charity:water What’s wrong? It’s so right.

charity:water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe water to people in developing nations. Sounds simple enough, but it’s hard to put a finger on which part of this charity is most amazing. The founder, Scott Harrison, is a former self proclaimed New York City social “influencer” making thousands of dollars a night encouraging the rich and famous to purchase the products he pushed – typically beer and vodka. After tiring of his over the top lifestyle, and coming face-to-face with real world poverty, he decided to make a difference and give back.  Join the club, right? Trump, Madonna, and anyone else with billions to spend will throw money at a less fortunate area of the world and smile and nod as they breathe a sigh of relief when the tax man leaves.  But this is different. Way different. Scott Harrison and his team are doing far more than throwing money at a problem.  After spending some hard time with other altruistic volunteers in Africa via a humanitarian organization called Mercy Ships, Scott decided to really make a difference.

…more than water

charity:water does more than “provide” water to the over 1 billion people who go without clean drinking water on a daily basis. Most Americans cannot fathom going a few hours without running water or a clean shower, when most of the world would be happy with less than one thirtieth of what we use ON A GIVEN DAY.  According to the many statistics available on the charity:water website (www.charitywater.org), unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of diseases and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Children are especially vulnerable, as their bodies aren’t strong enough to fight diarrhea, dysentery and other illnesses. Ninety percent of the 42,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions are to children under five years old. While the statistics are staggering, the photographs of victims of unclean water are beyond what many of us in the Western World could ever imagine or feel comfortable seeing.  

…brilliance

The brilliance of this charity is both in its acquisition of money and its use of those funds. Private donations provide 100% of the cost to run the organization.  Everything from plane fares to paper clips are donated or paid for by private donors.  That frees up 100% of all public donations to actually go to the source.  The water source. As if that weren’t phenomenal enough, once at the source, men and women are taught how to create their own well systems, install them, implement their usage, and govern the rights to them, empowering many (most significantly women), to find themselves for the first time in their lives in a place of significance in the community.  

Everyone — rich or poor, happy or sad, regardless of where or how you live, if you are a living thing, you need water. This hits home very quickly. Water is the great connector of human life. Knowing that, everyone can help. There is no donation too small, because even a penny, nickel, dime, or $20 bill is more than nothing, and relatively insignificant compared to saving a human life. Want to know exactly where your money goes? No problem. When you raise enough money to purchase a well, ($5,000 to be exact), your well will be mapped online, and you can actually see where in the world your money went to help not just one human, but an entire community. Add to that the most cutting edge marketing strategies and technical social networks available, stir in some personal challenges to make a difference, and create ownership with donors by encouraging creativity and stewardship, and you have a real success story.

The old saying goes, give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime. Give a community the opportunity to help themselves discover their value and help them survive and thrive through the ability to access clean water and a healthier lifestyle, you’ll change the world.

Did you take a shower today?  Did you brush your teeth?  If you enjoyed the benefit of clean water today please help…

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