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Hey, it’s Marie Forleo and you are watching MarieTV, the place to be to create a business and life you love. You know, we all have those moments in life where we realize that something is just not working and we need to go in a new direction. And my guest today is a shining example of what happens when you listen to that call and you embrace the unknown and decide to use your gifts in the service of others.
Scott Harrison spent almost 10 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 photojournalist. Returning home to New York City two years later, he founded the nonprofit organization, charity:water, in 2006. Turning his full attention to the global water crisis and the world’s 800 million people without clean water to drink, he created public installations and innovative online fundraising platforms to spread international awareness of the issue. In 7 years with the help of more than 400 thousand donors worldwide, charity:water has raised over 125 million and funded over 11 thousand water projects in 22 countries. When completed, those projects will provide over 4 million people with clean, safe drinking water. Scott was recently recognized in Fortune Magazine’s 40 under 40 list, the Forbes magazine Impact 30 list, and was recently number 10 in Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business issue. He’s currently a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. Scott lives in New York City with his wife Victoria and son Jackson.

Scott, thank you so much for being here on MarieTV.

It’s great to be here. Thanks for having me.

So I wanna go back. Back in the day to when you had that moment in your life where you felt what you’ve called emotionally and spiritually bankrupt. And you’re in Uruguay, right?

Yeah. Punta del Este.

Ok. Tell us what that was like. And I know you had a big revelation when you came back to New York City, but it wasn’t that easy to make the change, was it?

Yeah. I guess I have to back up a little bit. So I’d moved to New York City at 18 to rebel against everything. You know, the conservative Christian upbringing. My mom was really sick growing up, so I had the caregiver role as an only child. So it was time to look out for number one and I found that there was this job that existed in New York City called a nightclub promoter and people would pay you to drink alcohol for free and all your friends would drink for free. So that’s the life that I embraced for 10 years and, you know, we would go to dinner at 10, the club at 12, after hours at 5, and it looked very glamorous on the outside but it was a kind of really dark, destroying environment. You know, I mean, if you saw me at noon the day after we’d been partying, it wasn’t pretty. So 10… this trip that you mentioned kinda came at the ten year mark and over New Years we would always go away and the beautiful people would jump on planes and rent houses. And I remember this year’s trip was to Punta del Este and we’d rented this house with servants and horses and I remember we’d spent a thousand dollars on fireworks and there were magnums of Dom Perignon. And I had the girlfriend that was on magazine covers and, you know, the life that I thought I wanted. The BMW, the Rolex, guys around me are playing 10 thousand dollar hands of blackjack. You know, what more could you want? And we had this party that lasted 24 hours and I remember it was the day after New Years and it was like 3 in the afternoon and I just wanted to go to sleep. And there were 100 people on the compound by the pool. And it was like the music stopped, you know, and in some way the veil was lifted that I had gotten everything I thought I’d wanted and I was deeply unhappy and I looked around and nobody else was happy. You know, there was wreckage, you know, many of these, you know, 60 year old guys had ditched their wife and kids to chase 20 year old models around and buy bottles. And, I don’t know, I just… I guess I saw that there would never be enough girls, there’d never be enough money, there’d never be enough status or parties. And I started reading this very dense theology book that my dad had sent to me and my relationship with my parents had been pretty fractured over those 10 years as I had, you know, picked up every single vice that you can imagine. And something just really awakened in me. You know, I got to kind of opt back into my Christian faith in a… in a way where it wasn’t being shoved down my throat. And I started asking this question, “What would the exact opposite of my life look like?” You know, the… the opposite of the party boy, you know, out, you know, banging lines of cocaine. You know, what would serving others look like?

Yeah. And so that… so you got home from that trip, you got back to New York, and obviously the physical surroundings were still the same, but something…

Yeah, nothing had changed.

Something in you changed. What were those first steps? What did you start doing when you got back to start to try and make that change not only from within, but on the outside too?

