Doc Hendley Headshot

Doc Hendley              

Musician; Founder and President of Wine to Water; CNN's Hero of the Year

In 2003 Doc Hendley dreamed up the concept of Wine To Water while bartending and playing music in nightclubs around Raleigh, North Carolina. In January of 2004 he held his first fundraiser and by August was living in Darfur, Sudan installing water systems for victims of the government-supported genocide.

When Hendley returned home in 2005, the haunting memories of what he had seen in Darfur drove him to continue growing the organization he had started only two years earlier. And in 2007, after working two jobs and volunteering his time for over three years, Wine To Water became an official 501 (c)(3) and Hendley's dream finally became a reality.

Hendley's work aims to help the 1.1 billion people worldwide who lack access to clean water, a figure estimated by the World Health Organization. Nearly two-thirds of that group lives in Asia. In sub-Saharan Africa, 42 percent of the population lives without yard taps, household connections or other improvements to sanitize water. Unclean water is the number one killer of children in the world. Water borne illnesses kill far more children than HIV/AIDS and Malaria combined. Every 15 seconds a child dies from unclean water.

Hendley was named one of the Top 10 CNN Heroes for 2009 (chosen by a panel of judges including Gen. Colin Powell, Whoopi Goldberg, Ted Turner and Sir Elton John). He is the author of Wine to Water: A Bartender's Quest to Bring Clean Water to the World.

He lives in Boone, North Carolina with his wife, Amber, and two sons, Justice and Beattie. Balancing family life and the demands of building Wine To Water, Doc Hendley continues to travel to underdeveloped, war-ridden nations, working in the field to bring clean water to those in need.

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Doc Hendley testimonial on Vimeo
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Doc Hendley on NBC-17 on Vimeo
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Doc Hendley on FOX8/WGHP on Vimeo
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CNN Hero: Doc Hendley
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Jeff, Turner Broadcasting System

"We had a great day with Doc. From my perspective, it could not have gone better. Our folks loved him."

NSA-Youth Convention / Anaheim CA

Doc connected with the audience like no other. His stories of the past, present, and future were a Grand Slam. My kids love him so much, and he motivated them so much to make a difference, on their own, they collected and donated enough money to buy five wells, walking around the lobby of the hotel, proving anyone, anywhere can make a difference. Now that is the power of the spoken word, that ignites action, and Doc was a master at sharing his stories, words we all understand. Thank you Doc, for the difference you make. -Manny Diotte

Orange County Public Schools Leadership Conference - Orlando, FL - June 2011

I would like to add something to my previous review. I booked Doc, Christine Cashen, Laura Caldwell, and the Corps Group all from for ONE EVENT. See Agency was like a one-stop shop for my speaker needs. I collaborated with See Agency to create a themed event where each speaker emphasized a different facet of leadership for our school administrators. This brought added value for our participants. Working with See Agency's speakers (and leadership team) saved me time and energy when creating a powerful, meaningful conference.

Orange County Public Schools Leadership Conference - Orlando, FL - June 2011

Doc is a wonderful, sincere, person who has made a tremendous difference in the world. He sees himself as average, yet he has saved thousands of lives by raising awareness of the world's plight of lack of clean drinking water. His powerful, moving story about how each of us has the power to make a difference in the world is one that will shake you to your foundation. Our audience of 300 school administrators was touched and inspired by this remarkable man. We were truly in the presence of greatness, wrapped in humilty and compassion. Thank you, Doc.

