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Cannedwater4kids Brings Clean Drinking Water to Developing Countries



INX International's Greg Stromberg uses his industry know-how to form charitable organization



By Kerry Pianoforte, Ink World Associate Editor



Published March 17, 2011
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INX International’s Greg Stromberg was looking for a way to give back to the community. Mr. Stromberg, director of sales, national accounts metal deco at INX, combined his sense of altruism with his entrepreneurial spirit and formed cannedwater4kids, a 501c3 non-profit charity focused on bringing clean, safe water to children worldwide.

“For some time I had this yearning feeling that I needed to find a way to have our company and industry give back with a higher purpose or social good to our global community,” said Mr. Stromberg. “I have worked in this industry for over 40 years and have been blessed with a good career, wonderful relationships inside our company, outside with our customers and the entire supply chain.”

Mr. Stromberg was inspired by a number of people in the industry to make this dream a reality.

“I had many conversations with Alan Sayers, the owner of Canmaker magazine, about trying to find a way to give back by having this industry do something special,” he said. He also found inspiration in Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s book “SuperCorp – How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth and Social Good.”

“It was Alan Sayers who didn’t disappoint me when I attended a Chicago Canmaker’s Summit in October 2007 for all of the major can companies and their suppliers,” said Mr. Stromberg. “The theme of this summit was ‘Packaging for the Future’.” Mr. Sayers invited a special guest speaker by the name of Neill Cormack Robson, a consultant to United Nations on packaging. Neil gave a very moving presentation on “Metal Packaging: A Solution to Food Waste and World Hunger.” In his presentation, Neil challenged the entire industry by asking us to think about what we call could do to help these developing countries with our metal packaging containers.”

“When I looked around the room it was quite silent, and I knew that this would be an enormous challenge for our industry since there were no real infrastructure, stable working governments and educated workers in these developing countries,” said Mr. Stromberg. “I took this challenge quite personally and thought there must be a way to do something.”

Mr. Stromberg also found inspiration in Paul Newman’s “Newman’s Own” business model, in which the company uses the proceeds from their products to fund various charities.

“It was really Paul’s business model that gave me an idea for the concept and to combine it with our industry’s product, metal cans,” he added. “I thought, why not use the can’s true purpose to preserve, transport and to protect food/water which we all use. I also thought what a great symbol/billboard or poster child for our challenged cause. I came up with a name, cannedwater4kids, and asked one of my good friends to design a special label for the can that would represent our cause. I then approached one of the can companies who helped produce several test pallets, had the Cold Spring Brewery fill them from a pure 300-year underground glacier spring water in Cold Spring, MN, and started selling them on the web at www.cannedwater4kids.org.”

INX International has made considerable contributions to cannedwater4kids.

“When I approached Rick Clendenning, our CEO, about what we were doing, he was extremely supportive,” said Mr. Stromberg. “After the Haiti earthquake, INX and Rudy from Roeslein & Associates Inc. helped pay the cost of freight for us to be able to ship four truckloads of water from Cold Spring, MN to the Miami and New Orleans seaports so we could get canned water to a children's nursery and a hospital in Haiti. INX has also donated ink to the can companies who decorated and produced donated cans for us. In addition, we have received support from INX’s marketing group run by Renee Etiopio by making sure our cannedwater4kids are at tradeshows and special events. We also continue to get great support and publicity from the industry's trade publications and associations.”

Cannedwater4kids supports certified clean water initiatives worldwide. Donations are used to fund a variety of initiatives such as digging wells, water filtration programs and clean water education.

“Our goal is to market cannedwater4kids right here in North America and take the proceeds – 95 cents of every dollar – and give to support organizations that will get clean drinking water to children in the most effective and efficient way possible,” said Mr. Stromberg. “We have supported “Engineers without Borders at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee,” and helped them with resources for a second year to build purification plants in the Highlands of Guatemala. We have supported a mission drilling wells in Tanzania, Central Africa and an organization called SON International, or www.son-international.org. The pictures we receive from our projects really tell the story.”

Cannedwater4kids has plans to expand its charitable work. “We want to continue to work within our industry to promote and create awareness for the need and responsibility for getting clean drinking water for all of the children in the world especially in developing countries,” said Mr. Stromberg. “We would like to expand into Europe and Asia to have canners package canned water for the same purposes we have in North America. We recently received a trademark for cannedfood4kids and hope to do the same thing we are doing with water.”

For more info:
www.cannedwater4kids.org
www.cannedwaterforkids.wordpress.com
Twitter - cannedwater4kid


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