by Pat Landowska

For the fifth year in a row, UNICEF is raising money for clean water for children around the world through the organization’s Tap Project during World Water Week, March 20-26, 2011. The award-winning program that started in 300 New York restaurants, has since expanded to become a nationwide movement. During World Water Week, restaurants across the U.S. will encourage their patrons to donate $1 or more for the tap water they usually enjoy for free, according to the campaign’s slogan “When You Take Water, Give Water.” Since its inception in 2007, the UNICEF Tap Project has raised almost $2.5 million in the U.S. and has helped to provide clean water for millions of children globally.

Sean Bates, the co-owner of Larchmont Grill, one of the restaurants participating in the project in Los Angeles, calls UNICEF’s initiative “the most phenomenal charitable idea ever.” This year, Larchmont Grill will be participating in the program for the third time.

“Kids around the world suffer without clean water. UNICEF makes it possible to change that. Every dollar donated goes directly to those in need, no money is wasted for administrative costs,” says Bates. He learned about the project from his Brazilian employee, who helped to raise company’s awareness about scarce water supplies in developing countries. Since then all employees have been educated on the topic. Last year, Larchmont Grill raised over $1,000 for UNICEF.

“This year will be even better because we’re using our social marketing tools to promote the project. We’re also raising money through our website. Patrons are very receptive and often donate more than one dollar they’re being asked for.”

For Magnolia Hollywood it will be the second fundraiser for the Tap Project. “Statistics are amazing. People have no idea what a dollar can do. One dollar can secure safe water for one child for forty days. It is a great way for people to make a real difference with a very little effort” says Laurie Mulstay, the co-owner of Magnolia.

According to UNICEF, in 2010 alone, nearly 1,000 restaurants participated in the national campaign, making it the largest volunteer mobilization effort for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. If UNICEF gives us a poster, something we could show to clients, it would be a whole different story,” says Allen, the manager of Chi Dynasty in Studio City. Otherwise, it is hard to explain to customers why we want to charge them for the tap water during this one week of the year. “It’s very easy,” replies Laurie Mulstay. “UNICEF provides us with donation cards to be attached to patrons’ checks, so they can decide whether and how much they would like to donate.”

As we at Wells Bring Hope know from experience, successful charitable actions always require some kind of effort and nothing ever gets done based on good intentions alone. In this case, however, UNICEF makes the whole process simple for the restaurants to register with the Tap Project at, and to get help and guidance from the organization. We were shocked to learn that there are only 9 restaurants participating in Los Angeles!

Our founder, Barbara Goldberg called UNICEF to verify that, and it’s true. Their volunteers are trying to get more to come on board. Let’s give them a hand and become the “unofficial” volunteers for UNICEF. (Note: you can become an “official” volunteer by calling them toll free at:877-776-5827.) How to convince the restaurants you frequent to join the TAP Project? Just send them to:

If the idea of providing children of the world with safe water is dear to your heart, we encourage you to book a table in one of the restaurants listed below during the World Water Week. Here is a list of the participating restaurants to date:

Magnolia Downtown 825 W. James M. Wood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90015 213.362.0880

Larchmont Grill American 5750 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90038 323.464.4277

Magnolia Hollywood 6266 1/2 W. Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028 323.467.0660

Taste On Melrose 8454 Melrose Ave. West Hollywood, CA 90069 323.852.6888

Breadbar Third Street 8718 W. Third Street Los Angeles, CA 90048 310.205.0124

Panini Pizzeria 8849 W. Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90069 310.652.4726

Breadbar Century City 10250 Santa Monica Blvd. Century City, CA 90067 310.277.3770

Enzo & Angela 11701 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90025 310.477.3880

Cafe Bolivar 1741 Ocean Park Boulevard Santa Monica, CA 90405 310.581.2344