Watershed Benefits from Creative Philanthropy

Some small gifts are made bigger with heart.

Over the past few months, The Watershed Institute has been chosen for creative philanthropy by donors ranging from middle school students to adults.

The effort and thoughtfulness shown by these ventures, ranging from cultural dances to bake sales to church donations, reflects the passion of the Watershed’s members. Every gift and donation helps the Watershed protect and restore clean water central New Jersey.

Fourteen-year-old Akhansha Arvind is having her solo Indian classical dance recital in late June and wants to use the event to raise awareness and benefit the Watershed, where she’s volunteered at the Butterfly Festival, the Fairy Festival and the Groundhog Day celebrations.


On June 29, the freshman at Hopewell’s Central High School will perform the Indian classical dance, Bharatanatyam, before an expected audience of 200 guests. She began learning this dance form when she was seven years old and said that it is her passion, consuming her free time and energy. The three-hour long recital is performed to Indian classical music (Carnatic music).

In Princeton, five 8th graders from Princeton Day School (PDS) selected the Watershed for a non-traditional learning option. The students decided to raise awareness about the significance of maintaining a clean water supply, and organized and managed a fundraiser.

The upshot? They raised $104 in proceeds from a bake sale as part of their Da Vinci service project.

“I was greatly interested in the Watershed because I appreciate what they do for the environment. A group of five friends, including myself, decided we wanted to use this (Da Vinci) opportunity to raise money for something we believe in,” said Riley Fried, PDS ’23.  “I remember a few years ago, when I was a Girl Scout, we took a trip to the Watershed, and I was truly inspired. I found this school project a great chance to fulfill some of my hopes to help keep our local environment clean. It saddens me that the earth is dying, and I am glad to help in any way possible!”

Farther north, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Somerset Hills continued a tradition of choosing a “green” local organization or cause in April as a beneficiary of their offertory plate collections. The Watershed was selected as the recipient for two Sundays in Earth Month this year. Several years ago, a Watershed staffer spoke to the congregation about the importance of water quality and changes in the environment.

“I know there are a lot of people in our congregation who care about the environment,” said Brent White, a member of the community plate committee at UUCSH. “We like to support local causes.”

These acts of thoughtfulness make every gift, no matter the amount, seem large.