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A Clear Sense of Purpose: “charity: water” Founder Scott Harrison Visits the Quad Cities, November 21-23
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: News/Features

Category: Feature Stories

2009-11-18 16:30:50

Scott HarrisonClarity is important for water, and it's also true for charity.

When Scott Harrison founded charity: water in 2006, he was targeting people who were "disenchanted with charity," he said in an interview last week. "Most of my friends said the main reason they weren't giving to charity is because they didn't know how much of their money was actually going to go to people in need."

Harrison's solution was to connect donors to their gifts. "We'll never do a [water] well unless we can get a GPS, a photo, a name, and population ... and publicly place them all on Google Earth for transparency," he said.

And 100 percent of donated money from the public goes to water projects in developing nations. Harrison didn't have this worked out initially but has developed the concept of "The Well," in which benefactors give $1,000, $2,000, or $5,000 a month to support the charity's operational costs. That allows the organization to use public donations exclusively for water projects.

charity: water also places an emphasis on design. "I wanted charity to look like Apple," Harrison said. "Why shouldn't we be telling stories with sophistication, with elegance, with authenticity? And telling them in a newsy way?"

Water for Christmas, a local fundraising campaign for charity: water, will be bringing Harrison to the Quad Cities for a number of events November 21 through 23, including an Iowa Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce dinner. (See the schedule here.) Water for Christmas has raised more than $100,000 for charity: water in the year it's been active.


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