Kohler Co. and DigDeep Announce First Recipients of Water Is Life Microgrant Program

Six innovative water projects across the Navajo Nation will receive funding

KOHLER, Wis. – July 15, 2021 – Today, Kohler Co., a global leader in the design and manufacture of kitchen and bath products, and DigDeep, a human rights non-profit addressing water and sanitation challenges in the U.S., announced the first recipients of its new Water is Life microgrant program. Launched earlier this year, the microgrant program helps local community leaders and groups across the Navajo Nation develop innovative ideas to increase access to clean water and sanitation. Kohler and DigDeep have selected six projects to help to advance through funding and mentorship support.

Native Americans are 19 times more likely to live without indoor plumbing than White households.  One in three homes on the Navajo Nation, which spans across Arizona, Utah and New Mexico, do not have a tap or toilet.

“At Kohler, we know water, and we believe access to safe water and sanitation is a basic human right. For years we have been actively applying our expertise and the strength of our business through our Safe Water for All platform to come up with solutions for these challenges that leave way too many people without access to this important resource,” said Laura Kohler, Sr. Vice President of HR, Stewardship and Sustainability at Kohler. “By working with organizations like DigDeep who are on the frontlines of these water challenges, we can better understand what these communities need and help identify solutions that bring about real, meaningful change.”

The Water Is Life microgrant program is designed to provide grassroots funding directly to individuals with immediately actionable ideas to address water access in their own community.  The first round of projects to receive funding include:

  • “Tó éí ííńá.” - Forgotten People: A pilot project to install three in-home water systems for regular water deliveries for a year in Navajo-Hopi Partition Land.
  • K'é For Sustainable Communities - The Dempsey Family: A water delivery route to 60 families of mostly elders, disabled, and veterans in Oak Springs and Pine Springs, AZ communities.
  • Youth-Led Improvement of Knowledge, Trust and Access to Navajo Family Safe Water - Rez Refuge (RR): This project will fund pay for youth leaders in a multifaceted youth-led project to develop household specific water access solutions in Fort Defiance, AZ.   
  • The Oasis Project: Life on the Reservation - Fundamental Needs (FN): An installation of 1.5 water systems that include water tanks, solar-powered water pumps, and water heaters in homes in Rock Point, AZ.
  • Home Water Setup - Ceasar Dan: The grant will allow Ceasar to purchase a pick-up truck, trailer, water tank, and water pump to deliver water to his own family and two elders who live nearby in Monument Valley, UT.
  • Chizh for Cheii Chidí Improvement Project - Chizh for Cheii (CFC): The grant will contribute to the purchase of a new work vehicle for CFC, an organization that delivers firewood and emergency supplies to elders across the Navajo Nation.

“When we announced the Water is Life microgrant program, we received an outpouring of interest from people in the community who felt empowered to share their ideas and become part of the solution,” said Katie Janss, Research Manager of DigDeep’s Navajo Water Project. “The best solutions often come from people who are living these challenges day after day and know what needs to be done but lack the funding or resources to do so. The Water is Life microgrant program is giving these people an opportunity to build upon their ideas and create a better life for themselves, their families and the broader Navajo community.”       

The Water is Life microgrant program will support 25-30 local entrepreneurs or community groups over a three- year period. Anyone living on the Navajo Nation is invited to submit innovative ideas and business plans that would provide universal access to clean water and sanitation through community-based service models or new technologies. The next round of applications will open on August 2 and close on September 30.

For more information on Kohler’s work with DigDeep, visit safewaterforall.com.

For more information on DigDeep’s Navajo Water Project, visit navajowaterproject.org.

About Kohler Co.

Founded in 1873 and headquartered in Kohler, Wisconsin, Kohler Co. is one of America’s oldest and largest privately held companies comprised of more than 35,000 associates. With more than 50 manufacturing locations worldwide, Kohler is a global leader in the design, innovation and manufacture of kitchen and bath products; engines, power systems and clean energy solutions; luxury cabinetry, tile and lighting; and owner/operator of two, five-star hospitality and golf resort destinations in Kohler, Wisconsin, and St. Andrews, Scotland, as well as Lodge Kohler in Green Bay, Wisconsin’s Titletown district. Kohler’s Whistling Straits golf course will host the 43rd Ryder Cup in 2021. The company also develops solutions to address pressing issues, such as clean water and sanitation, for underserved communities around the world to enhance the quality of life for current and future generations. For more details, please visit kohlercompany.com.

About DigDeep

DigDeep is a human rights nonprofit working to ensure that every American has access to clean, running water. DigDeep is the winner of the 2018 US Water Prize for its Navajo Water Project, which has installed water systems inside the homes of hundreds of indigenous families across New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. In July 2020, DigDeep launched the Appalachia Water Project, which marked the first nationwide expansion of its work to address the water access crisis across southwestern West Virginia and northeastern Kentucky.  For more information, please visit digdeep.org, navajowaterproject.org, or appalachiawaterproject.org, and follow on Twitter (@DigDeepH2O), Facebook and Instagram (@DigDeepWater).


Kohler Media Contact

Vicki Valdez Hafenstein                                    

Kohler Public Relations

920-457-4441 ext. 70519



DigDeep Media Contact

Caroline Goggin