(Bloomberg News) When Matt Damon gets thirsty on a movie set, he has a drinking container aligned with his philanthropic mission.
"I have my Water.org bottle. It's silver, with our little logo," Damon said in an interview at Bloomberg News world headquarters in New York.
Damon co-founded Water.org -- based in Kansas City, Missouri -- in 2009 with Gary White, who serves as the nonprofit's chief executive. White, an engineer, had 20 years of experience working on the issue. Their goal is "access to clean water and sanitation for everyone on earth in our lifetime," Damon said.
At next year's Clinton Global Initiative's annual conference, Damon and White plan to announce that they have made good on a 2009 pledge to bring clean water and sanitation to 50,000 people in Haiti.
"I talked to a little girl in Haiti when we were down there earlier in the year," Damon said, describing a village project that spared the 13-year-old from hauling water. "In the found time when she wasn't going to go to collect water, she was actually going to have time to play."
According to the Water.org website, "every 20 seconds, a child dies from a water-related illness."
One of the chief components of Damon's organization is WaterCredit, which provides microloans to help people obtain access to water.
"The conventional wisdom is that all poor people are too poor to pay for water services," White said sitting alongside Damon in the interview. "We see the poor as potential customers who have intrinsic power. A microloan gives a water connection so they don't have to go to a loan shark."
"The management consulting firm that we've worked with has estimated that there are 100 million people that can be reached by this by 2020." Damon said. "That's incredible when you're talking 700 million to 800 million people that don't have access to water."