Yeah. Well, so it was like the fun had been taken away from it but I still was coming back and I was still working in nightclubs. I mean, I had to work to… to pay rent. I remember, you know, it started with spirituality. I started trying to rediscover church, I was reading the Bible again, I was, you know, trying to kind of reclaim this very lost morality in faith. But I was kind of floundering. And then, I don’t know, it took me about 6 months and I rented a cobalt blue Ford Mustang from… from the Newark Airport, kind of on an indefinite rental, and I grabbed the Bible, I grabbed a bottle of Deurs, and I started heading north aimlessly. I didn’t know where I would end up. Went through Connecticut, through Vermont, just kind of trying to, you know, decide what was next. And I wound up in… in Moosehead Lake at this internet cafe. It was dialup internet. I remember the…

Yeah!

And I had… I just kind of had this moment where I said, you know, I never need to go back and what would the radical change be? What if I were to tithe or give one of the ten years that I’d pissed away to the poor? So from this internet cafe I started applying to the world’s famous humanitarian organizations. The World Visions and Peace Corps and, you know, United Nations. Thinking that of course they’re gonna love the idea that a nightclub promoter who gets thousands of people drunk every night…

Right.

…you know, wants to go on some humanitarian mission in Africa.

Right.

So I actually didn’t go back. I kind of, you know, gave up my apartment and sold my things just in faith that one of these organizations would take me. I went to a friend’s house in the south of France just to kind of wait for all of the acceptance letters come in, and I was denied by every single organization that I’d applied to. And on paper, you know, I must’ve been terrifying. You know? I remember in some of the applications, like, “Do you drink?” Excessively. “Do you smoke?” 2 packs a day. “Have you done drugs?” Which ones? But I… I’d written these compelling essays, I thought, of, you know, this was my old life, I wanna change, you know, I think I have a lot to bring to the table. So denial, denial, denied, denied. Finally one organization says, “Scott, if you pay us 500 dollars a month, you can volunteer with us.” And I’m like, “This is great. I wanted the opposite of my life. Not only am I not gonna make money, I’m gonna have to pay…”

To volunteer.

“…for the opportunity of volunteering.” So I said, “Where are you guys going?” They said, “We’re sailing this giant 500 foot hospital ship to Liberia.” I, you know, it’s embarrassing now, but I’d never heard of Liberia. You know, I thought Africa was like one big country, not made up of 40 some countries. And I said, “Sure, I’ll go.” Started learning about their work, their mission as I got ready to join. And I learned that this country, Liberia, had been through a 14 year civil war, there was no electricity, there was no running water, there was no mail, there was no sewage. Completely broken as Charles Taylor had… had decimated this country with child soldiers. So we were gonna go in with these amazing surgeons, doctors who had given up their vacation time and instead of flying their families to, you know, the Caribbean, decided to fly in and use their skills for good. And I had signed up to be their volunteer photojournalist, so I dusted off a degree that I had gotten from NYU and said, “Look, I know a lot of people. I have 15 thousand people on my club list, you know, what if I take pictures, what if I tell stories of the work that you guys are doing?” And it happened very quickly. So from that New Years Eve trip, in the fall I was sailing on this ship into… into West Africa.

So I know you spent 2 years on that ship and it completely changed everything. And when you came back, you had the realization, from what I’ve read and researched, that you could possibly make an impact in your lifetime to help end the water crisis. When you started thinking about that to yourself when you were back here after those two years, what did you start thinking about in terms of did you know you wanted to start charity:water? Was that in there? Or were you just like, “How can I make a bigger impact?” What was that next step for you?

Yeah. I don’t talk about this that much, but I think the big piece over that 2 year story was, you know, I am emailing the stories, and we were… we were operating on people with massive tumors, we were digging wells, so I learned about the water crisis for the first time there. But I was emailing these fancy club people who used to come out and buy 500 dollar bottles of Greygoose. And, you know, two reactions when you email 15 thousand people pictures of tumors and dirty water. The first was, “Take me off this list! I signed up for the Prada party, not the tumor party or the poverty party.” And then the other reaction was, “This is amazing. How do I give money? How do I volunteer? You know, how do I engage and serve these doctors?” So I think I discovered the power of story, the power of almost an unpolished, raw story. You know, not… and the organization had typically, you know, over polished things almost and buttoned it up and then would put it in a mailer. And this was… it was raw. It was almost reportage. So when I came back I was 30, I believed the power of story, I believed that there were all these people that wanted to get involved but didn’t trust charities, that they weren’t being communicated to in a way that moved them or in a way that… that was relevant. And I actually wanted to help Mercy Ships at the time and I had so many crazy ideas for them. I mean, we’re gonna completely rebrand you and all your marketing needs to go and, you know, that I scared them so much they said, “Thank you but no thanks. It’s been a great 2 years, thanks for serving us, thanks for the awareness and money you raised, but you should go and do your own thing.” So really that door was shut and I said, “Ok, well I do have all these ideas, I’ve been able to raise a lot of awareness and money for this organization, I guess I’ll start something on my own.”

