Garblog's Pages

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Scott Harrison: Finding meaning in philanthropy | Amy Evans, Mother Nature Network

I'm impressed by this young man's story! After encountering extraordinary poverty in Africa, he decided to end his work as a party promoter in New York City and use his skills to provide clean water to developing nations.

The article begins:
Throughout his 20s, Scott Harrison promoted fashion shows and club openings for New York City’s most expensive labels and elite night spots. At that time, $20 represented the average cost of an alcoholic beverage.
But when the party life left him feeling unfulfilled and empty, Harrison joined Mercy Ships as a photojournalist. He documented the work the hospital ships did in west African countries where regular healthcare was unavailable. Coincidentally, he learned that $20 in this part of the world could bring fresh water to people who couldn't turn on the tap or toss down a bill to get a drink.
Evans writes that during a party in New York celebrating Harrison's 31st birthday, he asked guests to each skip a drink and donate $20, instead, to bring clean water to people in need. He raised $15,000 that night--enough to build three village wells in Africa.

Soon afterward, Harrison decided to launch a nonprofit organisation to raise money for essential water projects in the developing world. And he named it charity: water. So far, it has raised more than $14,800,000, according to the website.

Evans writes:
Harrison’s impressive promotion skills extend far into the social media world where he’s collected more than 1 million followers for the non-profit’s Twitter feed and convinced stars like Justin Bieber and Will Smith to donate tweets and time. 
Harrison has also been successful at using his knowledge of the Web and social media to interest his generation in philanthropy. Evans writes:
He’s successfully recruited his 20 to 30-something peers who’d been reluctant to donate the small funds they had available to opaque old school charities that could not provide the interactivity and transparency that the digital generation requires.
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