The Beginning

The Filter of Hope story actually began in 2007 when Scott Steelman and Bart Smelley were surveying families in the Dominican Republic to determine the greatest needs of the poor in that region. The goal of their non-profit organization, Global Effect, is to create sustainable community transformation from a holistic approach. They quickly realized that there could be no transformation in physical lives if people do not have access to the most basic need of life — safe clean water. They witnessed first hand the heartbreaking effects of the sickness and disease caused from families forced to drink and use contaminated water. The sight of this wrecked them and set them in search of facts and answers.

Bart became obsessed with finding economical solutions to provide families with the clean water they so desperately needed to stay alive, be healthy, and have any hope for a future. They were shocked to realize the magnitude of this global crisis that claims millions of lives each year with 90% of the deaths being children under the age of 5! This was unacceptable, there had to be a solution. Bart researched almost every type of filtration method available and tried many of them. Global Effect met with many water organizations that work among the abject poor in search of the best solutions. They even helped build a ceramic filter factory and distributed thousands of filters in an effort to stop the cholera outbreak in Haiti and the Dominican Republic after the devastating earthquake of 2010.

Villagers Walking

The Breakthrough

Using the Filter After being disappointed in the different types of filtration methods available, a breakthrough occurred in 2011 when they discovered a unique filtration technology using hollow fiber filter membranes. This technology has been used in kidney dialysis and wastewater treatment for years and can also be used to make an inexpensive gravity fed point-of-use water filter that will remove the harmful bacteria and protozoa from water. Now there are thousands of Filter of Hope water filters in use around the world, saving lives, creating healthy families and giving them a hope for the future.

The Strategy

Recognizing the critical need for clean water around the world and the lives this new filter could save and impact, the plan became obvious: to manufacture an affordable and effective point-of-use water filter to provide families in desperate need with all the safe clean water they need.  Filter of Hope is passionate about raising awareness and helping solve the global water crisis. We are not a commercial enterprise, we are a nonprofit.  Filter of Hope depends on global distribution organizations and funding partners that include foundations, corporations, philanthropic families, schools, churches, humanitarian groups and young people all across the world. Filter of Hope and Global Effect lead many short-term trips each year for groups and individuals who want to be “hands on” and participate in the actual distribution of the filters. For information regarding distribution trips, contact us at

The Goal

Thirsty Child

Our goal is simple. To change the world through the distribution of these highly effective and affordable water filters. Working together with our supporters, donors and distribution partners around the world, we can dramatically decrease the number of deaths associated with water-related illnesses by hundreds of thousands a year in the short term. Through the work of Filter of Hope and other credible water organizations around the world, we believe the global water crisis can be eradicated completely some day. This is a cause worthy of our time and resources.