And so I know one of the things that you knew was what you didn’t want. You didn’t want an ugly website. That was one of the things that you were clear about. So you had a bit of a vision for what charity:water could be.

Yeah. As I was talking to people that I wanted to get involved, I would hear these common objections to charity. The most common one was, I don’t know how much of my money is actually going to reach the people. And everybody seemed to have a horror story of the big overhead, the CEOs being paid millions of dollars, you know, the charity that scammed everyone, put 90% of the funds in their own pockets and sent 10. And, you know, I thought if that’s really true, then there’s a huge amount of money that could be unlocked through a new model. So that was one. The second was, you know, people didn’t feel a connection to where their money went. And, you know, I thought, well, the technology tools of the day, you know, we can put stuff on Google Earth and Google Maps. Like, you can bridge that gap using technology and say, you know, here’s your well in Cambodia. Here’s your well in Malawi. You know, here’s what the community looks like. Here’s exactly where it is, within 10 feet. And, as you mentioned, the third was charities were so bad at marketing and branding. I mean, they had some of the worst websites, they were, you know, as bad as insurance companies.

Yeah.

And, you know, a typical charity website would have, like, 100 links in 2 point font and they would expect you to read 90 page whitepapers. You know, I recently read something about The World Bank’s website. I think of all of the PDFs that they’d put on the website, 30% have been downloaded once or more.

Wow.

70% have never been downloaded once. Something crazy like that. So I thought, you know, there’s a new way to tell stories, we could use great design. Nick Kristof had written in the New York Times that… that people… he said people peddle toothpaste with more sophistication than all of the world’s life saving causes. And, you know, Doritos can spend hundreds of millions of dollars marketing junk food, you know, Crest can market. Why aren’t the greatest needs or the greatest causes in the world able to bring that same design aesthetic or design relevance to their issues? I didn’t know how to design beautiful things, but I had pretty good taste and I thought, “We just need to find talented designers who would rather work on bringing the world clean water than on, you know, Clinique?”

Yeah. I mean, that was one of the things…

I hope Clinique’s not a sponsor.

No, Clinique’s not… we don’t actually have any sponsors for that reason, because I like to be able to say anything I wanna say when I wanna say it.

Great.

And it was one of the things that I was so impressed with when I first learned about your organization because I was drawn in because I appreciate great design and I love branding and marketing. I think it can be such a powerful force for good in the world and it just… so when people go like this towards it, I’m like, “No, no, no. It’s a beautiful tool if you leverage it in the right way for the right purposes.” And with charity:water, I just wanna let you know, it’s made such a huge difference to so many people and I’ve shared it just saying, first of all, the work that you do is incredible, but just being able to bring a fresh face, a new model, making it cool, making it fun, making it beautiful to engage with has been incredible.

That’s all my wife.

Yes. And I remember when I first stumbled across your website, our creative director, I said, “Who does…? Whatever they’re doing, that’s it.” It’s so hot, it’s beautiful, it’s gorgeous. She’s amazing. She’s absolutely amazing.

And she has a great team, as well.

Yeah. So the other thing that I love about you guys is, of course, the focus that you have because of the work that you do on women and girls. Let’s talk about a recent trip that you made, and I believe that one was to Ethiopia.

It’s heavy.

I know it’s heavy.

We talked about this.

But it’s important.

