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Gary White
White is executive director and co-founder of His entrepreneurial vision has driven innovations in the way water and sanitation projects are delivered and financed, and these innovations now serve as a model in the sector. In March 2009, White was inducted into community of Skoll social entrepreneurs, when WaterPartners received the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. (WaterPartners, co-founded by White, and H2O Africa, co-founded by Matt Damon, merged in July 2009 to create The Skoll Foundation was created by Jeff Skoll, eBay’s first president, and the award recognizes the most innovative and sustainable approaches to resolving the world’s most urgent social issues. White is a leading advisor in the water and sanitation space, counseling organizations such as the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, PepsiCo Foundation, and the Open Square Foundation on responses to the global water crisis. White is a founding board member of the Millennium Water Alliance and Water Advocates. In 2008, he was inducted into the Philanthropy World Hall of Fame. White works for because he has dedicated his life to helping people obtain safe and sustainable water supplies. Nearly two decades ago in the slums of Guatemala City, White had a powerful experience of how most people in the world live. The sources of drinking water shocked him the most. These sources represented sickness and death, especially for children whose immune systems cannot cope with waterborne diseases. Knowing that 80 percent of sickness in the world is water-related, and also causes four out of five deaths for children under age five, continues to motivate him. Since White’s experience in Guatemala, he has committed his professional career and invested himself personally to finding the best avenue for addressing global water needs. White’s response has ranged from conducting academic research to working alongside people in the developing world as they constructed water supply systems. He is convinced that’s response represents the most cost-effective and sustainable way to help people meet their own water supply needs. White holds his M. S., Environmental Engineering with emphasis on water supply and sanitation in developing countries from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a M. S., Civil Engineering, and a B. S., Civil Engineering, Minor in Communications, from the University of Missouri-Rolla.

Entries by Gary White

The Future of Water Sustainability

(61) Comments | Posted November 19, 2013 | 2:20 PM

This post first appeared in The Economist From The World In 2014 print edition
and on The Economist website.

Multinational companies have historically taken water availability for granted. But this is changing. A 2013 World Economic Forum report named water scarcity as one...

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Olivia Wilde, Richard Branson and Bono Join the Toilet Strike

(0) Comments | Posted May 22, 2013 | 7:00 AM

Today, Sir Richard Branson, Bono and Olivia Wilde declare their support for Matt Damon's Toilet Strike in the most recent PSA released by The group announced their protest of the global water crisis and pledged "not to go to the bathroom until everyone in the whole world has access...

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Jessica Biel, Jason Bateman, and Josh Gad Support the Toilet Strike!

(1) Comments | Posted March 13, 2013 | 10:01 AM

Jessica Biel, Jason Bateman, and Josh Gad publicly declared their support for Matt Damon's Toilet Strike in a PSA, released today. In doing so, they announced their protest of the global water crisis and pledged "...not to go to the bathroom until everyone in the whole world has access to...

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Democratizing Philanthropy

(0) Comments | Posted December 11, 2012 | 7:15 PM

Gaming and charity have a long-time relationship. From church run-Bingo to celebrity poker, people have long sought to leverage their social and leisure time for good. Advancements in technology have allowed us to kick this up a notch and create a whole new kind of social activism. Instead of taking...

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World Toilet Day November 19th

(5) Comments | Posted November 15, 2012 | 4:39 PM

How much do you know about the water and sanitation crisis? Take a short quiz with Matt Damon, co-founder of, to find out.

The number of kids dying from water-related diseases has decreased from four children a second to three children over the past three years. Yet diarrhea is still the second leading cause of death for children under the age of five worldwide. This is due, in large part, to the lack of one basic item: a toilet. On November 19th, World Toilet Day is observed, giving the world a chance to celebrate one invention that has saved countless lives and raise awareness for the nearly 2.5 billion people who still lack access to improved sanitation. For the week of World Toilet Day, we ask you to donate your voice at to raise awareness about this immense and solvable...
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Is Water the World's Next Global Security Threat?

(26) Comments | Posted July 5, 2012 | 5:54 PM

This was the question posed last weekend at the 2012, Aspen Ideas Festival. I was pleased to see the topic discussed in earnest, not just on day five, but throughout the week. I say this because I find the topic of ensuring access to safe water and sanitation...

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Mothers Who Will Change the World

(92) Comments | Posted May 12, 2012 | 11:52 AM

Mother's Day is a day to celebrate our mothers. It's for brunches, flowers, and time spent with your beloved mom. But for millions of mothers around the world, it's a day they'll lose to one of the world's most preventable causes of death -- waterborne disease.

Mother's Day is...

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World Water Day: Your Voice Matters (Maybe More Than Money) - Donate THAT

(117) Comments | Posted March 22, 2012 | 9:47 AM

Imagine that when you woke up today, before logging online to check email or read this post you had to walk a mile or more, wait in line with as many buckets as you could carry, fill them with whatever water you can find, and haul the 50 pounds or...

Read Post Empowering Mothers, Delivering Hope

(2) Comments | Posted March 21, 2012 | 2:00 AM

Banu and Komsie live on different continents, yet they share a daily struggle. Every morning, they collect water for their respective families. They don't turn on the faucet in their kitchen. Komsie walks for two hours to a dry riverbed, waits in line for two more hours and then starts...

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In Honor of World Toilet Day, "Let's Talk Sh*t"

(38) Comments | Posted November 19, 2011 | 8:00 AM

The global community faces so many seemingly intractable problems. Terrorism. The European financial crisis. Global warming. The list goes on. While we deploy the best and brightest, as well as trillions of dollars on these crises, we often disagree on the solutions -- and even on...

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Safe Water and a Toilet -- Is That Too Much to Ask... for 2.5 Billion People?

(632) Comments | Posted November 1, 2011 | 3:00 PM

By the time you finish reading this paragraph, one more child will have died from something that's been preventable for over a century. Nearly 40 percent of the world's population is still unable to secure a safe glass of water or access a basic toilet. While we continue to rally...

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