Scott Harrison has helped to bring clean drinking water to millions of people around the world. The founder and CEO of charity: water, one of the most well-known philanthropic organizations in the world, shares how his approach to running a non-profit — from innovation to strategy to partnerships — can be applied to any business to help create outstanding success.
Harrison spent almost ten years as a nightclub promoter in New York City. When he was 28, he decided it was time for a drastic change, and left to spend a year volunteering as a photojournalist aboard a hospital ship off the coast of Liberia, West Africa.
During this time, Harrison witnessed extreme levels of poverty and illness, and came to understand that many of the infections and diseases needing treatment were waterborne. With a newfound understanding of the importance of clean drinking water, Harrison returned to New York City in 2006 and established a small team to develop a non-profit dedicated to this cause.
Since then, with the help of more than 1 million donors worldwide, charity: water has raised more than $496 million and funded nearly 59,000 water projects in 29 countries. When completed, those projects will provide over 11.6 million people with clean, safe drinking water.
Harrison has been recognized on Fortune magazine’s list of 40 Under 40, Forbes’ Impact 30, and Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business, where he earned the #10 spot. He is currently a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and author of the New York Times Bestselling book Thirst.