Yeah. So, you know, just top line, the issue. 800 million people don’t have access to clean water. You know, it’s something I took for granted my entire life. I used to sell 10 dollar bottles of Voss in the clubs. You know? No one I know in my circle of friends has ever had to drink dirty water. So it’s really almost a tough issue to get people to understand because it’s not in our face. You talk about cancer, everyone has been touched by cancer. You know, you talk about, you know, dying of bilharzia or, you know, trachoma through dirty water, no one’s been touched by that here. So 800 million people, it is absolutely an issue that touches the women and girls because, unfortunately, throughout the developing world it is the job of the women and girls to get the water, which is not clean. So it is not uncommon for women to walk 5, 6, 7, 8 hours a day, which is, again, just so hard for us to imagine. Like, that is the entire work day and it’s 3 hours out, you know, with the empty pail or the jerry can or the clay pot, 5 hours back. And, you know, I mean, I’ve seen so much now. I’ve been to Ethiopia 23 times over the last couple of years and one of the great things about this job is that I’m able to go and meet the people and spend time in these communities where we’re working. I think of all the stories over the last 8 years of charity:water that move me the most were the kind that put the point on how human this issue is, was the story of Ledikiros that I was telling you. I heard… 2 years ago I was in a crappy hotel, 6 dollar inn hotel in Ethiopia, and the hotel owner comes out and says, you know, “You’re the charity:water people. It’s amazing what you’ve been doing here. You know, water is so important. Let me tell you a story about a girl who lived in my village 10 years ago and she used to walk 8 hours a day for water and she would have this heavy clay pot on her back that she would tie a rope around her shoulders and attach the pot to. And she would walk 8 hours.” And he said, “She wasn’t getting clean water, but she came back one day and as she was entering our village she slipped and she fell, she broke her pot, all the water that she’d spent a day fetching spilled out.” And he says to me and a couple of donors, he says, “Instead of going back, she took the rope and she hung herself from a tree in my village.” He just let that sit and then he walked back into the kitchen. He said, “The work you’re doing is important,” he walked back into the kitchen. And I remember one of the donors I was with, young guy, he was like, “Dude, why would you tell us that story?” And, you know, we processed it and then it almost goes in the, ok, that’s just a wive’s tale. That’s… that can’t be true. So I wound up confirming it through the partners and finding out about the village and finding her name and, you know, I was telling it on stage, I was telling it, you know, to friends just as a way of saying, look, this is a human crisis. It’s about people, they have names, they have families, you know. 800 million is impossible, but this is about women that just have no hope because of where they were born. So earlier this year I wanted to really see if it was true and I wanted to walk in her footsteps and I wanted to meet her family and I wanted to see and photograph the tree, as horrible as that sounds. So I… I found out that the village was pretty cut off. It was a 9 hour walk over mountains. So I drove to the end of the road, rented a donkey, put my, you know, camera gear on the back of the donkey and my tent, and I wound up spending a week in her community. Meeting her mom, meeting her friends that walked with her that day, walking in her footsteps, this unbelievable, treacherous walk down, you know, ravines to this swampy, nasty water, seeing the tree. And I think what killed me was I didn’t know this going in, but I found out that she was 13 years old when she died. And I… I asked her best friend, this girl name Yeshareg, who was still walking for water 10 years later because the village still doesn’t have clean water, I said, “Why do you think she killed herself? Why not go back the next day? Why not, you know, just… just come home and say, ‘I broke my pot.’”

Yeah.

And Yeshareg said, “You know what? She was such a remarkable girl, she was such a fighter, she was so proud that she wouldn’t have wanted to let her mom down because her mom was waiting on that water to cook dinner for the family.” And she… she just after all of that, coming home empty handed was too much, the shame was too much for her. And, you know, we’re now… charity:water is now trying to find a solution for this village. There’s 2,800 people living there and the crazy thing is that this tragedy happened 10 years ago. Nothing has changed.

Right.

And women are still walking with no hope simply because of where they were born. And, you know, I just… I had a child 3 weeks ago, you know, it’s not lost on me that he’s born in a world where he’s never gonna drink dirty water.

Right.

He’s probably never gonna go hungry. We’re gonna take him to Africa in 5 months, to Ethiopia, and we’re gonna buy a bunch of bottled water and, you know, we’re gonna throw it in the back of the car and… but simply because of where they were born, you know, this is their situation. So, you know, it really helped kind of reinvigorate me personally to continue to fight for these people because, you know, we have the opportunity, we’ve been given a voice, we have money, and we’re able to, you know, to help people.

Yeah. I was really, as strange as it may sound, excited for you to tell that story because so many of us and so many of us here and who get a chance to watch the show don’t have exposure to that. It’s not on the news. You know, so many other things get covered. So I think, you know, if I can play any small part in helping to share things that don’t get shared in other places so that people can tap into that voice they have inside that says, “I wanna make a difference,” then I feel like we’ve done our part here. And I know there was another story that was also…

A happy one. Yeah.

