Charity: Water

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charity: water
Charity water logo.jpg
Founded 2006
Founder Scott Harrison
Type Non-governmental organization
Area served
24 countries
Mission bring clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations

Charity: Water is a non-profit organization that provides clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. The organization was founded in 2006 and has helped fund 13,641 projects in 22 countries, benefiting over 4.6 million people. Overall, the organization has raised over $155 million as of December 8, 2014.[1]


Based in New York City, Charity Water uses both mainstream and social media platforms to raise awareness, including annual galas[2] and events arranged via Twitter.[3] The initiative has received donations from 300,000 individuals. It provides GPS coordinates and photos of the wells it builds.[4] The organization has 20 full-time staff members, 10 interns and more than 800 volunteers. 100% of its public donations are used to fund clean water projects, as its operating costs are funded by private donors, foundations and sponsors.[5]

Charity Water has spent more than $155 million on more than 9,000 water projects in 22 countries, including Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Malawi.[6]



Founder Scott Harrison was a New York City club promoter for ten years. From 2004, Harrison committed two years of his life to the poor and marginalized through volunteer service in Liberia with Mercy Ships. He traced problems surrounding education, safety, and health back to a lack of clean water and basic sanitation systems. Harrison began to tap his network in an attempt to get as many people as possible to support his cause.[7]


Rachel Beckwith was a nine-year-old American girl who, for her birthday, wanted to raise $300 for the charity. She asked family and friends not to buy her any presents but to give money toward the Charity Water campaign. In the month after her birthday, she had raised $220. On July 20, 2011, Beckwith was traveling in a car with her mother and sister when it was hit in a 13-vehicle pile-up. Her mother and sister escaped with minor injuries but Beckwith was taken to hospital. On July 23, it was decided to turn off her life support. A pastor from her church then reopened the donor page that she had created with her mother on a social networking service. Donations began to pour in from all over the world. On 12 August 2011, Beckwith's campaign collections passed the $1 million mark. When the campaign ended on October 1, 2011, it had raised $1,271,713. This money was donated by 31,980 people across the world.[8]

On July 12, 2013, YouTube broadcaster Felix Kjellberg, also known as PewDiePie, asked his fans to donate to Charity Water in one of his videos, as a way for him to celebrate the fact that he had over 10 million subscribers on YouTube. He said he wanted to use his recent popularity for something useful. His goal was to reach $250,000. Moreover, he pledged to give $1 for every 500 views on the video thanks to the support of his YouTube network and many sponsors.[1] The total raised was $450,529 making it the second largest fundraiser according to a "thank you" video made by the organization.[1]

From August 5th to August 9th 2013, YouTube personality HOCGaming recorded a series of livestreams for Charity Water. The goal was to drive from the equator to the north pole in the game Kerbal Space Program. He helped to raise just over $10,000 dollars, becoming the second highest fundraiser for 2013. A year later, HOC tried again, this time more than doubling the amount raised. He said he wants his fundraising to become an annual feature, but is unsure what he will be doing next year as he achieved the feat on August 10, 2014.[citation needed]

In 2011 The Macallan Single Malt in a Lalique Decanter raised, in total, $600,000 after it sold at auction in New York. The entire proceeds of this stunning whisky were donated to Charity: Water.


Charity evaluator GiveWell published a review of Charity Water in December 2012. Their overall conclusion was that the charity "stands out from other organizations we have considered in some respects (such as conducting evaluations that include frank discussions of problems), but we remain uncertain about the humanitarian impact of their work and the relative effectiveness of their partner selection process."[9]

As of 2013, Charity Navigator rates the organization among their highest-rated charities, with a full 4 out of 4 stars, and an overall rating of 67.32 out of 70.[10]

In an "op-ed" analysis published in Truthout, Fulbright Scholar and USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Fellow, Anne Elizabeth Moore, reviewed some serious problems with Charity Water.[11]


  1. ^ a b c "How charity: water raises millions through digital channels". Artez Interactive. Feb 16, 2012. Retrieved Sep 19, 2012. 
  2. ^ Cole, Patrick (Dec 15, 2008). "Party Planner Kicks $350 Grey Goose Habit for Clean Water Cause". Bloomberg. 
  3. ^ McCarthy, Caroline (August 5, 2009). "Crowded roads ahead for charity 2.0". CNET News. 
  4. ^ "Case study: Charity Water". Think Social. May 26, 2009. [dead link]
  5. ^ Kristof, Nicholas D. (July 11, 2009). "Clean, Sexy Water". New York Times. 
  6. ^ Floum, Jessica (Sep 15, 2013). "Silicon Valley 'well' backs world water charity". Retrieved Dec 24, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Scott's Story". Charity Water. 2006. 
  8. ^ Harris, Amy; Wogan, J.B. (Aug 8, 2011). "Rachel Beckwith's legacy: $1 million for charity". The Seattle Times. Retrieved Sep 3, 2011. 
  9. ^ "charity: water". GiveWell. Dec 4, 2012. Retrieved Dec 5, 2012. 
  10. ^ "charity: water". Charity Navigator. Sep 4, 2013. Retrieved Sep 4, 2013. 
  11. ^ Moore, Anne Elizabeth (Jan 12, 2013). "The Problem With Charity Water". Truthout. 

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