Scott Harrison, Founder and CEO of charity: water

Published on26 APR 2019
Clean Tech and Renewables

Charity: water CEO Scott Harrison discusses his journey from nightclub promoter to philanthropist, his work to bring clean water to underserved communities around the world, and how he is disrupting the way nonprofits recruit talent.      

On the impact of the global water crisis: “If you’re one of the people living without access to water – today it’s 663 million people – it affects every aspect of your life. I’ll talk about education. It deeply impacts girls’ education. So people don’t know this, but one out of every three schools on the planet not only doesn’t have clean water, [but also] doesn’t have a toilet. Imagine sending your kid to a school with no water and no toilet. So if you’re a teenage girl, you don’t go to school for four or five days every month. You’re ashamed to go to a school with no water, with no sanitation. So what we see is this – many of the girls drop out.”

On his organization’s approach to the water crisis: “I believe for any of the actual water work to be sustainable and culturally appropriate it must be led by the locals. So our role would be build the movement, raise capital as efficiently as possible, but then empower the locals and grow their organization. They would get the credit. Our local partners in India would be the ones planting the flag of their local NGO with our funding, with our drilling rigs that we gifted them with the truck that we helped them buy, the office we helped them expand into. But they would be the ones flying the flag of development. Not some western foreigner organization.”


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