Dan Haseltine, a friend of ONE, is best known as lead vocalist for Christian alternative folk rock group Jars of Clay. He also leads Blood:Water Mission, an organization that has raised $27 million since 2004, providing clean water and HIV/AIDS support to more than 1 million people in 11 African countries.
We recently caught up with Dan to learn why he continues to support ONE and find out what he’s up to.
How did you get involved with the ONE Campaign?
In 2001, when I first learned about the HIV/AIDS pandemic, Jars of Clay tried to start an initiative to raise awareness about the crisis. So, we were invited to meet the team heading up Bono’s DATA. I was immediately excited about the innovative approach to engaging college/university students to build a narrative around advocacy. When DATA transitioned to become ONE Campaign, I was there celebrating the launch and I was hopeful for the impact this organization would have.
You’ve been a faithful advocate for eliminating global poverty, so much so that you’ve started the non-profit Blood:Water Mission – can you tell us about the inspiration behind the creation of Blood:Water Mission?
I’ve been a music fan my entire life. When I was 12 years old, I watched my music heroes, U2, Simple Minds, the Police, all take the stage at LiveAID. It forever fused music and advocacy in my mind. So when Jars began, we were always keeping an eye out for ways we could leverage our own platform to serve the poor. I traveled to Africa and met with people who were living with HIV/AIDS and saw the challenges they faced living in places where clean water was scarce. I came back and started laying the groundwork for Blood:Water.
You’ve been an important advocate for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), why is this piece of legislation important to you?
PEPFAR is a vital piece of legislation that saves lives and shows the immense power of generosity. Nothing has made America greater than PEPFAR. The work Blood:Water Mission does to support individuals and families, between the clinic and the home, would not be possible were it not for PEPFAR’s work delivering medicine and health care for people with weak immune systems. We experience and interact with mothers and fathers, teachers, community leaders, and children who would not be alive if PEPFAR did not exist.
You recently returned from Uganda with Blood:Water Mission, what was the singular most impactful experience you had while you were there?
It’s easy to champion crises like HIV/AIDS from afar. It is a 40,000 foot perspective. Marketing that builds movements has been most effective with that approach. But I was reminded, as I crouched down and sat with community health workers as they tenderly cared for the sick and loved the victims of stigma and fear who had lost almost everything, that the work Blood:Water and PEPFAR support are compassionate human things. PEPFAR and Blood:Water are in the business of supporting millions of small acts tied to great love. That was a good reminder for me.
What do you have coming up that you would like to share with ONE members?
Jars of Clay is getting ready for our 6th Annual Jars of Clay Family Christmas Show benefiting Blood:Water. The show is in Franklin, TN on December 1st, which is also World AIDS Day.
Blood:Water is currently working on projects that help kids stay in school through building latrines, wells, and rain catchment systems for schools as part of our “Back to School” campaign.