Scott Harrison (charity founder)
Harrison speaking in 2010.
September 7, 1975 |
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
|Residence||New York, NY|
|Education||New York University|
|Known for||charity: water|
|Spouse(s)||Viktoria Harrison (née Alexeeva)|
In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Charles and Joan Harrison. His family relocated and he was raised in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. When Harrison was four years old, his mother was exposed to carbon monoxide from a cracked furnace installed in their new energy efficient home. His mother's immune system was destroyed and she became an invalid. As a result, Harrison grew up taking care of his mother and the household. Years later his mother was miraculously healed. He credits his family's deep Christian faith for giving them hope that one day his mother would be healed.
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, and began working as a nightclub and party promoter in Manhattan. He spent the next 10 years throwing lavish parties for the likes of MTV, VH1, Bacardi and Elle. 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.
When he was 28, Harrison had a "crisis of conscience" during a vacation in Uruguay. Harrison had an epiphany about his job and life: "I was selling selfishness and decadence." He recalled feeling like "the most selfish, sycophantic and miserable human being" and "the worst person I knew."
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. He served aboard the Mercy Ship Anastasis in West Africa, taking over 60,000 photos in 13 months. While on his first mission trip with Mercy Ships, Harrison received word that his mother was "miraculously healed" of her illness.
During his two years with Mercy Ships, Harrison was exposed to the harsh conditions of the impoverished in Liberia. He realized that 80% of all the diseases they encountered were attributable to unsafe water and poor sanitation. He wanted to commit to a life of service, and decided that the lack of clean water was the biggest obstacle facing the poor.
Harrison founded charity: water on September 7, 2006, on the night of his 31st birthday. In lieu of receiving gifts, he charged his friends $20 each to attend his party at the yet unopened Tenjune nightclub. He raised $15,000 that night, which went towards fixing three wells and building three more at a refugee camp in Northern Uganda.
charity: water is a non profit organization that works to bring clean and safe water to people in developing nations. charity: water uses all public donations to directly fund water projects such as building wells and sanitation facilities. Since its founding, charity: water has established 25 local partnerships, funded approximately 17,673 projects in 24 countries and provided roughly 5.6 million people with clean water. charity: water tackles the water crisis by working with local experts and community members to find the best sustainable solution in each place where they work, whether it’s a well, a piped system, a BioSand filter, or a system for harvesting rainwater. And with every water point they fund, their partners coordinate sanitation and hygiene training, and establish a local Water Committee to help keep water flowing for years to come. The organization's goal is to bring clean water to 100 million people by 2020.
Harrison is married to Viktoria Harrison, former Director of Design and Branding at charity: water. The two were wed on September 26, 2009, in Washington, Connecticut. They have one son, Jackson, born in 2014 and a daughter, Emma, born in 2016.
Harrison often cites his Christian faith as a source of inspiration and motivation in his work and life. His spiritual re-awakening led him to volunteer with Mercy Ships and to found charity: water.
- Scott Harrison campaigns, Retrieved November 14, 2010.
- Clean, Sexy Water, The New York Times, July 11, 2009. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
- A Changed Generation: Scott Harrison, Fast Company, Tuesday, May 18, 2010. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
- Ideation 2010: Behind the Scenes with Scott Harrison (charity: water), Posted May 7, 2010. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
- charity: water Founder's Story, Retrieved November 14, 2010.
- Meet Scott Harrison, Founder of charity: water, Planet Green, August 13, 2009. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
- Scott Harrison shares the charity: water story, discusses best practices, Silicon Prairie News, posted April 26, 2010. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
- Party Promoter's New Campaign: Clean Water, CBS News, August 18, 2009. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
- Scott Harrison, Photojournalist, Gothamist, August 31, 2005. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
- Scott Harrison's Mercy Blog, Posted December 1, 2005. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
- Delivering the Waters of Life, StableRoad. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
- charity: water, Retrieved Jan 14, 2016.
- Think Social Q&A: Scott Harrison, Retrieved November 14, 2010.
- Scott Harrison: How He Started charity: water And What He Learned In The Process, Forbes, posted July 22, 2013. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
- "How I Went From Degenerate Club Promoter To Advocate For Clean Water To Dad". Fatherly. June 15, 2016. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
- Welcoming Baby Jackson into the world Retrieved July 23, 2016.