it takes a village.

The Gazelle Foundation is made possible by the efforts of many. We have grown to include an active board of directors, advisory council, dedicated sponsors, partners and hundreds of volunteers, working in complete alignment to provide clean drinking water in Burundi, saving and transforming thousands of lives each year. 

Our Mission

Our mission is to improve the quality of life for the people in Burundi Africa by providing access to clean water.


Our vision is for every man, woman and child in Burundi to have clean water, the highest-quality of life, and hope within reach.

 Each year, on the anniversary of his escape, Gilbert Tuhabonye walks to Austin's Capitol building carrying 50 lbs of water.

Each year, on the anniversary of his escape, Gilbert Tuhabonye walks to Austin's Capitol building carrying 50 lbs of water.

the source of our foundation

“I didn’t have my first sip of good clean water until I was in the first grade.” —Gilbert Tuhabonye

Our story began long before our official formation in 2006.
It started on October 21, 1993 with Gilbert Tuhabonye, a Burundi survivor of the Hutu/Tutsi civil upheaval of the 1980’s and 90’s. Gilbert was a national champion runner as an 11th grader, but on this day, he would literally run for his life. When the centuries-old war between the Tutsi and Hutu tribes erupted, some of Gilbert’s Hutu classmates, parents, teachers and other Hutu tribesmen forced more than a hundred Tutsi children and teachers into a room where they beat and burned them to death. Gilbert, on fire, ran to freedom, and survived this horrific event.

In 2006, Gilbert wrote This Voice in My Heart, an autobiographical account of his upbringing and his tale of survival. The response to this touching book was overwhelming, creating an outpouring of people who wanted to help. The solution is through the Gazelle Foundation where Gilbert, our dynamic board of directors, and hundreds of volunteers work tirelessly to bring awareness to the needs of the Burundian people while educating our local community about the importance of the global water crisis and the need for humanitarian aid in Burundi. And the story continues to this day.

Our people share our purpose.

For over a decade, our devoted staff, board of directors and volunteers have committed wholeheartedly to providing access to clean water for the people of Burundi. United in our mission, we work each day to provide access to this basic and crucial resource.

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Michelle Sandquist,

Operations and Events Director

Michelle is the Operations/Events Director with the Gazelle Foundation where she provides strategic and operational support in all areas within the organization. She oversees operations, event management and race management, in addition to focusing on donor/sponsor relationships. Michelle brings a unique and diverse background to the Gazelle Foundation, including over nine years as General Manager of Conley Sport, managing a holistic health care center, leading large fundraising campaigns, and serving as a personal chef and personal trainer. Michelle attended college in New Hampshire, has worked and lived all across the country, and proudly lays claim to Austin as her home today. Michelle can be reached at


Gazelle foundation board of directors

Gilbert Tuhabonye – Chairman

Peter Rauch – President

Christian Goy – Vice President

Minnie Hollyman – Secretary

Quincy Lee – Treasurer

Burnie Burner

Courtney Houston

Corby James

Leslie Newberry

gazelle foundation advisory council

Leslie Alexander

Kerri Fields

Diane Humphreys

Scott McAfee

Paul Pugh

DK Reynolds

Joel Rollins

Albert Saenz

Randa Safady

Auddie Walker