No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
Update 1/25/2016 : We have been contacted by Mr. Savage, and he acknowledged his mistake, and pulled down his post. We thank him for this. We are certainly aware of the fraud that follows tragedy (Hydroviv has had donated units stolen by volunteers working for nonprofits in Flint).
Accusation of Fraud:
Yesterday (1/24/2016), Hydroviv was falsely accused by a Rachel Maddow Show Contributor (Chris Savage) of being part of a scam, and his accusation has been shared and retweeted multiple times. Mr. Savage's Twitter handle is @Eclectablog, and a screenshot of his post, almost immediately after it was posted is shown below:
I don’t know Chris Savage. I've never talked to him, and he apparently did not do any background research on Hydroviv or myself. I have submitted my direct contact information into the "Contact" section of his website to try and clear up any misunderstanding, as well as directly replied to his tweet. No Response.
Here’s the truth about the partnership between Hydroviv and the “Filters For Flint” Facebook Community:
Origin of partnership:
On January 20, 2016, Hydroviv received a call from a Julia Smith, a woman from Memphis, asking if we would be willing to partner with a “still-to-be-formed” Facebook group that links Flint residents in need with donors who want to help. She told me her story about how she had literally purchased a high-end water filter (not Hydroviv) on Amazon for a complete stranger in Flint, because she saw some heartbreaking photos. Her idea was to create a Facebook Community that brought together people in need with people like her who wanted to help. She found Hydroviv through the #FiltersForFlint hashtag that we have been using on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for some of our other filter donation campaigns. Within 24 hours, she had put together the FB Community, and started linking donors and recipients.
We agreed that it would be appropriate (both logistically and appearance-wise) for Hydroviv to handle all aspects of money, and that the Facebook Community would serve only to link people in need with people who wanted to help. She did not ask for any kind of “kickback,” nor would I have agreed to any kind of arrangement like that (furthermore, at the $65 price, there is nothing to kick back). In case this woman has not done enough to help people by setting up the forum, she has donated several systems through her own program.
Logistics of Partnership:
The logistics behind the partnership between Hydroviv and “Filters For Flint” Facebook Community are straightforward: Hydroviv created an item in our store called “Donate A Water Filter To A Resident of Flint, Michigan #FiltersForFlint.” After a person donates a system through Hydroviv's secure store/checkout, we use UPS to ship the filtration system directly to a resident of Flint that reached out through the Filters For Flint Community. That's it.
Second Claim: Government's Free Filters Are The End-All Solution
The second claim was that the gov’t is providing filters to Flint residents for free, so there’s no reason to send anything else. This assertion is inconsistent with what we are hearing from people in Flint.
We tip our hat to the people in Flint who are working to distribute bottled water and filters. However, we receive requests every day from individuals and child-focused organizations telling us that they logistically cannot haul enough bottled water, can’t get filters fast enough, or that they don’t trust the products given to them by the same people who ignored the problem for so long. The reality is, the filters that are being distributed by the government will have a much shorter lifetime than expected in Flint, because the lead concentrations from the samples used in the certification tests are lower than the levels being measured in Flint. Once the filtration capacity for lead (not gallons of water) is reached, the filters are worthless.
Regardless of the fear vs. facts, nobody disagrees that people in Flint need to be filtering their water until the measures are in place, and if it lowers their anxiety to receive a DONATION from someone not affiliated with their municipality … so be it. Companies much larger than Hydroviv are doing the exact same thing, and we encourage people to donate through them if it makes you feel more comfortable than working through Hydroviv.
The Purpose For This Response is Two-fold:
1. To lay out the facts in hopes that the death threats will stop.
2. To assure any of our customers or donors who read the accusation (or any subsequent retweets) that they have not been scammed. However, if you feel any uneasiness, Hydroviv will refund your contribution, and I will personally cover your donation, no questions asked.
Eric Roy, Ph.D. | Scientific Founder
- Eric Roy