Gary White is an observer, an innovator, and a passionate problem-solver. He has created solutions that have empowered millions of people in need with access to safe water and sanitation.
Gary is the CEO and Co-founder of Water.org and WaterEquity, nonprofit organizations dedicated to empowering people in the developing world to gain access to safe water and sanitation. Gary developed Water.org’s WaterCredit Initiative, creating new financing options for poor populations to meet their water supply and sanitation needs. He also developed and now leads WaterEquity, the first-ever impact investment manager dedicated to ending the global water crisis in our lifetime, with an exclusive focus on raising and deploying capital to water and sanitation businesses that serve people living in poor communities throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Bringing 30 years of experience to work on solving the global water and sanitation crisis, Gary is a leading advisor in the water and sanitation space, counseling organizations such as the Skoll Foundation, Reckitt, PepsiCo Foundation, IKEA Foundation, Inditex, the World Economic Forum, and Bank of America on responses to the global water crisis. He is also a founding board member of the Millennium Water Alliance and Water Advocates.
Named to TIME magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people, Gary has been awarded the Forbes 400 Lifetime Achievement Award for Social Entrepreneurship, named to the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Water, and selected as Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur and a Skoll Foundation Social Entrepreneur.
Gary’s educational credentials include three degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Missouri University of Science & Technology.
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- Non-profit Social Enterprise
- Social Innovation; Water
- Areas of Impact
- North America, Africa, South Asia, South Asia, Middle East & North Africa, Uganda, Brazil, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ghana, Honduras, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Philippines, Peru, Indonesia, Tanzania
Water.org has successfully demonstrated that poor people can move from being beneficiaries to customers with the WaterCredit programme, which targets households with an income of $1.75 to $6 a day. Water.org underwrites the start-up costs incurred by microfinance institutions (MFIs) developing water and sanitation loan products, including loans for network connections (to utilities), rainwater harvesting tanks, pit latrines, bio-gas toilets, etc. Water.org also provides technical assistance to MFIs and small banks to start water and sanitation loan programmes. The average loan size is approximately $325 and rate of repayment has averaged 99% since 2003.
To date, Water.org has mobilized $722 million in capital, providing a multiplier effect of $35 for every $1 of philanthropy. Water.org's demand-driven approach and community management model have distinguished Water.org programmes from others, reaching more than 10 million people in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Brazil, Honduras, and Peru.
WaterEquity is the first-ever impact investment manager dedicated to ending the global water crisis, with an exclusive focus on raising and deploying capital to water and sanitation businesses throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America. Co-founded in 2017, WaterEquity combines decades of financial and in-market experience to provide investors with a unique opportunity to drive positive social and financial impact. Lack of financing is the biggest barrier to ending the global water crisis. WaterEquity builds the market between impact investors and water and sanitation businesses reaching underserved communities, unlocking the level of capital needed to match the scale of this crisis. By supporting the sustainable growth of water and sanitation businesses in emerging markets, WaterEquity is accelerating an end to the global water crisis for hundreds of millions of men, women and children.