Charity: Water

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charity: water
Charity water logo.jpg
Founded 2006; 12 years ago (2006)
Founder Scott Harrison
Type Non-governmental organization
Area served
24 countries in Africa and Asia

Charity: water (stylized as charity: water) is a non-profit organization that provides clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. The organization was founded in 2006 and has helped fund 24,537 projects in 24 countries, benefiting over 8.2 million people. Overall, the organization has raised over US$200 million as of January 11, 2016.[1]


Founder Scott Harrison was a New York City club promoter for ten years. From 2004, Harrison committed two years of his life to the poor and marginalized through volunteer service in Liberia with Mercy Ships. He traced problems surrounding education, safety, and health back to a lack of clean water and basic sanitation systems. Harrison began to tap his network in an attempt to get as many people as possible to support his cause.[2]

Harrison founded the charity in 2006.[3] In 2007, Harrison contacted several tech entrepreneurs for assistance and advice. One of charity: water's first supporters is Bebo’s Michael Birch, who was the first to respond with monetary, technical assistance, and introductions to influential leaders in Silicon Valley's technology industry. Birch redesigned the charity's website and personally donated $1 million.[4]

In December 2012, charity: water received a $5 million grant from Google's Global Impact Awards. The grant was to fund the installation of 4000 sensors to report on status and working conditions of wells installed in Ethiopia, Nepal, and a few other nations in Africa and Asia.[5]

In 2015, charity: water partnered with the silicone bracelet company, Lokai, to further support their organization.[6]


Based in New York City, charity: water uses both mainstream and social media platforms to raise awareness, including annual galas[7] and events arranged via Twitter.[8] The initiative has received donations from 300,000 individuals. It provides GPS coordinates and photos of the wells it builds.[9] The organization has 70 full-time staff members, 10 interns and more than 800 volunteers. 100% of its public donations are used to fund clean water projects, as its operating costs are funded by private donors, foundations and sponsors.[10]

Charity: water has raised more than $252 million for more than 23,000 water projects[11] in 24 countries, including Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Malawi.[12]


Charity evaluator GiveWell published a review of the organization in December 2012. Their overall conclusion was that it "stands out from other organizations we have considered in some respects (such as conducting evaluations that include frank discussions of problems), but we remain uncertain about the humanitarian impact of their work and the relative effectiveness of their partner selection process."[13] In January 2013, an article by Anne Elizabeth Moore on Truthout stated that "questions about its impact and methods remain" and that "transparency may keep critics at bay, yet what remains unclear is exactly how many more people have reliable access to clean drinking water now than did six years ago."[14]

As of May 2017, Charity Navigator rates the organization among their highest-rated charities, with a full 4 out of 4 stars. The charity has an overall rating of 92.29 out of 100 with an "Accountability & Transparency" score of the maximum 100 and "Financial" rating of 89.11 as of January 2018.[15] Guidestar gave the organization a "Platinum Seal of Transparency".[16]


  1. ^ "These Sensors Raise The Bar Of Accountability For Water Charities". FastCompany. Jan 11, 2016. Retrieved Apr 22, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Scott's Story". Charity Water. 2006. 
  3. ^ Paynter, Ben (2017-03-20). "How Charity: Water Uses Data To Connect Donors And The People They're Helping". Fast Company. Retrieved 2017-12-29. 
  4. ^ Bertoni, Steven (2013-12-19). "How Charity: Water Won Over The Tech World". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-01-30. 
  5. ^ Joy, Oliver (2012-12-04). "Charity: water receives $5 million grant from Google". CNN. Retrieved 2018-01-30. 
  6. ^ Reader, Grace. "How This Founder Learned to Trust His Team". Entrepreneur. Retrieved 2017-04-02. 
  7. ^ Cole, Patrick (Dec 15, 2008). "Party Planner Kicks $350 Grey Goose Habit for Clean Water Cause". Bloomberg. 
  8. ^ McCarthy, Caroline (August 5, 2009). "Crowded roads ahead for charity 2.0". CNET News. 
  9. ^ "Case study: Charity Water". Think Social. May 26, 2009. Archived from the original on August 12, 2009. 
  10. ^ Kristof, Nicholas D. (July 11, 2009). "Clean, Sexy Water". New York Times. 
  11. ^ Duhigg, Charles (2017-06-14). "Why Don't You Donate for Syrian Refugees? Blame Bad Marketing". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-06-14. 
  12. ^ Floum, Jessica (Sep 15, 2013). "Silicon Valley 'well' backs world water charity". Retrieved Dec 24, 2013. 
  13. ^ "charity: water". GiveWell. Dec 4, 2012. Retrieved Dec 5, 2012. 
  14. ^ Moore, Anne Elizabeth (January 12, 2013). "The Problem with Charity: Water". Truthout. Retrieved March 13, 2018. 
  15. ^ "charity: water". Charity Navigator. 
  16. ^ "charity: water - GuideStar Profile". GuideStar. Retrieved 2018-02-21. 

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