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Aspirational to Operational



This past weekend Toilet Equity made the transition from an aspirational idea to an operational one. We launched our first two toilets into the Grand Junction community! When I founded Toilet Equity in March 2022, my goal was to provide, and hopefully improve, equitable toilet access along the Colorado River corridor. Now, in July of 2023, we are finally operational.



So, what took so long? I suppose the best way to describe the time it took is to say that the distance from foundation to operation was hardly the straight line I initially imagined it would be. Along the way, Toilet Equity met and has been building relationships with the existing organizations of the Grand Valley Coalition for the Homeless, all of which work hard every day to support the unhoused community here. We have also built our own organization, writing and receiving grants from Rocky Mountain Health Foundation, Western Colorado Community Foundation through an anonymous donor, and St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation. We hired our CEO, Kaitlin Pettit, to manage the day-to-day operational details of an aspirational, and now operational idea. We built two toilets, one of which is ADA accessible, because our mission is about creating equitable toilet access. And with a group of hardworking volunteers, we finally deployed the two toilets. Lastly, I had to get over my own misgivings about actually introducing our idea to the world, which was a bigger issue for me and took more time than I had imagined.


Bringing toilets to the field was its own multi-step process. We had built one toilet completely in my driveway and placed it on a trailer. Now we had to figure out how to transport it and safely offload it from the trailer. The second toilet we built was created modularly with the intent to assemble it in the field. After a weekend of delivering both toilets, we’ve learned that each of those methods have their pros and cons. Nevertheless, we gained a lot of experience to help us plan and execute the next five toilet construction and deployment projects.


Of course, operations has its own to-do list, including regular maintenance and resupply, but Toilet Equity is out in the world now and moving forward improving equitable toilet access.


Paul



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