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Charity: Water

charity: water
Charity water logo.jpg
Founded2006; 13 years ago (2006)
FounderScott Harrison
TypeNon-governmental organization
Area served
24 countries in Africa and Asia

Charity: water (stylized as charity: water) is a non-profit organization that provides 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 recognized that problems surrounding education, safety, and health may trace back to a lack of clean water and basic sanitation systems.[2]

Harrison founded the charity in 2006.[3] In 2007, Harrison contacted several tech entrepreneurs for assistance and advice. Among those he contacted through a 'cold email' were Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, MySpace’s Tom Anderson and Bebo’s Michael Birch.[4] One of charity: water's first supporters was 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.[5]

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.[6]

In 2015, charity: water partnered with the silicone bracelet company, Lokai, to further support their organization.[7]


Charity: water has raised more than $252 million for more than 23,000 water projects[8] in 24 countries, including Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Malawi.[9]

Ride for Water

Ride for Water is an annual fundraiser that started in 2013 and involves cycling across the United States to raise awareness for the charity.[10] In 2019 the team completed a 52 day journey. The 3,437-mile trip started on May 20 and traversed 12 states from coast to coast and raised $25,000 on the day of completion. From 2013 through to 2015 the team only included males. In 2016, teams of men and women rode separately for much of the journey but then joined up for the final stretch to New York.[11] The Ride for Water initiative is loosely affiliated with Azusa Pacific University because the first time it took place it was arranged by a group of graduates.[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. ^ "How Charity: Water Won Over The Tech World". Forbes. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  5. ^ Bertoni, Steven (2013-12-19). "How Charity: Water Won Over The Tech World". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  6. ^ Joy, Oliver (2012-12-04). "Charity: water receives $5 million grant from Google". CNN. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  7. ^ Reader, Grace. "How This Founder Learned to Trust His Team". Entrepreneur. Retrieved 2017-04-02.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Floum, Jessica (Sep 15, 2013). "Silicon Valley 'well' backs world water charity". Retrieved Dec 24, 2013.
  10. ^ "Ride for Water". Retrieved 2019-07-23.
  11. ^ "Ride For Water Cycling Team Conquers 52-Day Cross-Country Journey". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-07-23.
  12. ^ "Cyclist embarks on life-changing journey". Claremont Courier. Retrieved 2019-07-23.
  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.

External links