Ten Things You Might Not Know About charity: water

The story of the founder

Search Scott Harrison and charity: water and dozens of videos of Scott sharing his story pop up. Let’s just say he had me at Liberia. Even if you’ve never set foot in Buchanan, Scott’s story of sex, drugs, rock and roll, the 180 desperation can inspire, A.W. Tozer, supernatural healings, Mercy Ships, and launching charity: water might convince you of one thing. It makes total sense that God would use a burned-out prodigal nightclub promoter to launch a charity that works like a start-up.

Water is often far and dangerous

Today, millions of people, mostly women and children, will walk for miles to collect water. After hours of effort, the water is often full of dangers both visible and invisible. Dysentery, cholera, typhoid, parasites, worms – the water is alive, and that’s not a good thing. A startling fact is that diseases from dirty water are responsible for more deaths each year than all other forms of violence, including war. It’s worth re-reading that sentence just to let the reality sink in.

Water changes everything

It’s the essence of charity: water. Providing clean water has some unexpected consequences. When they don’t spend hours collecting water, children can attend school, and women can parent and even start businesses to augment their family income. When you have access to enough water for basic hygiene, you can feel clean for perhaps the first time. For millions, a sense of self-worth, value and even beauty can look just like a jerry can of clean water.

100% is good and simple

Every penny of every dollar that you donate to charity: water goes to a water project – every penny. How they manage that in light of the need for office space, salaries, supplies, travel expenses and even credit card fees is the next thing you might not know.

Two is often better than one

From the beginning, there have been two bank accounts- one funded by donors willing to underwrite operating costs with others for public donations so 100% of your donation goes to projects.

The value of transparency

We click, text and even write a check and then trust our donation has the impact we hoped. With charity: water, impact has GPS coordinates. Within months of your gift, you can see exactly where your project is on Google Earth.

Stalking your project is deeply satisfying

Locating your project is just the beginning. What’s happening today? Is it still working? How many people are using it? Several years ago, charity: water started a project to include sensors on its water projects to track community use, measure the amount of water used, and whether the unit needed repair.

Birthdays beget birthdays

If you’ve heard anything about charity: water, you know the power of birthdays. From Scott’s first birthday bash to the eighty-something year old who wanted to give women a globe away a chance to celebrate more birthdays, right up to the six-year-old who pledged his birthday this year, because providing other children clean water is more fun than toys, thousands have used mycharitywater campaigns to redeem the years.

Big, hairy, and audacious numbers

Today over 663 million people lack access to clean water. In the past eleven years, charity: water has partnered on 23,537 water projects in 24 countries in service to 7,347,032 people. With imagination as the only ceiling, over a million supporters worldwide have biked, ran, jumped, climbed, swum, and served lemonade for pledges in support of the theory that the craziest thing we can do is nothing.

There’s a well (or bio-sand filter) with your name on it

So here’s where you pull out your credit or debit card on your way to charitywater.org. Here’s where you fulfill your new year’s resolution to change the world.

Because whether you are thirteen years old and able to donate $30 to provide someone with clean water for a year or a wildly successful business person able to underwrite an entire project with a $10,000 gift, one thing we do know as believers is that God is all about the water.

“This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing” (Matthew 10:42, MSG).

Give at charitywater.org


Anitra Parmele is a freelance writer in South Florida and regular contributor to the Good News. She can be reached at [email protected].

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