How Charity: Water Founder Scott Harrison Helps 11 Million


SEATTLE, Washington — Scott Harrison was a wealthy bachelor living in New York City in the early 2000s, known for being a notorious party animal and a famous New York club promoter. However, his life dramatically changed at the age of 28 when he went on vacation to Uruguay. Harrison’s experience in Uruguay was the catalyst for his transformation from a wealthy bachelor to an inspired man who would help over 11 million people.

Scott Harrison’s Experience in Uruguay

Harrison’s vacation to Uruguay was one of luxury and leisure. He was staying in one of the nicest resorts and constantly partying with other influencers. However, during his stay in Uruguay, Harrison recognized how these materialistic things did not make him happy and that his life required an immediate and dramatic change. As a result, Harrison dropped everything in his life and moved to Liberia in West Africa for over a year to work as a photojournalist for a hospital clinic called “Mercy Ships.”

While in West Africa, Harrison was exposed to the harmful effects of contaminated water and was horrified to see so many people lacking the necessary means for survival. This experience motivated Harrison to aid and support the world’s poor actively.

Charity: Water

In 2006, Scott Harrison founded the nonprofit organization Charity: Water. The mission of the nonprofit is to provide clean drinking water to impoverished populations around the world. Since its founding, Charity: Water has raised $450 million, which was entirely dedicated to building clean water facilities for the world’s poor.

5 Facts About Charity: Water

  1. Charity: Water has a 100% donation model. This means that 100% of all public donations to the organization are directly helping build clean water facilities worldwide. Charity: Water even stated it would cover credit card fees to ensure the full donation goes to Charity: Water’s efforts. Therefore, if one uses a credit card to donate $50 and there is a $2 processing fee, Charity: Water will cover the extra $2 to ensure that every single dollar donated goes directly to helping people in need.

  2. Charity: Water works with local partners to determine the best locations for their water projects. To select the most effective places for their water projects, the organization works with local partners and committees to discuss factors like community participation, geography, sustainability and necessity. These local partners are imperative in providing clean water as they promote sanitation and hygiene practices, while also determining the type of water project to engage, whether it is harvesting rainfall, a piped system, a well, or a BioSand Filter. By establishing these local water committees, Charity: Water also helps stimulate the economy in these regions by encouraging individuals to engage in the workforce and community operations.

  3. Charity: Water focuses its efforts on rural areas. Only two out of every 10 people without access to clean water live in urban areas, indicating that the most vulnerable populations live in rural territories. Therefore, Charity: Water chooses to primarily build clean water facilities in rural areas to help most people in need and unable to pay for essential resources.

  4. Since 2006, Charity: Water funded 51, 438 water projects. These water projects were constructed in 28 countries worldwide, including India, Ethiopia, Madagascar and Bolivia. Due to these projects, an astounding 11 million people have access to clean water.

  5. By providing access to clean water, Charity: Water has greatly improved thousands of communities in various ways. Access to clean water subsequently improves sanitation standards and decreases the spread of diseases, thereby saving 16,000 lives each week. Communities that lack access to clean water have reduced education levels, as collecting water is hugely time-consuming. For instance, women and children in Africa spend about 40 billion hours every year walking to find water. Therefore, easily accessible water sources provide children with more time for schooling and empower women, who are predominantly responsible for water collection, to engage in the workforce and the economy.

Looking Ahead

After founding Charity: Water, Scott Harrison wrote a book titled “Thirst” that explains his dramatic transformation and his newfound commitment to serving others. “Thirst” is a New York Times bestseller that teaches readers how to find hope in despair and keep persevering in the face of defeat. Moreover, 100% of the novel’s proceeds will go toward Charity: Water’s countless clean water projects. Harrison’s story is just one example of how simple acts of charity can significantly impact those in need and your view of yourself and the world.

—Ashley Bond
Photo: Wikimedia Commons


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