Ever since co-founding the global nonprofit organization Water.org in 2009, Hollywood movie star Matt Damon has made it his mission to bring safe, cost-effective drinking water and sanitation to developing countries. Today, Water.org announces a new partnership with Crypto.com to raise funds and awareness for their ongoing humanitarian efforts.
Founded in 2016, Crypto.com is the fastest growing cryptocurrency platform in the world. With this new partnership, the global leader has decided to make a $1 million dollar donation to Water.org, as well as launch initiatives to encourage its more than 10 million Crypto.com users to get involved in making a difference in the lives of others.
“First of all, the donation is obviously huge and we’ll put that money right to work,” Damon tells me exclusively at Forbes. “When Crypto approached me about collaborating with them, I immediately saw the parallels to what we do at Water.org because our work is built on financial solutions. You get this up-and-coming company that has a social conscience and is just all in with what we’re doing and they see alignment with the aspect of helping people solve their problems. We’re excited about the partnership.”
Over the past 12 years since the formation of Water.org, Damon, his co-founder Gary White, and their team have strived to end the global water crisis and have already made extraordinary strides.
“By 2012, we hit our first million [people with clean water] and to give you an idea of how we are scaling, we’re at almost 40 million now, so the work is really accelerating and what it speaks to is the idea that there’s this incredible amount of demand. In fact, independent research has cited that there are 500 to 700 million people who could be reached just with this solution alone, which we call water credit which is all about micro-loaning. Crypto gave us this great donation, which is amazing. The money that I make for the commercials to promote them, I give 100% of that to Water.org as well. So, it’s millions of dollars coming in to us. The thing that we really are proud of with what we’re doing and where it relates to Crypto.com is the self-determination piece, because it’s about giving people more power. It’s about just creating an environment where people can help themselves.”
While people in many parts of the world have never had to question their access to clean drinking water, there remains large sections of the world that continue to have limited to no access to quality water systems, something Damon and his Water.org team are working to change. So, I asked Damon what should people like myself in developed countries understand more about the global water crisis, and what can we do in our everyday lives to help make an impactful difference.
“That’s a great question. That is like the central issue for us and one of the biggest problems we have with messaging is that it’s really hard to relate to if you come from the West. I’ve never been more than 20 steps away from a fresh drink of water and neither have you and neither has anybody. We all have credible plumbing. We’ve got a kitchen sink, we’ve got a bathroom sink, the water in our toilets is cleaner than a billion people have access to. So, the first hurdle for us to clear is to just try to help people like us who grew up in our culture and the way we are to kind of understand the magnitude of the problem and then for us, it’s we direct them towards Water.org to hopefully get engaged and start learning about it and start to see that even a small donation can really go a long way. You might not think that a $5 donation is much, but it’s incredibly meaningful to the person whose life you’re changing.”
While setbacks from Covid-19 continue to occur all across the world for all of us in our own ways, the developing regions that Water.org is working to bring life-saving resources to are seeing some of the most damaging effects from this ongoing pandemic.
“We got hit with Covid like everybody else,” Damon continues. “Think about the first thing they said when the Covid reality dawned on all of us. It was wash your hands, right? We took for granted that we had access to safe water to wash our hands with. I mean, for a billion people, that’s not the case. Then you add to that the gathering of water, which they have to go and stand and gather at a collection point. That’s putting their health at risk. So yeah, it was a very big disrupter for us and continues to be.”
Damon also realizes that the Covid-19 pandemic and the global water crisis are not the only factors in play right now that are directly affecting the future of Water.org’s effectiveness in bringing safe water to people and places in need.
“Climate change is a big issue for us because it threatens to undo a lot of the work that we’ve done and it really threatens water security for everybody, but the poorest people on Earth are going to be the communities that get hit the worst and get hit first. That’s a big concern for us.”
Damon goes on to say that he credits his mother Nancy for his initial interest in helping others and understanding the world better, calling his travels with her as a young boy in the late 1980s a gift and the best thing she could have done. During their early visits to developing countries was when Damon first witnessed the disastrous effects that poverty and an inaccessibility to clean drinking water can have on a community.
Damon has recently followed in his mother’s compassionate footsteps by introducing his own children to his mission of providing his fellow man with the necessary tools to be able to lead their own productive and healthy lives. As I wrapped up our conversation, I asked Damon how is he able to balance his commitments to Water.org, his consistent Hollywood projects, and his home life priorities, all at the same time.
“Those are the three things that I really spend my life doing. These parts of my life kind of all fold into each other. My kids are old enough now that I can take them on, if I’m going on a trip for Water.org. I brought my 15-year-old to the Philippines, I brought my oldest daughter to Indonesia, and to start to introduce them to the work we’re doing and give them some context to the kind of world they live in and where their place is in the world. I’m happy to spend time with all three of those things, between Water.org, between my day job, and my family. That’s a full life.”
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