50 Non-Profit Organisations That Educate People In Need

Post by Open Colleges on pril 16th, 2013

Education is the backbone of a successful society. Every human being should have the right, privilege, and opportunity to get the best education possible. Unfortunately in our world, this is often not a reality for many impoverished people groups. Education falls by the wayside as people groups struggle to find food, shelter, and healthcare. Changing the social infrastructure is an enormous endeavor requiring manpower, money, and agreement among opposite ends of the political spectrum.

Thankfully, we don’t have to wait until all that is straightened out to make a difference. Right now, there are hundreds of opportunities born out of non-profit organizations whose mission it is to target the less fortunate. Here is a list of 50 non-profits you should know about.

Roll up your sleeves and be a part of the change this world needs.


Founders: Achieve was founded in 1996 and is run by a board of governors and business leaders.

Targeted People: They provide technical assistance to states and their curriculum development.

Mission and Goal: Central to Achieve’s work is the ability to convene leaders from across states to come together to share their experiences and tackle common challenges.

Current Projects: Achieve is the founder of the Future Ready Project- an advocacy resource center for state and local college-readiness programs.

Corazones Para Peru

Founders: Hearts for a New World is based in Konigstein Germany and founded in 1998.

Targeted People: Children in the Peruvian Andes Chicon Valley.

Mission and Goal: Improve the living conditions in rural populations.

Current Projects: Building children’s home, school networks, dormitories, day care, a social business center, and health center.

4th World Love

Founders: Misty Tosh and Lisa Colangelo.

Targeted People: Remote villages that aren’t considered “3rd” world but need support and guidance to grow and better their communities.

Mission and Goal: Community empowerment through grassroots projects in distant lands.

Current Projects: Building village water tanks in Sembalum.

The General History Project

Founders: Laura Lee P. Huttenbach is the founder and director. The organization started in 2009.

Targeted People: TGHP targets African people groups in danger of losing their passed down oral history as the older members of the community begin to die off and current missions organizations are setting up a more “Classroom” like structure.

Mission and Goal: Record life stories of the aging community leaders in African villages.

Current Projects: Writing the General’s biography, a tea farmer in Kenya. The book will spread awareness about the mission and fund future projects.

Grameen Foundation

Founders: A Board of Directors with headquarters in Washington DC, partners with other non-profits and volunteers around the globe.

Targeted People: Poor communities in Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

Mission and Goal: Enable the poor to create a world without poverty.

Current Projects: Through financial programs, Grameen Foundation gives people the funds to start up businesses, make sound financial decisions, and grow their profits. In 15 years, 9.4 million people have been impacted.

PIE (Policy Innovators in Education) Network

Founders: Suzanne Tacheny Kubach, PhD, and Executive Director.

Targeted People: PIE targets policy makers, educators, and students.

Mission and Goal: The mission of the Network is to build, support and promote a network of education advocacy organizations working to improve K-12 education in their states so that every student graduates world-ready.

Current Projects: Ongoing work with policy makers and educators.

RSF Dhaka Project

Founders: Emirates Flight attendant Maria Conceicao started the RSF Dhaka Project in April 2005.

Targeted People: The Dhaka Project helps impoverished children in the slums of Korail, Banani, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Mission and Goal: Through education, the project hopes to empower the children by providing free education and other basic resources. Currently, 424 children have been transformed in some way.

Current Projects: Four programs are currently underway to help the children adjust to modern society. The focus areas are education, food, medical, and awareness.


Founders: Leah Shulman is a designer, artist and teacher. Noah Edelblum is a painter, photographer, and business consultant.

Targeted People: Youth of all backgrounds and economic statuses.

Mission and Goal: Through the use of art, technology, and education, the goal of CloudHead is to teach self-expression through the arts.

Current Projects: Adobe Youth Voices is a program that provides software, training, and support for youth to incorporate art into their community. Wichi/H20 is a program that took used digital cameras and brought them to the indigenous children in Argentina to take photos. Juvenile Detention is an art and photography workshop taken to the children who are serving time in a detention center.

Child Empowerment International

Founders: Adam and Janet Salmon are husband and wife, and have been working in the field since 1998.

Targeted People: Their work focuses on the children in Sri Lanka.

Mission and Goal: Child Empowerment International creates a future for marginalized children in regions of civil unrest. It is a non-profit organization that provides schooling and care for over 6800 orphans.

Current Projects: People interested in partnering with CEI can volunteer to participate on the field, apply for an internship, or sponsor a child.

Boma Project

Founders: Kathleen Colson started the Boma Project in 2005 in Africa.

