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 41)
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]

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Charles and Joan Harrison.[3] His family relocated and he was raised in Hunterdon County, New Jersey.[3][4] When Harrison was four years old, his mother was exposed to carbon monoxide from a cracked furnace installed in their new energy efficient home.[5] His mother's immune system was destroyed and she became an invalid.[3][4][5] As a result, Harrison grew up taking care of his mother and the household.[5] 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.[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.[3] Harrison admits he was not a diligent student,[3] and began working as a nightclub and party promoter in Manhattan.[2] He spent the next 10 years throwing lavish parties for the likes of MTV, VH1, Bacardi and Elle.[6] 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.[5]

When he was 28, Harrison had a "crisis of conscience" during a vacation in Uruguay.[7][8] Harrison had an epiphany about his job and life: "I was selling selfishness and decadence."[8] 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.[9] He served aboard the Mercy Ship Anastasis in West Africa, taking over 60,000 photos in 13 months.[10] While on his first mission trip with Mercy Ships, Harrison received word that his mother was "miraculously healed" of her illness.[4][5]

charity: water[edit]

During his two years with Mercy Ships, Harrison was exposed to the harsh conditions of the impoverished in Liberia.[5] He realized that 80% of all the diseases they encountered were attributable to unsafe water and poor sanitation.[11] He wanted to commit to a life of service, and decided that the lack of clean water was the biggest obstacle facing the poor.[11]

Harrison founded charity: water on September 7, 2006, on the night of his 31st birthday.[5] In lieu of receiving gifts, he charged his friends $20 each to attend his party at the yet unopened Tenjune nightclub.[5] He raised $15,000 that night, which went towards fixing three wells and building three more at a refugee camp in Northern Uganda.[5]

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.[12] 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.[12] 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.[3][13]

Personal life[edit]

Harrison is married to Viktoria Harrison, former Director of Design and Branding at charity: water.[14][15] The two were wed on September 26, 2009, in Washington, Connecticut. They have one son, Jackson, born in 2014[16][15] 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.[4][6] His spiritual re-awakening led him to volunteer with Mercy Ships and to found charity: water.[9]


  1. ^ Scott Harrison campaigns, Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Clean, Sexy Water, The New York Times, July 11, 2009. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e f A Changed Generation: Scott Harrison, Fast Company, Tuesday, May 18, 2010. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d e Ideation 2010: Behind the Scenes with Scott Harrison (charity: water), Posted May 7, 2010. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i charity: water Founder's Story, Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  6. ^ a b Meet Scott Harrison, Founder of charity: water, Planet Green, August 13, 2009. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  7. ^ Scott Harrison shares the charity: water story, discusses best practices, Silicon Prairie News, posted April 26, 2010. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  8. ^ a b Party Promoter's New Campaign: Clean Water, CBS News, August 18, 2009. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  9. ^ a b Scott Harrison, Photojournalist, Gothamist, August 31, 2005. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  10. ^ Scott Harrison's Mercy Blog, Posted December 1, 2005. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  11. ^ a b Delivering the Waters of Life, StableRoad. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  12. ^ a b charity: water, Retrieved Jan 14, 2016.
  13. ^ Think Social Q&A: Scott Harrison, Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  14. ^ Scott Harrison: How He Started charity: water And What He Learned In The Process, Forbes, posted July 22, 2013. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
  15. ^ a b "How I Went From Degenerate Club Promoter To Advocate For Clean Water To Dad". Fatherly. June 15, 2016. Retrieved July 23, 2016. 
  16. ^ Welcoming Baby Jackson into the world Retrieved July 23, 2016.

External links[edit]