Changing Lives with Safe Water

About 2.3 billion people—one in three—lack access to a toilet, and 844 million have no safe drinking water at home, according to water.org. The group says that every $1 invested in water and sanitation provides a $4 economic return and a $5 return in health benefits.

Since 2009, water.org founders Gary White and Matt Damon have pioneered a market-driven solution to the global water crisis and have transformed hundreds of communities in Africa, South Asia, and Central America. They’ve concluded that charity alone is not a long-term fix; corporate partnerships and access to affordable financing can make a difference, however.

The microfinance-based WaterCredit Initiative brings small, easily repayable loans to those who need them to make household water and toilet solutions a reality. This pay-it-forward system keeps families healthier while giving people who previously spent up to six hours each day collecting safe water time to pursue education and work.

By partnering with beer brand Stella Artois, water.org is engaging large customer bases, encouraging public giving, and reducing reliance on big-money donors.

BJT readers—who represent one of the highest-net-worth magazine audiences anywhere—clearly have the means to contribute to a better world. To help you do that, we’re spotlighting one ­deserving organization per issue. All of them have received a four-star overall rating from Charity Navigator (charitynavigator.org), which evaluates philanthropic institutions based on their finances, accountability and transparency.