Guy Laliberté founded Quebec's first internationally renowned circus with the support of a small group of colleagues. He recognized and cultivated the talents of the buskers from the Fête foraine de Baie-Saint-Paul and created Cirque du Soleil in 1984 with the support of a government grant for Canada's 450th anniversary celebrations. Cirque du Soleil was originally set up as a one-year project. However, the government of Quebec wanted a touring event that would perform in other provinces.
On October 29, 2007, Guy Laliberté announced the official launch of the One Drop Foundation to fight poverty in the world by giving everyone access to water. Inspired by the creative experience of Cirque du Soleil and its international program for street children, Cirque du Monde, the One Drop Foundation makes use of the circus arts, folklore, popular theatre, music, dance and the visual arts to promote education, community involvement and public awareness of water issues. Technical projects in developing countries will improve access to water, ensure food security and promote gender equality in communities.
The operating costs of One Drop will be covered by a $100 million contribution from Guy Laliberté over 25 years. Field activities will be financed by donations from the employees of Cirque du Soleil and from the public, as well as through funding commitments by Canadian and international partners. Oxfam International, through Oxfam-Québec, has been associated with One Drop since 2005 in a three-year pilot project in Nicaragua. A leader in development aid, Oxfam brings expertise in selecting and implementing field projects. Their involvement with the One Drop Foundation is based on a common desire to support sustainable development with concrete actions and in collaboration with local partners.