A Charity Accepts Uber Stock as Donations. Then Uses It to Pay Staff Bonuses.

Ryan Graves, a former chief executive of Uber, whose stake in the company is estimated to be worth as much as $1.6 billion and who has pledged at least 1 percent of it to Charity: water, went on a trip to Ethiopia this year.

“It gives you the chills and makes you feel great,” Mr. Graves said of the experience.

Miguel McKelvey, a co-founder of WeWork, whose stake in his company is worth an estimated $2.9 billion and who has also pledged at least 1 percent to Charity:water, traveled to Ethiopia with the group in 2017.

“There’s nothing like seeing in real life what it’s like to bring water to a real community,” he said. Without a Charity: water well, Mr. McKelvey said, “literally a cow is peeing in the water and they are picking it up and going to cook with it.”

“We all felt an obligation to help,” he said.

For those with the means to donate at scale, the trips can also serve as networking events. Mr. McKelvey met another entrepreneur, Dan Teran, on his trip. Recently, WeWork acquired Mr. Teran’s company, Managed by Q.

“It puts your life in so much perspective,” said Mr. Parikh of Casper, who went on a trip this year. “I can walk down to Union Square and get a smoothie anytime I want to.”

After the idea-sparking lunch with Mr. Parikh and after working with HSBC to figure out how to accept private company stock, Mr. Harrison began approaching his friends with the ask.

Already, start-up equity currently worth more than $50 million has been pledged to Charity: water. Besides the men from Uber, WeWork and Casper, donors include Heather Hartnett of Human Ventures and Courtney Nichols Gould, a founder of SmartyPants, a vitamin company.