• Wells of Life Admin

Wells of Life Gala Raises $1.8M to Fund Safe Drinking Water Wells in Uganda

Updated: Mar 14

California-Based Nonprofit Honors Local Philanthropist’s Art and Gaye Birtcher at

2021 Annual Legacy Gala

IRVINE, Calif.– November 19, 2021 – Wells of Life, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to providing safe, clean water for the people of Uganda, announced that it raised a record $1.82M to fund safe drinking wells at its recent annual Legacy Circle Gala – sponsored by Lugano Diamonds -- for Orange County’s top business and philanthropic leaders.


Founded in 2005, Lugano Diamonds is one of the finest jewelers in the world, whose commitment to unparalleled quality, exquisite beauty and professionalism is surpassed only by theirgenerosity, said Wells of Life Founder and CEO Nick Jordan.


“On behalf of Wells of Life, I am deeply grateful to Moti and Idit Ferder, co-founders of Lugano Diamonds, for their support and inspired commitment over the past two years, during which we raised $2.8 million, to enable our goal of building 1,000 wells by the end of 2022,” said Jordan.

Co-chaired by philanthropist Jacqueline Dupont-Carlson, Michelle Jordan, and Rosemary Sperry, the entire black-tie gala was made possible through the support of Lugano Diamonds and Farmers and Merchants Bank, he said.

Thanks to their leadership, donations to the 2021 Legacy Circle Gala, held on November 4, 2021, at the Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach, came in record numbers, surpassing an earlier goal of $1.4M, he said.


“Previously, we had the lofty goal of raising $1.4 million in donations, but thanks to the support of our sponsors and guests, including Lugano Diamonds and Farmers and Merchant Bank, we set a record of raising $1.82 million,” said Jordan, noting that the impressive sum came from just 85 attendees, averaging $21,000 per guest.


“Wells of Life celebrated our most successful year ever. We have provided clean water to over 700 rural communities in Uganda since 2010. Thanks to those who share our vision, we are setting an example of improving water access to the previously forgotten villages. We invite everyone to join us in this important work, creating a world with clean water available to all – one person, one well and one village community at a time,” said Jordan.


Wells of Life (WOL) is a Christian non-profit organization committed to improving the quality of lives within rural Ugandan communities by drilling wells and providing water, sanitation, and hygiene education to create sustainable access to water. Since its founding in 2009, WOL has drilled 617 wells and restored 136 wells, changing lives in immeasurable ways in the process.


In addition to the support from Lugano Diamonds and Farmers and Merchant Bank, Linda Young and Elite OC Productions coordinated a beautiful event for all to enjoy who were in attendance. (See list of notable attendees below.)



Dr. Dupont-Carlson said this year’s gala attendees “helped create health, hope, running water, and a helping hand out of poverty for the poorest communities in Uganda.”

“In our hearts, we know you will help us lift up and even save another human being’s life,” said Dupont-Carlson, who also serves on WOL’s Executive Board.


The gala featured video presentations to support the groundbreaking work of WOL as well as awards to outstanding individuals for their support.

Honorary Legacy member and Farmers and Merchants Bank President Henry Walker presented this year’s “Humanitarian Award” to Art and Gaye Birtcher for their distinguished generosity for over a decade.


"Wells of Life builds bridges of hope to those who lack this most basic component of life – clean, safe water,” said Walker. “Art and Gaye Birtcher are to be commended for their outstanding support of this meaningful cause.”

During the award ceremony, Wells of Life President Pete Callahan presented this year's “Gala Servant Leadership Award” to Sister Joan Hogan, a humanitarian, social influencer, and WOL Executive Board Member.


“Like Pope Francis, Sister Joan lives by example and exemplifies both dedication and compassion to alleviating poverty through access to clean, safe drinking water,” said Callahan.


“I am honored to be recognized for my work, but let’s don’t forget how much can still be done to help the poor, especially those in Uganda,” said Sister Joan Hogan. “For them, every drop of water matters and every second counts.”




“I never cease to be amazed by the outpouring of support we receive from Southern California—and beyond. The people in this community have good hearts, I really believe that. And tonight, they proved it,” said Nick Jordan, reflecting on the outpouring of goodwill that accompanied the evening.


He noted that Wells of Life has done its part to recognize the outpouring of support from Southern California, dedicating life-changing wells to prominent L.A. residents, such as Well #524, constructed in the memory of Kobe and Gianna Bryant.


Kobe Bryant, a prominent star on the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, tragically passed away with his daughter in early 2020.




“Kobe brought so much good to this city, and we chose to honor that in the most poetic way possible -- by continuing to do good works in his memory,” said Jordan.


Other wells dedicated to prominent citizens include:

● Well #600 dedicated to Charlie, Pam, and Austin Hedges, who made his professional career debut as a catcher with the San Diego Padres, and is now with the Cleveland Indians

● Restoration of Well #44 dedicated to famed actor/comedian Robin Williams

● Well #493 well dedicated to Bishop David O’Connell, San Gabriel Pastoral Region

● Well #133 well dedicated to Pope Francis, who shares WOL’s passion for global safe drinking water rights


“Wells of Life is a movement of change, where we bring together every person, every school, every church, every community and every business and each are willing to take that stand in action, not in words. This year’s successful Gala was our best one yet. I’m very proud of our team and the substantial work we have done – which lays the groundwork for even more spectacular things to come,” said Jordan.



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Photos from the Event: Link here.

Notable Attendees:

· Marc Carlson and Jacqueline Dupont Carlson - Philanthropists

· Moti & Idit Ferder - Founders of Lugano Diamonds

· Steve Oedekerk - Movie Producer

· Alaina Stamos - Philanthropist

· Rand & Rosemary Sperry - Philanthropists

· Keleigh Teller - model and wife of Miles Teller (actor)

· Henry Walker - President of Farmers & Merchants Bank



· David Flattum - Managing Director of PIMCO

· Dick & Donna Pickup - Philanthropists

· John McMahon & Mai Huynh - Philanthropists

· Sister Joan Hogan, CHF - Servant Leader Award Honoree

· Burton & Linda Young - Elite OC Managing Partner & Philanthropist

· Art & Gaye Birtcher - Humanitarian of the Year Award Honorees & Philanthropists


Additional Information:

About Wells of Life: Wells of Life is a Christian nonprofit organization that delivers clean water to rural Uganda by drilling wells and teaching sustainable sanitation and hygiene. Our Vision is to create a world in which safe access to clean water is available to all people. For more information on Wells of Life, visit: www.wellsoflife.org . To learn more about this organization or to donate, contact Nick Jordan (WOL): 949-584-6166, nick@wellsoflife.org.