When Do You Abandon a Course of Action
White is executive director and co-founder of Water.org. 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 Water.org.) 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 Water.org 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 Water.org’s response represents the most cost-effective and sustainable way to help people meet their own water supply needs.
M. S., Environmental Engineering with emphasis on water supply and sanitation in developing countries, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
M. S., Civil Engineering, University of Missouri-Rolla
B. S., Civil Engineering, Minor in Communications, University of Missouri-Rolla