Tuesday, May 30, 2017

How A "Hedonistic" Playboy Turned Game-Changing Philanthropist

Some 663 million people worldwide do not have access to clean water or must walk hours daily to secure any water at all. But there’s a glass-half-full way to look at that disturbing number: As Scott Harrison, founder and CEO of Charity: Water, notes, a decade ago the figure was 1 billion.

That progress fuels optimism for the head of a nonprofit that has gained global renown, and built a huge donor base, by helping identify and implement reliable solutions for people in developing countries to reach clean, fresh water that might lie just below the surface of remote, seemingly arid villages.

Few charity leaders have come to their work by as unconventional a route as Mr. Harrison, who spent his 20s as a successful nightclub promoter and hard-partying hedonist — "I had  become the worst person I knew," he says — before a "radical cathartic moment" in South America a little more than a decade ago rekindled his youthful faith and gave him a new calling.

In this interview with the Business of Giving, Mr. Harrison recounts that journey and how it put him on the front lines of a global crisis with far-reaching implications in health (lack of clean water and sanitation contributes to more than half of all disease in the developing world) and finance (United Nations data shows that every dollar invested in water and sanitation yields a four- to eightfold return for local economies).

He also describes how Charity: Water has built a robust fundraising operation built on transparency, results, and using new technologies like satellite mapping and virtual reality to demonstrate effectiveness and create experiences that draw donors deeply into the nonprofit’s work.

Listen to the full interview on the player below and/or scroll down to read a transcript provided by the Business of Giving.

Click this link to listen to the podcast:  https://soundcloud.com/business-of-giving/scott-harrison-the-founder-and

Click this link to read the transcript from the podcast:  https://www.philanthropy.com/resources/audio/podcast-charity-water-change/6322/?cid=pt&utm_source=pt&utm_medium=en&elqTrackId=b88231ec4ee84e21bdab08b94bfface8&elq=fc98ca29b5964f4eaa91d166b191215c&elqaid=14090&elqat=1&elqCampaignId=5899

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