DOING WELL BY DOING GOOD.
Sustainable investment: The value of clean water.
Hollywood actor and philanthropist Matt Damon has one simple vision: provide clean water for every person on the planet.
“Access to water is access to education, access to work, access — above all — to the kind of future we want for our own families and all the members of our human family,” says Damon.
“You cannot solve poverty without solving water and sanitation.”
Damon is co-founder of Water.org, a non-profit organization that enables people in desperate need to secure water connections. The organization prides itself on pioneering “market-driven financial solutions to the global water crisis.”
Because of Water.org, more than 6 million people in 14 countries have been able to pay for their own toilets or taps to be built, giving them access to safe, clean water. Partnering with micro-finance institutions,
Water.org philanthropic subsidies have leveraged more than $369 million in microloans over the past 10 years. The loans, which on average are $188, are paid back over two years at an incredible repayment rate of 99 percent.
Now the organization is taking this successful model, scaling it up, and opening it to investors.
Gary White, co-founder and CEO of Water.org, says he came to the conclusion that “traditional philanthropy was never going to be enough” to solve the issue.
Water.org’s affiliated non-profit WaterEquity has launched an investment fund with the goal of raising $50 million from accredited investors in the U.S. and Europe this year. The fund is managed by a dedicated portfolio investment team.