Targeted People: BOMA works in primarily in Northern Kenya where the people groups are impoverished and lack critical infrastructure.

Mission and Goal: Sustainable income and long-term solutions are only possible when the locals themselves are able to initiate change. Boma aims to help the community develop programs and strategies to fight poverty.

Current Projects: The REAP program provides impoverished women with business training and funds to start up small businesses that in turn support and feed their families.

Acrobat of the Road

Founders: Juan Villarino has been traveling the world as a nomad since 2005.

Targeted People: Acrobat of the Road doesn’t target one people group specifically, but currently Juan and his wife Laura are on a backpacking trip from Antarctica to Greenland.

Mission and Goal: Document and record world hospitality in hopes to promote peace and awareness between cultures and people groups.

Current Projects: As Juan hitchhikes through the world, he brings his photos and experiences to educational programs that are teaching empathy and intercultural understanding.

WALU International

Founders: Zack Parker, an avid surfer, traveled to Lido, Papua New Guinea in November of 2007 looking for the perfect wave. Instead, he embarked on a lifelong mission to help the residents who warmly welcomed him.

Targeted People: Coastal communities in Papa New Guinea.

Mission and Goal: To provide water and sanitary living conditions in the coastal areas of Papa New Guinea.

Current Projects: Using the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach, WALU empowers the locals to identify and fix their own sanitary problems.

Khan Academy

Founders: Sal, a graduate from MIT and Harvard with several degrees, runs the company with a small team of individuals.

Targeted People: The Khan Academy is about free education for the world. They have no specific demographic target, although the poor are able to benefit most from this type of educational model.

Mission and Goal: To build a global classroom filled with students who are getting a free world-class education.

Current Projects: there are over 4000 videos to choose from and cover subjects like math, science, and humanities.

The Hunger Project

Founders: A board of directors and leadership team runs this organization that has been around since 1977.

Targeted People: The Hunger Project services impoverished people groups in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Their focus is on women.

Mission and Goal: To end world hunger by empowering women to provide sustainable strategies to feed and help their families.

Current Projects: The Hunger Project is currently running community centers for basic needs, fostering government accountability, and partnering with media to reach women interested in running small businesses.

Mercy Corps

Founders: This organization began in 1979 and largely employs locals as the directors of various programs and initiatives.

Targeted People: Mercy Corps targets areas affected by war and political unrest. They have worked in over 20 countries across all the continents.

Mission and Goal: The goal of Mercy Corps is to build secure, just, and productive communities through local programs that alleviate poverty.

Current Projects: Currently, Mercy Corps is rebuilding a water system in Goma Africa, where a volcano destroyed the infrastructure.


Founders: Justin King is the owner and founder.

Targeted People: Tilapiana’s work is targeted to fisheries and farmers all over the world.

Mission and Goal: Provide solutions to fishermen who are losing their livelihood because of the declining resources.

Current Projects: Tilapiana gives locals a “business in a box” so they can set up a tilapia fish farm and make a living with a sustainable earth-friendly fish farm.

New Futures Organization

Founders: The organization is run by a group of local Cambodians who in some cases, donate all their time for free.

Targeted People: Their targeted demographic are impoverished children in Cambodia who cannot get an education.

Mission and Goal: Helping vulnerable and orphaned children receive adequate care, love, and education so they can grow up to lead productive and meaningful lives.

Current Projects: Today, New Futures Organization runs several community schools, English classes for local police, plus a children’s home and vocational training facilities.

One Laptop

Founders: Nicolas Negroponte is the current chairman of the One Laptop per Child organization.

Targeted People: Impoverished and uneducated children all over the world..

Mission and Goal: The one laptop program’s goal is to give every child a low-cost, rugged laptop that will give him/her the tools to get educated and connected with others around the world.

Current Projects: Since 2005, the OLPC has delivered over 2.5 million laptops around the world. Their project in Ethiopia (tablets delivered to a remote village with no teacher and no instruction) was very successful and is changing the way we think people learn.

Room to Read

Founders: Mr. Dinesh Shrestha is a cofounder of Room to Read and oversees directors in several countries. Room to Read started in 2000 in Nepal and has spread throughout Asia.

Targeted People: Room to Read targets children who don’t have access to education or literacy resources.

Mission and Goal: By 2015, Room to Read hopes to have reached 10 million children. Their two goals center on literacy and gender equality in education.

Current Projects: Room to Read partners with other agencies to help build libraries, train educators, publishing books, and building classrooms.

