Gary White Named Skoll Social Entrepreneur

March 16, 2009

The award is presented by the Skoll Foundation to recognize the most innovative and sustainable approaches to resolving the world's most urgent social issues. The Skoll Foundation was created by eBay's first president, Jeff Skoll. White joins a prestigious global network of Skoll entrepreneurs, now numbering 72 and representing 59 organizations, who are working around the world on issues including tolerance and human rights, health, economic and social equity, peace and security, institutional responsibility, and environmental sustainability.

White will be presented the award by Skoll Foundation Chairman Jeff Skoll, Skoll Foundation President and CEO Sally Osberg, and special guest 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. R. K. Pachauri, at a ceremony on March 26 at the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Oxford in England. White will be participating in the three-day World Forum along with over 700 attendees from the global social entrepreneurship community.

"In these tough times, it's particularly important to recognize those exemplary organizations that tackle the world's most pressing social and economic challenges and deliver real change," said Sally Osberg, president and CEO of the Skoll Foundation. "We're pleased to welcome Gary White to the community of Skoll social entrepreneurs. WaterPartners International is supporting systemic change in the area of access to clean water and proper sanitation. Its innovative approach will bring great new ideas and new points of leverage into the ecosystem of Skoll social entrepreneurs working around the globe to create a world in which we all want to live."

"I'm honored that WaterPartners has received this award from the Skoll Foundation and excited to see its impact on the people we serve," said White. "Access to affordable credit, which is the goal of our WaterCredit Initiative, will empower millions of people to obtain safe water and sanitation. In order to meet the needs of the nearly one billion people currently living without access to safe water and 2.6 billion without sanitation, we must affect large-scale, system change - access to affordable credit is one of the best ways to do this."

Nearly two decades ago, White co-founded the U.S.-based nonprofit organization WaterPartners to address the global water crisis in a new, sustainable way. Since that time, WaterPartners' innovations in programs and financing have led the way in tackling the global water crisis. WaterPartners' WaterCredit Initiative catalyzes small loans to individuals and communities who otherwise do not have access to credit for water and sanitation purposes. Currently, WaterCredit is offered in India, Bangladesh, Kenya and Ghana. Last year alone, WaterPartners' WaterCredit and grant programs empowered more than 142,000 people in Africa, South Asia and Latin America to achieve access to clean water and sanitation.