The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation

Make Water, a STEM-Focused Water Purification Innovation Curriculum

Grant Information
Categories Education , Environment
Location South Texas
Cycle Year 2019
Organization Information
Organization Name (provided by applicant) Elequa, Inc.
Organization Name (provided by automatic EIN validation)
Contact Information
Contact Name Ryan Beltran
Phone 210-201-2971
110 Yellowstone Street
San Antonio
Additional Information
Used for Funds will support operational and supply costs for Make Water, a STEM-based, hands-on environmental education program for students (age 11+) focused on water purification. Participants assemble a water purification coagulator kit and integrate STEM skills - such as coding, 3D printing, an alternate energies - to elevate or improve its design and function. Grant funds will help provide coagulator purification kits free-of-charge to educators and students in greater San Antonio who are economically disadvantaged or serving low- to moderate-income (LMI) students.
Benefits Make Water’s “do-it-yourself” water purification kits are vehicles for environmentally-conscious STEM learning and making a global difference. Funds for Make Water will enable Elequa to bring the program to districts and schools serving large populations of low- and moderate-income and/or minority students. Make Water seeks to increase student interest and participation in future STEM studies and career tracts, develop realistic and scalable solutions for water-challenged international communities, and encourage students to become responsible global citizens and difference-makers.
Proposal Description Make Water’s STEM-based, hands-on curriculum introduces students to electrocoagulation, an emerging water purification process that relies on an electric current and generated ions to separate contaminants for efficient filtration. Participants, known as “teams,” receive and assemble a coagulator kit, and they’re challenged to elevate, improve, or redesign elements for greater efficiency and effectiveness, integrating additional STEM skills as they create their prototypes. Past teams’ innovations have led to modifications to the coagulator kit, and have shown potential to be realistic, scalable, and effective in the field. Teams also learn about real-world water issues, both domestically and abroad, and are challenged to think of themselves as problem-solvers and global citizens.

To date, more than 1,000 students and educators in Texas have participated in a Make Water season or workshop. In 2019, Make Water will expand internationally to a team in Bolivia. Moving forward, Elequa is committed to increasing the visibility and availability of the Make Water program to low- and moderate-income districts and schools serving minorities and females across the United States and abroad.

Funds from this grant request will support Elequa’s operational and material costs associated with executing the Make Water program. Make Water runs from September to April. Program expenses include, but are not limited to, coagulator kit supplies and assembly; production of instructional program videos (posted to YouTube); and staff time implementing, teaching, and supporting the curriculum in first-time classrooms. Each coagulator kit costs up to $50.00, and Elequa intentionally sources its hardware to keep kits accessible to participants; Elequa’s coagulator kits cost up to five times less than similar products. Despite its lower costs, Elequa’s goal is to make Make Water coagulator kits free-of-charge to educators and districts of all socioeconomic backgrounds, and this can only be done with the support of generous funders and supporters. Elequa also recognizes its funders and supporters through its social media channels, including YouTube, where the organization reaches more than 2,000 followers across all platforms.

Elequa maintains strong community partnerships to bring Make Water to educators and students each year, including a multi-year partnership with San Antonio Water Systems (SAWS) and Bibliotech. Funding from the Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation will help Elequa achieve its goals of using Make Water to encourage students to be active, conscientious citizen scientists; foster student-driven communities of innovation, problem-solving, and creativity; and improve STEM skills and student readiness for college and careers.