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I came up with the idea for Love and Water one Sunday morning this past July as I was getting ready to walk around the Central Park reservoir at 7:00am. I had a goal to come up with an idea for a company that I would love to work on from the moment I woke up in the morning until the moment I went to bed at night by the time I circled the reservoir. I really didn’t have anything to lose, as far as I could see. As an actor and writer in New York City, I could see my career building, slowly but surely. I had gained a certain amount of momentum over the last year that had me feeling hopeful about my future; but then November of 2008 came and my agent lost his job (in fact the whole agency closed down), and auditions weren’t as easy to come by. I at least had my day job, which I personally liked, but could definitely handle some more challenge and inspiration.

It was then I thought about the RAINN newsletter. RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network, a charity I have been supportive of since 1999, had just featured me in their June newsletter (check it out at http://hosted.vresp.com/305140/a4b9985da8/TEST/TEST/ ). I had taken the opportunity in November ’08, when financial times felt more stressful than others, to become a RAINNMaker. I created my web page through their site and set out to raise $500.00 between Thanksgiving and the New Year, thinking it was a good time to inspire people to give a little. And I meant just that- a little. I know that a lot of a little adds up to a whole lot really fast. So I challenged my friends and family to donate to my RAINN “Cup-o-Joe” experiment: buy me a virtual cup of coffee by donating $5.00 to my RAINNMaker site and I’ll get the next one. People came through with these small donations, and I soon exceeded my goal (check it out at http://rainnmakers.rainn.org/Alexis). It felt amazing to have done that, and even more amazing that my friends and family played along and felt great about it too.

So as I circled the reservoir I thought about all the other charities I’d like to help in the same way. I could start a company to raise awareness for various causes combined with my love of art and fashion. And so Love and Water International was born: an upcoming online community in which designers from all over the world submit t-shirt designs and the community votes on the winners. The winners get their shirts printed as limited editions, and you decide when you purchase one which charity you want up to half of the profits from that shirt to go to. Simple, inspiring, challenging, and community-driven…an inexpensive way to make a huge difference. Wearable philanthropy.

Sound like a good idea? Let us know! Post a comment or send us a Tweet. And stay tuned for interviews about what other people think about Love and Water International as well…

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