After working in the nightclub promotion business for years, Scott Harrison, the founder and president of charity: water, decided to make a major lifestyle change. In 2004, he left life in the fast lane and went on a journey with Mercy Ships, an organization that provides free medical care from floating ships. By the time Scott completed his experience as the ship’s photojournalist off the coast of Africa, he had been exposed to the horrific realities of poverty in Africa, specifically to the region’s lack of clean drinking water. And so, he embarked on a new adventure of wearing charity. He created charity: water, an organization that brings clean drinking water to those whose only sources of water are dirty ponds and swamps.
Through its clever branding and young appeal, charity: water has become one of the most chic charities around. Not only is its mission incredibly inspiring, but it allows everyone to participate. Charity: water explains that for $20, a person in Africa can have clean drinking water for 20 years. Working with a number of partners on the ground, charity: water gives 100% of their donations to help sustain the programs already in place by their field partners. In effect, charity: water serves as an advocacy and fundraising arm for their partners on the ground in 11 different countries.
Individual stories of people living without clean drinking water around the world are highlighted through photographs and day to day updates on new water projects through charity: water’s website. Recently, mycharitywater.org was launched as a mechanism for individuals to create their own fundraising page for charity: water.
Charity: water was born in September 2006 when Scott Harrison asked his friends to donate $20 towards his new project instead of buying him a birthday present. Once 700 people showed up to his birthday party, charity: water became a reality. Since then the organization has grown and expanded to bring clean drinking water to various regions around the world.
Due to its successful ad campaigns and high-tech appeal, charity: water was the first non-profit to attract over 1 million followers on twitter. Some campaigns include charity: water outdoor exhibits, charity: water windows at Saks Fifth Avenue, charity: water Gala events, and of course the annual charity: water birthday party (always with a different edge to engage donors in new initiatives).
With his yellow jerry can by his side, Scott Harrison somehow transformed charity into cool.
Please visit charitywater.org to learn more.
(Charity: water offers a simple solution to bring clean drinking water to various regions around the world.)