The School Fund

Founders: Matt Severson’s trip to Tanzania in 2007 changed his life forever. As a founding member, he realized just how powerful an education can be.

Targeted People: The School Fund targets young adults hoping to get a post-secondary education.

Mission and Goal: The School Fund wants to build a world where anyone can get an education, and schools have the resources to reach any student eager to learn.

Current Projects: Their process includes screening students who need funding, looking for schools that are under-equipped and understaffed, and to help students create networks of support.

Shared Interest

Founders: Mark Hayes was the founding investment manager in 1990. The organization is an ethical investment co-operative and the world’s only 100% fair trade lender.

Targeted People: Shared Interest reaches out to small enterprises in poor nations, knowing that the success of these small businesses is an effective way to fight poverty.

Mission and Goal: The mission of Shared Interest is to provide business support and resources to developing nations.

Current Projects: Account holders invest money and the funds are pooled and used to provide low-interest loans and services to new start up businesses in the 3rd world. Currently, Swaziland is the primary focus of Shared Interest, as it has the highest HIV/AIDS nation in the world.

Sustainable Bolivia

Founders: Erik Taylor is the current executive director and founder of Sustainable Bolivia.

Targeted People: Current resources are focused in on the Andean Highlands in the country of Bolivia.

Mission and Goal: The goal of Sustainable Bolivia is to provide economic sustainability and educational opportunities in the country.

Current Projects: Currently, they are running a language school, along with grant and scholarship programs.

What Took You So Long?

Founders: What Took You So Long are a team of filmmakers led by director Alicia Sully roam the world, looking for untold stories to document.

Targeted People: The team looks for stories in remote areas. To date, they have filmed and lived in over 60 countries.

Mission and Goal: The method of “guerrilla” filmmaking includes living in the community and encouraging locals to participate in the project. They are storytellers.

Current Projects: They are currently using video, social media, training, and other avenues like TED talks to tell stories of unsung heroes.

WhizKids Workshop

Founders: Started in 2005, Shane Etzenhouser and Bruktawit began this small organization in their living room.

Targeted People: Currently the WhizKids Workshop is focused on children in Ethiopia.

Mission and Goal: The mission of WhizKids is to make educational materials fun and engaging, as well as easily distributed on a mass scale to children all over the world.

Current Projects: Tsehai Loves Learning is an award-winning television series for preschool children. In addition to TV, they provide training as well.

The Annenberg Institute for School Reform

Founders: Its first director was Dr. Theodore R. Sizer.

Targeted People: Their focus is on other educational organizations and underserved communities in need of educational resources.

Mission and Goal: The Annenberg Institute’s mission is to develop, share, and act on knowledge that improves the conditions and outcomes of schooling in America, especially in urban communities and in schools serving disadvantaged children.

Current Projects: Educators, researchers, and parents work on numerous projects that promote learning, develop leaders, and facilitate opportunities in all levels of education.

College Summit

Founders: J.B. Schramm, Derek Canty and Keith Frome founded College Summit in 1993 while overseeing a teen center in the basement of a low-income housing project in Washington, D.C.

Targeted People: College Summit targets youth in low-income communities.

Mission and Goal: College Summit’s mission is to increase the college enrollment rates of youth from low-income communities.

Current Projects: Multiple projects are ongoing and include providing high schools with postsecondary planning courses, professional development for educators, and providing summer workshops for high school students

Citizen Schools

Founders: Citizen Schools was founded by Eric Schwarz, Ned Rimer, and Sanjeev Verma.

Targeted People: They target low income middle school students.

Mission and Goal: Citizen Schools has been re-imagining the learning day to bring more time, more talented adults, and more relevant learning experiences to middle-school students in low-income neighborhoods.

Current Projects: Multiple projects partnering with middle schools around the US.

Education Sector

Founders: Kristen Amundson is the Senior Vice President for External Relations and John Chubb is the Interim CEO.

Targeted People: This independent think tank works to change educational policy through engagement with policy makers and policy influencers.

Mission and Goal: The mission of Education Sector is to promote changes in policy and practice that lead to improved student opportunities and outcomes.

Current Projects: Multiple projects targeting K-12 and higher education policy change to promote improved and innovative learning.

The Posse Foundation

Founders: Deborah Bial, Ed.D. is the President and Founder.

Targeted People: Students in high school through college.

Mission and Goal: To ensure that a diverse pool of students have access to higher education institutions with welcoming environments and continue through graduation.

Current Projects: “The Posse Program”, a unique program developed by the Posse foundation. They also have ongoing events that can be found on their website.