Yeah, that was really inspiring for you also about Helen.

Yeah. So there are the villages that need water and then, of course, we’re able to, you know, to solve the needs of many of these communities and over the last 8 years now we’ve funded over 13 thousand water projects for about 4 and a half million people, so…

Congratulations.

That’s… I know 4 and a half million out of 800 million, you know, long way to go, but it’s like stadiums of people, it’s…

Hey.

In fact, this year 3 thousand people are getting clean water every single day. So we’re trying to talk about, you know, the problem is being solved. Instead of these statistics of death and dying it’s how many people got clean water today? 3 thousand. How many will get clean water tomorrow? Because of the compassion and the empathy and the people that are stepping up to help. So one of these great stories, there was a woman named Helen in northern Uganda and our team, Becky, who was our Water Program Director at the time, it was the end of a long day, she’s trying to sneak into Helen’s village to just see how the community is using the water project without the fanfare. If you ever come with me, it is a crazy, hours of dancing and celebration and popcorn and they, you know, no matter how poor the community is they will bring their best food. Sometimes it’s nuts, sometimes it’s popcorn, sometimes barley or maize. They will make you coffee, even if it’s with dirty water. So Becky’s just trying to get into this village, you know, get in and get out. Somehow this woman named Helen Apio gets wind of her trip, blocks the road, brings 20 women, they’re dancing, they’re shouting, Helen is of course, you know, screaming in a happy way at the top of her lungs. And at the end of all of that when everything quiets down, you know, Becky got off with Helen and started talking to her in a quiet way and said, “How has your life changed now that you have clean water? You know, what has it meant to you? What has it meant to the community?” So Helen starts talking about her life before and she was actually getting clean water from a far away well. So she wasn’t getting dirty water, but she said, “Because it was so far, because there was a wait, I would take 10 gallons,” so two of these kind of yellow jerry cans. And she said, “I have a husband and 2 kids, so there’s never enough water. So every single day I would have to make these choices: do I cook, do I clean, do I wash my husband’s clothes, do I wash my husband’s body, do I wash my kids school uniforms?” She said, “If they go to school too dirty, they’re sent home.” And she says, “Of course, as the mother of the family, I always put my family first. So there was never enough water for me.” She said, “Now I have clean water in my village, I can get 3 times as much,” and she said, “I’m beautiful now.” And I remember Becky didn’t get it at first and said, “Well, of course you’re beautiful. What do you mean?” She said, “No, you don’t understand. Now I feel beautiful because I have enough water to wash my body and my clothes.” And, you know, we… we have a bunch of statistics at charity:water that we can throw at you with the health impacts of water and the, you know, economic impacts, but we had never… we’d never thought of it that way, that water could give a woman dignity, could make someone feel beautiful, you know, at the most human level. And we’re talking about taking her from two toilet flushes, for a family of four, to six, and that was enough to change her life and the way she felt about herself.

It’s so awesome. Thank you so much for being you. Thank you for going on that trip and having that experience and coming back.

I can’t wait to go back. There was this… I’ve gotta tell you one more story from that village. There’s this one woman that I met and… and this isn’t solving the problem in general, but I… she was 20 years old, she had a young child, and she was walking that same distance, the 8 hours. And she would go every single day and she said, “It kills me because my kid is breastfeeding, my kid is screaming all day long, you know, and she’s with my grandmother, but I can’t take my child on this treacherous hike.” And she said, “But if I had a donkey, I could take 4 days worth of water on the donkey’s back home with me so I would go Monday and not have to go Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. I could go Friday but not have to go Saturday, Sunday.” I said, “Well, we’re trying to find a solution for this village but, you know, how much would it be to buy a donkey?” And she said, “110 dollars.” And, you know, look, I’m like the charity guy, but I spend 110 dollars in the city without even thinking about it.

Absolutely.

We bought her a donkey. That was actually a trek, because it was 5 days away, so the guy had to, you know, come with us and it was a 5 day’s walk to the market. But I can’t wait to go back and just not only see 2,800 people getting access to clean water, but, you know, something as simple as giving a woman ¾ of her days back for 100 dollars, I mean, it… I mean, it just kinda rocked me, even the way that I think about money or spend money, you know, here in the city just even doing what I do.

