Whetting the World’s Whistle: $20 Million Drilled and Growing


I was frustrated last night when sipping foul tasting water from my water bottle at Zumba class. Why did it taste like old whiskey? Since I was supposedly burning 1,000 calories, I was more thirsty than usual, and could have gone for water that didn’t taste funny. Then, I thought about Charity Water and its mission, and I was just grateful not to be forced to walk five miles to fetch fresh water, as is the case for a billion people on the planet.

“We invite you to put yourself in their shoes, follow them on their daily journey, carry 80 pounds of water in yellow fuel cans, dig with their children in sand for water, line up at a well and wait eight hours for a turn. They didn’t choose to be born into a village where the only source of water is a polluted swamp.  And we didn’t choose to be born in a country where even the homeless have access to clean water and a toilet.”

These compelling words are part of the mission statement of Charity Water, a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to the people described – people in developing nations. The activists behind the projects admit they are not offering grand solutions and billion dollar schemes, but rather things like freshwater wells, rainwater catchments and sand filters – all purchased with donations of a mere $20 a person. You can also sponsor a freshwater well in a village for $5,000 or fund a well and latrines at a school of 1,000 students for $20,000.


It’s a simple concept, really, all of us pitching in to get this life source to our fellow earthlings, and one that occurred to a young New York product promoter named Scott Harrison in 2004, when he took off his diamond Rolex and left the streets of NYC for the slums of civil war torn Central Africa. You can watch the video of his odyssey here.

Is the organization making a dent? In the past four years, it has raised more than $20 million and funded nearly 3,000 water projects, partnering with water organizations, the nation’s schools, big name celebrities, and hosting dynamic fundraising balls with top designers staging fashion shows to get movers and shakers on board. In other words, Harrison has done for water what he did for vodka and beer and other products, proving if your priorities are in the right place, you can literally quench a thirsty world.

A handful of other ways to get involved:

Start a campaign for your birthday

(Will and Jada Smith are celebrating their birthdays by taking three top fundraisers on a trip to see wells in Africa)

Wear charity by Purchasing Products from the Charity Water Store

Volunteer in New York City or Walk for Water Nov. 26


Luanne Bradley

Luanne Sanders Bradley is the West coast Editor at EcoSalon and currently resides in San Francisco, California.