About The Human Utility

The Human Utility's mission is to preserve human dignity by increasing water affordability for all families in the United States through crowdfunding, community-building, and policy action.

The team

Tiffani Ashley Bell is the Founding Executive Director of The Human Utility, a platform bringing people together from around the world to help people in Baltimore, Detroit, and 28 other cities in Michigan with their water bills.

Since its founding in July 2014, the organization has helped over 3,000 people and is a Y Combinator-backed not-for-profit.

Tiffani was a 2017 Technology & Democracy Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government researching water affordability and designing a water affordability subsidy. She was a 2014 Code for America Fellow working with the City of Atlanta's Innovation Delivery Team. Previously, she was the CEO + founder of Pencil You In, enabling over 2,000 local businesses to accept appointments online, bringing many of them online for the first time.

In 2015, she was nominated and voted as one of The Root's 100 Most Influential African Americans for her work protecting the right to water. She was also named to the inaugural Mic 50 class celebrating impactful leaders, cultural influencers, and breakthrough innovators. In 2016, she was named as an inaugural Grist 50 awardee as an innovator working toward a more sustainable future.

Tiffani is a programmer who earned a Bachelor of Science in Systems & Computer Science from Howard University. As a programmer, she has given back to the profession by keynoting numerous technical conferences including two of the largest: the O'Reilly Open Source Conference (OSCON) and GitHub Universe. In 2015, she presented a paper on the use of programming and data science in designing a water affordability intervention at the Bloomberg Data for Good Exchange (D4GX) conference.

In January 2021, she will begin a one-year Master of Science in Management program (MSx) as a Sloan Fellow at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Marie Torres is Customer Service Manager at The Human Utility.

Marie previously served as the Executive in Charge of Edward Charles Foundation (ECF), a recognized nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that serves as a fiscal sponsor to other nonprofit organizations, causes and initiatives (Sponsees). During her time with ECF, Marie spent her days tending to all of ECF’s 80 plus Sponsees.

Marie also served as an Executive with Project 360, an organization dedicated to cause marketing. In that position, she provided assistance with the production of merchandise and the execution of charity fundraising events and campaigns, including #ShareYourColors and #TheButterflyEffectx360.

In her free time, Marie is actively involved with The Crayon Initiative, an organization dedicated to keeping used crayons out of landfills by remanufacturing and distributing them to children’s hospitals across the country.

Marie has a Bachelor of Science in Business Management with emphasis in Accounting.