As a child, before he was a movie star, before he won an Academy award, and before he was one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood, Matt Damon was deeply affected by the extreme poverty he witnessed with his mother on trips to Guatemala.
Now with the power of name recognition, he has started a non-profit called Water.org, a microfinance initiative that he started with co-founder Gary White. The organization helps provide drinking water and basic sanitation to communities in Africa, South Asia and Central America.
Worldwide there are nearly a billion people who don't have access to water and about 2.5 billion without basic sanitation. Half of the worlds hospital beds are filled with people suffering from water related disease, which kills over 3-million people every year.
Damon was inspired to start Water.org on a mile long walk with a young girl in Zambia while she collected water for her family. It's a walk many young girls take every day; about 200 million hours a day are spent by young girls and women around the world collecting in water for their families.
The girl told him that she dreams of moving to the big city when she grows up to become a nurse, a dream Damon could relate to. "I remembered that feeling of Ben Affleck and I saying we're going to go to the big city, we're going to New York, and we're going to be actors. And we were that age, and I remembered how wonderful that was."