Watauga High School in Boone, NC April 20th 2011

Doc Hendley is an incredibly passionate speaker.
He spoke to at Watauga High School in Boone, North Carolina on April 20th about his story and his organization, Wine to Water.
Doc reached each person on a personal level with his shocking statistics about the water crisis coupled with his very real photos. This is something that most people know little about, but he did a great job of demonstrating its devastating effects on over 1 billion people worldwide. He was very relatable and down-to-earth, an average guy encouraging the youth to pursue their dreams. Doc, as always, was adamant that the youth should feel empowered and capable of doing anything—something that he didn’t always feel in school. He was very encouraging to the students, urging them to take action and fight against the water crisis alongside him.
I’ve heard Doc speak a few times before, but never had I seen him so confident, excited, and ready to inspire so many students. He kept the attention of each and every student throughout his entire speech, answered a lot of questions about himself and Wine to Water, and, in the end, received a standing ovation from the audience.
Doc has an amazing story and Wine to Water is a great organization that’s helping save lives. He was successful in spreading awareness about the water crisis to the youth in our area and helping them to realize that they can make a difference. Doc is compassionate, dedicated, humble, and inspirational—I wholeheartedly recommend him as a speaker.

SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT North American Managers Conference on March 8, 2011 at the Stone Mountain Marriott in Georgia.

There is one thing that rings true every time I get the pleasure of hearing Doc Hendley speak - his passion comes through and hits you like nothing you've ever experienced in your lifetime. It's not just the way he interacts with the audience, a sort of down home person that you seem to already know even though you don't, but it's the message about improving who we are as people each and every day, and helping those who have difficulty helping themselves because of places they live in or the circumstances of their country. Doc brings that message of hope and seems to naturally lift every person out of their comfort chair and into the wilds of Africa or the devastation in Haiti right alongside him. You feel everything that he feels and see everything that he saw. We are just enamored to be part of his world in a small way and hoping to work with him to better our world in a meaningful way.

March 30th Grand Rapids Michigan

So where do I start, first of all let me say it's a little daunting to write a review for Doc Hendley! "A bit above my paygrade" to judge such a person. I can tell you I've seen many many speakers over the years and Doc is one of my favorites; not only for what he has done but because he is so humble and truly just a regular guy. You could have heard a pin drop in a room full of people when Doc told us the story of his journey to found the organization Wine to Water. He somehow can make everyone in the room believe they are capable of anything. A true motivator and inspiration.

Dec 2010, PSAV Management Conference

What an honor it was to hear Doc speak at PSAV’s management conference. A truly inspirational story which puts everything into perspective.

My perception (rightly or wrongly) of most charitable organizations these days is that money is spent on the overhead of the operation and on short term fixes (e.g. bottled water) without putting due consideration into the long term solution. Your approach of starting with “hearts and minds” prior to offering long term solutions is one more agencies should model themselves on.

Thank you for sharing your story and touching our hearts and minds.

Sept. 2010 U.S. Chamber BCLC Global Conference #globalcsrconf

His story is amazing and inspirational, yet a tad frightening at the beginning(Darfur!). His use of imagery really brings his spoken story to life for his audience. What a humble and genuine man -- for someone who has experienced and accomplished so much in the humanitarian field, his modesty is remarkable. In a room of hundreds of corporate executives and government and NGO officials, he easily captivated attention because his commitment to the cause is real, his passion is clear, and his speaker presence is engaging. It was a pleasure to get to talk to him more during the event reception, where Wine to Water wine was served.

BCLC Corporate Citizenship Conference - Sept 2010

Thank you for a dyamic and inspiring talk, Doc, and especially for your work bringing clean water to people who desperately need it. It's great to see America so well represented in the world.

TEDxCharlotte 2010

Doc Hendley is a CAPTIVATING speaker! He was part of a lineup of 16 other presenters at our conference and Doc has received a mountain of attention, compliment and favor from our attendees--one of the favorites by leaps and bounds. He is a total professional and just such a nice guy--charming and humble at the same time. He talked with our guests at the breaks and was completely open to suggestion leading up to and through our event. His talk is incredibly moving and he kept the audience captivated from the moment he took the stage. He has earned his title of Hero. Exrtaordinary, indeed!
--Candice Langston, Steering Committee Chair, TEDxCharlotte 2010

TEDxAsheville, Asheville, NC

Doc Hendley raised the roof at TEDxAsheville on August 29. In a forum focusing on world (and self) changing ideas, Doc's inspiration was contagious. I heard time and again from individuals shifting their midsets about their own potentials because of Doc's humility and passion. His definitive message that even the most "extraordinarily regular" among us has the power within themselves to make a difference offered a new brand of possibilities to many of the nearly 500 people at our conference. He is an asset to the world, and a role model for everyone.

