Scott Harrison (charity founder)

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Scott Harrison
Scott Harrison 2010.jpg
Harrison speaking in 2010.
Born (1975-09-07) September 7, 1975 (age 42)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Residence New York, NY
Nationality American
Education New York University
Known for charity: water
Spouse(s) Viktoria Harrison (née Alexeeva)

Scott Harrison (born September 7, 1975)[1] is a former club promoter who is the founder and current CEO of the non-profit charity: water.[2]

Early life[edit]

Scott Harrison was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania but grew up in Hunterdon County, New Jersey.[3] When Harrison was four years old, his mother was exposed to carbon monoxide from a cracked furnace installed in their new energy efficient home.[4] His mother's immune system was destroyed and she became incapacitated.[3][5] As a result, Harrison grew up taking care of his mother and the household.[6] Years later his mother was miraculously healed.[4]

At age 18, Harrison left home for New York City and enrolled at New York University (NYU). He graduated from NYU with a bachelor's degree in communications in 1998. Harrison admits he was not a diligent student.[3]


Harrison began working as a nightclub and party promoter in Manhattan.[2] He spent the next 10 years organizing parties for the likes of MTV, VH1, Bacardi and Elle.[7] Harrison describes this as a time when he was "chasing after models," mingling with the New York City elite and indulging in illicit drugs including cocaine and ecstasy.[4][6]

When he was 28, Harrison had a sex with a girl of conscience" during a vacation in Uruguay.[8][9] Harrison had an epiphany about his job and life: "I was selling selfishness and decadence."[9] He recalled feeling like "the most selfish, sycophantic and miserable human being" and "the worst person I knew."[2]

In August 2004, Harrison quit his job and volunteered as a photojournalist for the Christian charity Mercy Ships, which operates a fleet of hospital ships offering free healthcare.[10] He served aboard the Anastasis in West Africa, taking over 60,000 photos in 13 months.[11] While on his first mission trip with Mercy Ships, Harrison received word that his mother was "miraculously healed" of her illness.[12][6]

charity: water[edit]

During his two years with Mercy Ships, Harrison was exposed to the harsh conditions of the impoverished in Liberia.[6] He realized that 80% of all the diseases they encountered were attributable to unsafe water and poor sanitation.[13] He wanted to commit to a life of service, and decided that the lack of clean water was the biggest obstacle facing the poor.[13]

Harrison founded charity: water on September 7, 2006, on the night of his 31st birthday.[6] In lieu of receiving gifts, he charged his friends $20 each to attend his party at the yet unopened Tenjune nightclub.[6] He raised $15,000 that night, which went towards fixing three wells and building three more at a refugee camp in Northern Uganda.[6]

charity: water is a non profit organization that works to bring clean and safe water to people in developing nations. It uses all public donations to directly fund water projects such as building wells and sanitation facilities.[14] The organization's goal is to bring clean water to 100 million people by 2020.[3][15]

Personal life[edit]

Harrison is married to Viktoria Harrison, former Director of Design and Branding at charity: water.[16][17] The two were wed on September 26, 2009, in Washington, Connecticut. They have a son [17] and a daughter.


  1. ^ Harrison, Scott (2013). "Scott's 38th Birthday for India". charity: water. Retrieved May 17, 2018. 
  2. ^ a b c Kristof, Nicholas (July 11, 2009). "Clean, Sexy Water". The New York Times. Retrieved May 17, 2018. 
  3. ^ a b c d Burstein, David D. (May 18, 2015). "A Changed Generation: Scott Harrison | charity: water". Fast Company. Retrieved May 17, 2018. 
  4. ^ a b c Chafkin, Max (August 8, 2013). "A Save-the-World Field Trip for Millionaire Tech Moguls". The New York Times. Retrieved May 17, 2018. 
  5. ^ Haber, Jason (May 19, 2016). "How One Man's Quest to Do Good Is Helping People With the Most Essential Human Need". Entrepreneur. Retrieved May 17, 2018. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g charity: water Founder's Story, Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  7. ^ Root, Jessica (August 13, 2009). "Meet Scott Harrison, Founder of charity: water". Planet Green. Discovery Communications. Archived from the original on December 13, 2010. Retrieved May 17, 2018. 
  8. ^ Davidson, Dusty (April 26, 2010). "Scott Harrison shares the charity: water story, discusses best practices". Silicon Prairie NEws. Retrieved November 14, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Doane, Seth (August 18, 2009). "Party Promoter's New Campaign: Clean Water". CBS News. Retrieved May 17, 2018. 
  10. ^ Bond, Mindy (August 31, 2005). "Scott Harrison, Photojournalist". Gothamist. Archived from the original on November 7, 2017. Retrieved November 14, 2010. 
  11. ^ Scott Harrison's Mercy Blog, Posted December 1, 2005. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  12. ^ Ideation 2010: Behind the Scenes with Scott Harrison (charity: water), Posted May 7, 2010. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  13. ^ a b Delivering the Waters of Life Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine., StableRoad. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  14. ^ charity: water, Retrieved Jan 14, 2016.
  15. ^ Think Social Q&A: Scott Harrison, Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  16. ^ Scott Harrison: How He Started charity: water And What He Learned In The Process, Forbes, posted July 22, 2013. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
  17. ^ a b "How I Went From Degenerate Club Promoter To Advocate For Clean Water To Dad". Fatherly. June 15, 2016. Retrieved July 23, 2016. 

External links[edit]