There is suffering happening all over the world. We all can do something.
Children can be a great example.
When you see a kid give up what little allowance they have to help someone else or set up a lemonade stand, you realize that what you’re able to give is enough.
We can’t just turn a blind eye.
For this Five Minute Friday, I revisited a conversation I had with Scott Harrison where he talked about living a life of giving.
Scott Harrison was working as a nightclub promoter in New York when he became “morally bankrupt.” He sold all of his belongings and set sail to Africa in an effort to redeem himself. He returned to New York with one goal: to provide clean water to everyone on earth.
Twelve years later, he’s raised over 320 million dollars and provided water to people in 26 countries with his nonprofit charity: water.
He may not be driving a fancy car or going on huge vacations, but he is ending suffering for hundreds of people a day. For him, that means so much more.
Learn what it takes to change the world for good in Episode 774.
Lewis: This is 5 minute Friday!!
Scott Harrison after a decade of indulging his darkest vices as a night club promoter he declared spiritual, moral, and emotional bankruptcy. He spent 2 years on a hospital shift of the coast of Liberia. Saw the effects of dirty water firsthand and came back to New York City on a mission to change the world.
Upon returning to New York in 2006, having seen the effects of dirty water firsthand he turned his full attention to the global water crisis and then 1.1 billion people living without access to clean water.
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What’s the biggest lessons you’ve learned the last 12 years giving your life to service and being on this mission to, and suffering with the water crisis?
Scott: It’s been, a lot of people feel like its big sacrifice. There’s this empathy that of people will have because I haven’t tried to get rich, I haven’t gone after the money and they feel like sometimes I’ve made this great sacrifice, I’m like “I haven’t made the sacrifice at all.” Like think about it, today we will raise enough money to get 3,800 humans clean water for the first time.
Lewis: Just in 1 day?
Scott: Today and then do it again tomorrow and the next day. So, we’re filling you know stadiums about every 4 to 5 days. So from Monday to Friday you know Madison Square Garden we’ve just filled with people that are getting clean water first time and emptied it out and just did it again. That’s an amazing thing to be able to do, one person every 15 seconds. You know we sit here not because of me but because of the community, because of the millions of people around the world that have join charity water, that have rejected the apathy that would be so easy to embrace with a paralyzing global issue like this. There was a little girl in Vancouver who did 12, she came across our video online was so offended by the fact that people are drinking dirty waters. So, she does 12 lemonade stands one of them in the rain just undeterred and the last lemonade stand she convinces the local band to perform on the sidewalk.
Lewis: To attract an audience.
Scott: She sells 5,600 dollars of lemonades built out of well. So these stories keep us going, there was a little girl named Nora who was 6 again saw one of our videos and goes up to her room that night and she’s says “Should I give or should I not give?” This internal [?], she comes out of the morning and drops 8 dollars and 15 cents on the kitchen counter and draws a picture of herself next to a well with clean water in Africa coming out and writes us a note saying “Dear, charity water my name is Nora here’s my 8 dollars and 15 cents and I don’t want kids to die of dirty water.” So you know this arrives in the mail and we were so inspired we actually sent a camera crew down and interviewed this astonishing little girl, and on world water day we ask everyone in the community to ask 8 dollars and 15 cents and raised like 80 grand in her honor. It’s an amazing thing to be able to do.
Lewis: Did she go to Africa?
Scott: She hasn’t yet but we should totally take her once she get a little older. I guess the way that I would love for billions and billions of dollars to flow through our hands, I mean the way of keeping score is money for others not money for ourselves. My greatest ambition really about money is to actually write a million dollar check personally to a charity someday, because someone did it for me at a really important time and it change the game for us, it was way too much money. Normally what happens with charity is there’s an amount that people are giving, like this is a charity that people give 10 grand of this is a charity that people give a hundred dollars to. Well this one person came in when we were in charity and gave us a million dollars.
Lewis: What was the biggest money before that? 50?
Scott: Yeah something like that.
Lewis: It’s almost too overwhelming.
Scott: Well it was a year. I tell this story in the book so I won’t ruin the drama but it was a moment of desperation and this was that saved the organization from [?].
Lewis: You needed to pay the next couple of weeks probably.
Scott: We were unable to pay our staff but we had 881 thousand dollars in the bank that couldn’t touch. And we were unwilling to compromise by either borrowing against it or borrowing 1 penny. So, I was gonna shut the organization down and say that charity water didn’t worked 318 million dollars ago. We had raised a couple of million dollars for water projects, couldn’t keep the lights on the overhead account, just couldn’t tell our story and I had been praying if I’m honest with very little faith, no faith would happen for a miracle. I’d be like “God I need a miracle.” Like you know with the sky part something needs to happen here and a complete stranger walked in off the street and said “Cool, I’ll give you a million dollars on the overhead account.”
Lewis: Crazy. There’s the miracle.
Scott: So I want to do that for somebody at some point. The ambition is not a house in the Hamptons or you know to drive a Mercedes or anything like that, but I love to be able to actually give more generously.
Lewis: You’re not making a big enough salary to do that yet because you make a charity salary right?
Scott: Yeah, and we’re benchmark and I mean for years the board has always tried to pay me more because the benchmark in New York is higher than I’ve taken and I’m like ‘Yeah, but I’m just gonna give more away.’ So anyway at some point it’d be fun to get the side hustle.
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