Student Impact

Doc did a great job on Sunday! It was awesome having him here!

Public Event

Doc Hendley is setting a compelling example of the value of hard work and a vision to help others. He has taken a common place object and used it to mobilize communities in America to help suffering communities around the world. He is truly an exceptional North Carolinian and I want to praise him for his dedication to serving needy and suffering people. He has taken personal risks to do the hard work of providing water and clean water education in far flung locations around the globe.

Public Event

Doc Hendley is the epitome of the individual who has made a difference. He never planned to do this but when he saw a need, he saw that he had a talent to actually direct efforts at improving that need. As a result literally tens of thousands of people around the world now have clean drinking water they did not have before Doc Hendley came along. I am honored quite frankly to have Doc Hendley graduate as a graduate of NC State.

Brilliant Lecture Series

Doc is a fantastic person in every way. His humility and dedication to making the world a better place is contagious for children and adults. His colorful and human stories of Africa and his work kept these youngsters captivated. I enthusiastically recommend him.” - , Founding Director,

Corporate Event

“Doc was not only charming and modest, he is one of the most inspiring speakers I have ever heard. He takes you on an emotional journey to communities whose living conditions are unimaginable to most of us, and his ability share his vision, his passion, his commitment and his excitement for his global mission has ignited a flame of passion in our membership as well. We have had the pleasure of Doc's company at all of our events since that one last winter, and we have united behind him and his efforts to make a difference in the world. We are better people as the result of knowing Doc... We think Doc is indeed a "HERO"!” -

Speech Topics

Digging for Hope: Turning Wine to Water & Other Modern Day Miracles

Doc Hendley gives a motivational and inspiring presentation on relationships called “Digging for Hope: Turning Wine to Water & Other Modern Day Miracles.” His presentations are customized to individual events. In each talk he: teaches us to do what we can with what we have; illustrates the immense power of relationships to transcend perceived barriers; and proves the power of one to transform the impossible into the inevitable.

Hell or High Water: How One Man Turned Wine into Water & Transformed Customers into Crusaders


Former bartender turns wine into water -

Doc Hendley's nonprofit, Wine to Water, has helped provide clean water to more than 150000 people in 15 countries.

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CNN Hero Doc Hendley provides clean water to people in 16 countries. "Wine to Water" airs December 15 and 22 on CNN. Video video ... Supports Wine to Water's Doc Hendley on CNN is a proud partner of Doc Hendley's non-profit organization Wine to Water. Its founder, Doc Hendley will be featured in “Wine to Water: A CNN ...

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This issue touched the heart of 2009 CNN Hero Doc Hendley, who makes it his mission to save lives by providing clean water to more than 250,000 people in ...

Picture - All Star Tribute, Amber Hendley and Doc Hendley | Photo ...

A picture of All Star Tribute, Amber Hendley and Doc Hendley - 2013 CNN Heroes: An All Star Tribute - Contactmusic photo 3962366.

Doc Hendley: The Bartender Who Turns Wine To Water « Jack ...

Doc Hendley is the founder and president of Wine To Water. In 2003 he dreamed up the concept of the organization while bartending and playing music in ...

'I saw hope in their eyes': Heroes team up for typhoon relief -

So he reached halfway around the world to Doc Hendley, a North Carolina clean- water activist who had also been honored as a top 10 CNN Hero in 2009.

N.C. man creates Wine to Water to help those in need

Doc Hendley founded the nonprofit organization Wine to Water and wrote a book of the same name. Last month, he spoke to an auditorium filled to capacity at ...

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