helping people, just turn their water off?’ So, I was like, ‘Well, we could do something about it. Why not just start paying bills for people?’ And that’s what it turned into.” 

Tiffani Ashley Bell's resume is extensive and impressive.  To name a few of her accolades :
- a Code for America Fellow working w/ the City of Atlanta's Innovation Delivery Team in 2014
- Nominated and voted as one of The Root's '100 Most Influential African Americans in 2015
- Presented a paper on the use of programming and data science in designing a water affordability intervention at the Bloomberg Data for Good Exchange (D4GX) conference in 2015
- a Technology & Democracy Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government researching water affordability and designing a water affordability subsidy in 2017

Keep in mind, that is just naming a few.  "The Human Utility" has helped over 3,000 people and counting.  In 2022 alone, $117,497 in water bills were paid for 233 families.  
Water shut off impacts bathing, flushing toilets, washing dishes, drinking, and other uses in the household.  "The Human Utility" aims to ensure people always have running water in their homes.  
I love this.

For more information about Tiffani Ashley Bell and/or "The Human Utility", click here.  

s.o. to AfroTech

Related Post:  "The Love Fridge" is Supporting Chicago Communities with Food through Solar Energy

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