I do it any time I see my credit card bill. Every time I go out, there’s times when I’m traveling around, I live here in New York City, sometimes I spend time out east in Long Island, and I won’t go to restaurants sometimes because I literally get sick when I look at the prices on the menu. And I’m like, “Do you know what this could do in other places?”

Sure.

So I’m… I’m with you. One of the other things that I love about what you guys have done is the focus on birthdays.

Yeah.

And the ability that it helps anyone give and anyone donate. Tell us about why you were inspired, how that came about, and how birthdays work.

So charity:water was actually founded through a birthday party and this actually goes back to the club decade. Night club promoters, as you know, throw great birthday parties.

Yes.

It’s like the one time of year we get to call in all the favors and, you know, the people that don’t go out often will come out on your birthday party. You know, you give them open bar and it’s a big night. So as I was starting charity:water, you know, I didn’t have all these clever online, you know, ideas at the time. I just said, “Why don’t I throw a big party at a nightclub but instead of pocketing the money, we’ll use the money to build water projects?” So I threw my 31st birthday party, it was a place called Tenjun 2 weeks before they opened. My birthday always falls during Fashion Week, so it was September 7th. And 700 people came, I gave them open bar, I had a bunch of photos of dirty water up and clean water and drilling for wells, and I charged everyone 20 bucks at the door. So it was a really simple start. We raised 15 thousand dollars, we took it immediately to northern Uganda, and one of the other things, from day one we’ve always used 100% of all public funds, of all donations, to fund the projects. And there are 100 private donors that pay for the entire overhead. So everybody’s been able to give in a clean way. So I was able to tell people, even if you give 20 bucks at the door, it can help somebody get clean water. So a couple of months later we proved these wells, we sent the photos and the GPS and the video back to those 700 people that attended the party and said, “Here’s what you did.” And, you know, I always joke because some of my friends did not remember attending the party, they said it was such a good one. But, you know, they… look, it was an amazing thing because people never expected to hear from the charity.

Yeah.

Let alone, you know, you throw 20 bucks in a bin, you have a couple of drinks, and to be able to see actual lives changed, to be able to see tangible water projects, you know, prove through your money, through the collective community. So on the one year anniversary I was turning 32 and I said, “You know, I’m too old for the club stuff,” you know, I’d stopped going out and just had a completely different schedule. And said what if I… and the club didn’t scale. You know, maybe I could get a thousand people to come, maybe I could charge them 30 bucks. But I said, “What if I gave up my birthday and I told everyone, ‘Stay home. I’m not throwing a party. But donate my age in dollars.’” And I thought, you know, I was turning 32, maybe that would be kind of a sticky idea.

Yeah.

32 dollars for my 32nd birthday. You would spend that much just coming in a taxi and tipping the bartender.

Totally.

So everyone I knew that could attend had 32 bucks. So I just wage an email war, I email everyone, “Hey, 32 bucks for my 32nd birthday,” and I promised my friends if I raised I think it was 40 thousand dollars for a deep well at a hospital in Kenya, I would fly to Kenya and I would drill on my birthday via satellite so they could actually see kind of in real time their money being spent. So to my surprise in a couple of weeks I raised 59 thousand dollars.

Awesome.

The opening party was 15 grand. And, you know, as… as it happens sometimes, these ideas just kind of unravel and I said, “Well, look. I’m not the only guy with a birthday that could care about clean water.” And it was great not to get gifts. Most of the stuff you get, we don’t… we don’t want.

Yeah.

Wallets, ties, handbags, Amazon gift cards. Like, you know, I have everything I need.

Too much stuff. Totally.

There are people without clean water.

Totally.

So this 7 year old kid in Austin, Texas takes this idea, his name is Max Schmidhauser, and he starts knocking on doors saying, “I’m turning 7, will you donate 7 dollars?” So because this kid is so cute, he raises 22 thousand dollars.

Oh my goodness.

