Scott Harrison: How Cleaning Up His Act Lead to Cleaning Up Water


In case you missed our feature on Richard Montañez earlier this week, this week’s theme on the Accolo blog is stories of business success. It’s important to keep track of stories like Richard’s simply for the reason that it’s important to keep success as not just a possibility within our minds, but a tangible end result for our hard work.

Sure, not every business venture works out and not every great idea that you’ve ever had has amounted to anything useful, but that’s precisely what makes success so meaningful when you do achieve it. It’s the struggle that you faced along the way that makes the victory that much sweeter in the end. Just take today’s inspiring story Scott Harrison, founder of Charity: Water. His organization has raised over 70 million to help combat the global water crisis, which accounts for about 80% of the sickness on earth.

The first thing that makes Scott’s story so remarkable is the personal struggles that he faced along the way.

After living a relatively sheltered suburban childhood in which he cared for his ill mother, Scott moved to New York City at the age of 18. Being the rebellious youth that he was at the time, Scott lived and breathed the party scene, working as a club promoter through most of his 20’s. 10 years later and Scott’s life is spiraling out of control.

He was addicted to drugs, alcohol and gambling and generally feeling like rock bottom wasn’t too far away.

The beginning of his transformation came while on a trip to south America. After nights of partying, Scott would read a theology book that his father snuck into his luggage. This got him thinking about how self serving his lifestyle had been up to this point and how he wanted his life to be “pretty much the opposite of what it was.”

So, in 2004, Scott signed up with Mercy Ships, a charity bringing medical aide to the people of Liberia. The West African nation had just concluded a bloody 14 year civil war and there were 50,000 people per physician in the country. This was a real eye opener for Scott, seeing disfiguring diseases that had gone untreated for years fixed within a few hours.

On his second year with Mercy Ships, Scott began to realize that one of the greatest root causes of all of the sickness that they were seeing was a lack of clean drinking water. Roughly 1 in 8 people only have access to brown, disease ridden water. To Scott, this was unacceptable. Charity: Water provides impoverished communities without access to clean water the tools to secure a healthy future for themselves.

By digging wells, tapping into aquifers and assisting with the construction of filtration systems, Scott’s organization is beginning to make a dent in one of the most serious health problems facing the human race.

While it’s all well and good to hear me go on about Scott’s story, the foremost authority on the subject would probably be Scott himself. Check out this presentation that he gave at the Inc 500/5000 conference on his organization and his personal journey that lead to creating Charity: Water.


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