Scott Harrison

Founder & CEO of charity: water
Scott Harrison
  • Founded Charity : Water to battle the startling statistic that 52% of disease in the developing world stems from dirty water
  • Turned the traditional idea of charity is on its head with his innovative business model
  • Uses technology and storytelling to illustrate the importance and impact of his non-profit
  • A gifted storyteller, Harrison inspires companies and individuals to blaze a trail for change

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Scott spent almost ten years as a nightclub promoter in New York City before leaving to volunteer on a hospital ship off the coast of Liberia, West Africa, as a volunteer photo journalist.

Returning home to New York City two years later, he founded the non-profit organization, charity: water, in 2006. Turning his full attention to the global water crisis and the world’s 663 million people without clean water to drink, he created public installations and innovative online fundraising platforms to spread international awareness of the issue.

In ten years, with the help of more than one million donors worldwide, charity: water has raised over $260 million and funded over 24,000 water projects in 24 countries. When completed, those projects will provide over 7.3 million people with clean, safe drinking water.

Scott was recently recognized in Fortune magazine’s 40 under 40 list, Forbes magazine's Impact 30 list, and was #10 in Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business issue. He has also been recognized as a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.

In October 2018, Scott released, Thirst: A Story of Redemption, Compassion, and a Mission to Bring Clean Water to the Worldhis New York Times best-selling memoir, for which all the net proceeds go to fund charity: water projects around the world.

Scott lives in New York City with his wife Viktoria, son Jackson, and daughter Emma. 

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Speaker Video

Scott Harrison | The Charity: Water Story

Scott Harrison: Disrupting Traditional Charity | Founder Story of Charity: Water

Charity: Water Founder Scott Harrison On Building A Digital-First Charity

The charity : water Story. In 2004, Scott Harrison left his life as a nightclub promoter in New York City and signed up for volunteer service with a humanitarian organization offering free medical care to the world’s poorest nations. Astonished by the conditions in his new surroundings, Harrison founded the non-profit organization charity:water, which uses public installations and innovative online fundraising platforms to fund over 22,000 water projects in 24 countries. In this visual keynote, Harrison tells the full story of how he transformed himself from a nightclub promoter into a successful philanthropist, and how his innovative value-driven movement changed the non-profit world.

Disrupting Philanthropy. Scott Harrison believes that a combination of innovation, motivation, and radical transparency is key to inspiring generosity. He runs charity: water like a start-up by using story-telling and branding to make it one of the most-recognized nonprofits in the country, and technology to prove and monitor the success of their projects around the world. In this keynote, Harrison shares the strategies that make charity:water successful, and how to overcome obstacles and challenges with creativity and innovation.

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