So now we’re at, you know, 80 thousand and I think 92 people gave up their birthdays that September and we raised 150 thousand dollars, which was 10x the party. We got so many more people involved. So that’s how that idea started just as a, you know, I don’t wanna do a party, let me turn my birthday into this giving moment. It has now raised tens of millions of dollars and it… the beauty of it is that, A, we can donate our birthdays, which are personal to us. So our friends and our families care, so it’s just a great idea, even outside of charity:water. You know, you could use your birthday for the local gardening, you know, arboretum and people would donate because they care about you. So we’ve just seen… the age range is amazing. I mean, I just had my son’s 0 birthday, because he was born 3 weeks ago, so he has a campaign. We’ve had 89 year olds give up their birthday and write these beautiful mission statements, you know, saying, “I’m turning 89 and, you know, that’s double the life expectancy in so many of these countries, you know, where people don’t have clean water. So I’d like other people to be able to live as long as… as I’ve had the opportunity to live.” So it’s a really… I think it’s a really just beautiful idea where we can turn our birthdays into generous moments and 100% of the money goes to help people get clean water. And then charity:water is really good at sharing here’s what you did with the friends and family. So we’re trying to build community around this.

Yeah, I think it’s genius. You know, we… a few years back we built a well with you guys…

In Cambodia, right?

…in Cambodia. Yeah. Absolutely amazing. And I know the next actual birthday that we have coming up is actually MarieTV’s birthday…

Ok.

…which we celebrate every year, and this year MarieTV is gonna be 4 years old.

Ok.

So Scott, with you right now…

I’ll give you 104 dollars.

Ok! Oh, wow. 104… oh my God. So Scott just pledged 104 dollars, he’s kicking us off. We will put all the links below. If you would like to partake in a celebration of the MarieTV birthday, we will have everything below and we are gonna do some incredible good, we’ll set the goals, we’ll make all that happen.

Oh, that’s awesome.

No, it’s… you’re awesome.

And congrats.

Thank you. Your organization is great, your team is great, and I love the global community that’s around charity:water, all the people that make a difference through it. It’s wonderful. Anything else that you want to say before we wrap?

Hm. You know, I think… I just really believe in water as a… as a transforming agent. You know, when I started the thing it was Charity: because I was thinking, “Ok, you know, let’s go all Richard Branson, we’ll do Charity: Education, we’ll do Charity: Health, we’ll do Charity: Malaria,” and over the last 8 years it’s just been this journey kind of unlocking the transformative power of water. You know, we say water changes everything. It does impact health, it impacts education, you know, kids are able to go to school when they’re not walking for water, when they’re not sick with diarrhea or these water born diseases, and it makes these incredible economic impacts in communities. When you’re able to give women and children time back. You know, we have these wonderful stories of women becoming entrepreneurs and selling peanuts at the market, selling rice, selling goat’s milk because they have their days back. So, you know, I really believe in water. I think it’s just a great way to… so I just encourage people to, you know, check out charity:water’s site, learn about the issue, check out some of the videos, meet the amazing partners and the amazing beneficiaries and the amazing supporters that have given so much. You know, this is really, you know, we talked about this on the phone, this really isn’t about us. You know, we’re trying to be a platform where, you know, a 7 year old can go run a lemonade stand for a year to give one community clean water. Where local partners, you know, there’s 375 people in Ethiopia right now who are going out with charity:water money serving their own communities.

Yes.

You know, Ethiopians helping Ethiopians and, you know, we try to tell those stories, you know, and kind of sit back and say, “You guys are all amazing. We’re just gonna make sure that the money is spent well, that we’re doing the right thing, and that we’re gonna try and connect you to that impact.”

Yeah, I think it’s amazing. One of the things that we say on MarieTV is each and every person has an incredible, unique gift to share with the world, and I am so happy that you got in touch with yours and that you’re allowing all of us to take part in it and to make a difference with you, alongside you. Scott, thank you so much for being here today.

Thank you.

It was incredible.

Thanks, Marie.

Now Scott and I would love to hear from you. What’s the single biggest insight that you’re taking away from today’s interview? Let us know in the comments below. Did you like this video? If so, subscribe to our channel and, of course, share it with all of your friends. And if you want even more incredible resources to create a business and life that you love, plus some personal insights from me that I only talk about in email, come on over to MarieForleo.com and sign up for email updates. Stay on your game and keep going for your dreams because the world needs that special gift that only you have. Thank you so much for watching today and I’ll catch you next time on MarieTV.

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