New non-profit works toward global access to safe water

NEW YORK, NY, July 14, 2009 -- Matt Damon, H2O Africa co-founder, and Gary White, WaterPartners executive director and co-founder, have joined forces to co-found a new non-profit focused on bringing access to safe water and sanitation to the developing world...

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• H2O Africa and WaterPartners merge to deliver on safe water promise for those in need

NEW YORK, NY, July 14, 2009 -- Today Matt Damon, H2O Africa co-founder, and Gary White, WaterPartners executive director and co-founder, announced that they have joined forces to co-found a new organization -- Water.org -- a non-profit focused on bringing access to safe water and sanitation to the developing world. Water.org will leverage grassroots awareness-building expertise and nearly two decades of demonstrated innovation and success in the sector to help the nearly 890 million people without safe water and the more than 2.5 billion people without safe sanitation.

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Water.org co-founder Matt Damon with children in Tigray, Ethiopia, at the community's previous water source. Today, they have clean water from a village well provided by Water.org. (Photo: Business Wire)
Matt Damon, a long-time advocate for safe water issues, explains the importance of launching Water.org, "Every 15 seconds, a child in the developing world dies from water-related disease. After visiting project sites in Africa and Asia with Gary, I've seen the problem and the impact of safe water." Damon said, "As a clear leader in the sector at delivering innovative and sustainable solutions for those in need, WaterPartners was the natural choice with whom to work to truly affect lasting change."

Gary White sees a bright future for Water.org and the people it serves. "For more than 20 years I've been working to realize the vision of global access to safe water, and with the help of our donors, staff, partner organizations, and the H2OAfrica team, I'm confident we can accelerate our impact," said White, the Executive Director of the new organization. White, who recently received the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, said Water.org will set the stage for even broader impact in the sector. "It will open the door to advocacy work, and bring the water issue to new heights in the public's consciousness."

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Water.org co-founders Gary White and Matt Damon join slum residents in Hyderabad, India, in celebrating their new water connection. (Photo: Business Wire)
The merger will improve efficiencies, leverage expertise, and increase the overall social return on donations. Water.org will be an integrated advocacy and fundraising destination for safe water and sanitation issues. Through its partners worldwide, it will champion innovative business models, local partner development, project selection and oversight, program management, and post-development monitoring and evaluation. Later this year, the organization will launch an entirely new online experience that will bring unprecedented transparency and connectedness between donors and those in need.

Water.org is a non-profit organization whose founders have transformed hundreds of communities in Africa, South Asia and Latin America by providing access to safe water and sanitation. Founded by Matt Damon and Gary White, Water.org works with local partners to deliver innovative solutions for long-term success. Its microfinance-based WaterCredit Initiative is pioneering sustainable giving in the sector. Water.org's life-saving work is made possible by the support of its donors, including the Open Square Foundation, PepsiCo Foundation, ONEXONE, the Skoll Foundation, and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.

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