Established in 2017 and presented each year at the Winter Waterland Gala, the Well Aware Impact Awards recognize inspiring individuals who demonstrate a deep commitment to both global humanitarian issues and to the work of Well Aware. Additionally, the recipients embody Well Aware’s core values: integrity, community, compassion, and innovation.
From Amy Poehler and Meredith Walker to Dr. Auma Obama, Well Aware has had the incredible honor of recognizing some extraordinary individuals who are working tirelessly to spread awareness and bring change through global impact.
This year, we’re excited to recognize three more outstanding people who are truly changing the world. Meet our 2021 awardees below and join us at the 2021 Winter Waterland Gala on Thursday, December 2nd at The Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin, Texas.
Salva Dut was born in a rural village in southwestern Sudan to the Dinka tribe. At 11 years old, the Sudanese Civil War reached his village and separated Salva from his family. He joined thousands of boys, famously known as the “Lost Boys,” on their journey by foot to seek safety in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya. After living in refugee camps for 10 years, Salva was given the opportunity to move to the United States. Several years later, Salva learned that his father was still alive in Southern Sudan but was suffering with disease caused by waterborne parasites. His father’s illness inspired Salva to help both his father and his country by bringing clean water to those in need. So, he began Water for South Sudan, a nonprofit focused on doing just that. Since then, he has transformed many lives and inspired people across the globe. Salva’s incredible story is told in the New York Times bestseller A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park.
Reginald, known as Kahlil, is a football player in his fourth NFL season, currently playing for the Baltimore Ravens. He grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, before moving to Concord, California, during high school where he then ranked #1 in high school players in the country. Kahlil attended the University of Tennessee, the very school his father and uncle also played football for, and was first drafted to the Kansas City Chiefs in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Kahlil married his wife Alyssa last year and they had their first son, Tre’ (Reginald Kahlil Mckenzie, III), in March of 2021. When he isn’t playing football or spending time with his family, Kahlil can be found working on his philanthropic endeavors. He joined the Well Aware community last year and has been a tremendous advocate for our work since — spreading awareness through his platform, recruiting new supporters, and raising enough to provide over 1,500 people with clean water in just one year.
“Working with Well Aware is important to me because, ever since I was younger (about 7th grade), I vividly remember learning about how much money we spend on Christmas gifts versus how much money is spent on helping solve world problems. In that moment, that drew me into how to help service and get access to clean water for everyone. Once my wife and I moved to Texas I was really looking for an organization to get connected with in a hands-on fashion. That’s when I discovered Well Aware reached out to me, when finding out they were located in Austin it was a true blessing. Since then, my family and I have tried to do as much as we can to help push Well Aware’s goals forward and continue to fight for and educate as many as possible to help bring clean water to all those in need.”
Terry “TK” Kowalicki, an employee of Well Aware partner Spectrum Brands, has been a fierce and dedicated advocate for our mission and Shower Strike over the last couple of years. He has helped recruit his colleagues, served on the committee, and has spread awareness of this powerful fundraising campaign throughout his network in Austin and beyond. This year, he raised an astounding $14,000 for our clean water projects in under a month, enough to provide nearly 1,000 people with this vital resource and earn him the honor of 2021 Striker of the Year Award.
Congratulations to every 2021 award recipient. It is an honor and a privilege to recognize these incredible individuals who are inspiring change. Get your tickets today to join us in celebrating them at the Winter Waterland Gala on December 2nd!