Digging deep

Kelvin Beachum ’10, ’12 is on a mission to provide clean water

Kelvin Beachum carrying water in Lusaka, Zambia

Former SMU Mustangs offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum ’10, ’12 may be best known playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets or his current team, the Arizona Cardinals, but his latest endeavor has an even more global impact.

“Water is freedom,” says Beachum. “You can’t get to other conversations or other concerns without being able to address the most basic human need, which is water.”


Earlier this year, Beachum and his wife, Jessica, traveled to Lusaka, Zambia with World Vision, a global, faith-based humanitarian organization. The couple donated $30,000 to fund two water wells and activated a public fundraiser to build a third well valued at $15,000.

Kelvin Beachum pumping water in Lusaka, Zambia

“To be able to solicit fans, solicit friends, solicit family, to be able to lean on teammates and investors and founders and executives, I actually found joy out of asking them in a very small way, ‘Hey, I’m getting ready to go and serve over in Zambia. Would you be open to coming along side me and supporting me?’” he says.

Each well provides 2,800 gallons of clean water for as many as 300 people per day. World Vision’s goal is to reach everyone in the organization’s project areas with clean water by 2025 – which includes 800,000 people in Zambia alone. While there, the Beachums met with local families in the community to see the direct impact that clean water can have on public health, sanitation and family lifestyle.

“You don’t realize, truly, what the impact looks like day to day until you’re actually here experiencing what it feels like, what it looks like, what it smells like,” he says. “It was just amazing to feel the ownership, the energy, the smiles. And I think this is a different type of smile than just, ‘Hey, I’m happy’ – but just overjoyed with the ability to have access to water.”

Beachum’s first trip with World Vision was in February 2016, when he visited Tegucigalpa, Honduras, to learn more about STEM education for vulnerable children.