AERA, American Education Research Association

Founders: Felice J. Levine Ph.D. is the Executive Director.

Targeted People: AERA targets policy makers, educators, and students.

Mission and Goal: AERA strives to advance knowledge about education, to encourage scholarly inquiry related to education, and to promote the use of research to improve education and serve the public good.

Current Projects: Their focus is on communication and outreach, education research & policy, and professional development.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Founders: Jim Casey and his siblings George, Harry and Marguerite. They named the foundation after their mother. Annie Casey was a widow and raised her children alone.

Targeted People: Providing grants to cities, states, and neighborhoods.

Mission and Goal: The primary mission of the Annie E. Casey Foundation is to foster public policies, human-service reforms and community supports that more effectively meet the needs of today’s vulnerable children and families.

Current Projects: Multiple initiatives that provide education opportunities and assistance to organizations, families, and former foster care children.

Center for American Progress

Founders: Joe Podesta, former White House chief of staff to William J. Clinton.

Targeted People: They target policy makers, college students, and educators.

Mission and Goal: The Center for American Progress is an independent nonpartisan educational institute dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action.

Current Projects: Multiple initiatives around the globe including “Campus Progress” and the “Enough Project”, which fights crimes against humanity.

CTQ, Center for Teaching Quality

Founders: Barnett Berry is the founder and a former high school teacher and social scientist.

Targeted People: CTQ targets policymakers, administrators, union leaders, and teachers.

Mission and Goal: To connect, ready, and mobilize teacher leaders to transform our schools.

Current Projects: Collaboratory, an idea-sharing platform for teachers, ongoing webinar series on topics such as, school redesign, text complexity and selection, and writing.

Teach for America

Founders: Matthew Kramer is the current CEO and oversees a large board of directors and administrative officers.

Targeted People: Teach for America recruits energetic and intelligent adults to be educators in areas of economic difficulty.

Mission and Goal: The goal is to give impoverished children excellent education. Their mission also focuses on supporting leaders and educators in the field.

Current Projects: There are programs all over the United States that not only focus on teaching, but on policy making and long-term educational changes in the United States.

Blue Engine (dot) org

Founders: Founded in 2009 by a former Teach forAmericaa teacher Nick Ehrmann.

Targeted People: Blue Engine targets students in low-income areas.

Mission and Goal: Blue Engine partners with public high schools to prepare dramatically greater numbers of low-income students for postsecondary success.

Current Projects: Blue Engine has 3 schools with 44 classrooms and servicing over 700 students. Their program covers four components: small group instruction, data and assessment, social cognitive curriculum, and extended learning time.

Teach Plus

Founders: Teach Plus began in 2007 in Cambridge Mass with 16 teachers.

Targeted People: Teach Plus targets new teachers and urban students.

Mission and Goal: Improve outcomes for urban children by ensuring that a greater proportion of students have access to effective, experienced teachers.

Current Projects: They currently have three programs: The Teaching Policy Fellows, the T+ network for teachers, and Turnaround Teacher Teams (called T3).

BellWeather Education Partners

Founders: Founded by Andrew Rotherham and Monisha Lozier. They oversee a team of educators.

Targeted People: BellWeather works with start up education initiatives that need to go beyond the structure of their initial organization.

Mission and Goal: They provide resources, business strategies, and consulting to non-profit educations that need a broader infrastructure to further their mission and goals.

Current Projects: They currently work with over 50 organizations including well-known names like Sesame Street, Teach Plus, and MATCH Teacher Training.

Achievement First: Public Charter Schools

Founders: Achievement First was born after the Amistad Academy proved that urban students could outperform on standardized tests like the CMTs. In 2003, they became a non-profit organize to further the practices of Amistad into other schools.

Targeted People: Achievement First works with charter schools in low-income urban areas.

Mission and Goal: The mission of Achievement First is to deliver on the promise of equal educational opportunity for all of America’s children.

Current Projects: They have charter schools in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York.

Uncommon Schools

Founders: Norman Atkins is the founder and board chair of this organization that started in 2005.

Targeted People: They work with teachers and students in urban low-income areas.

Mission and Goal: Uncommon Schools starts and manages outstanding urban charter public schools that close the achievement gap and prepare low-income students to graduate from college.

Current Projects: They have a network of 32 charter schools in the Northeast that provide management, support, fundraising, and training.

New Teacher Center

Founders: Norman Atkins is the founder and board chair of this organization that started in 2005.

Targeted People: NTC works with schools districts, state policymakers, and educators across the country.

Mission and Goal: New Teacher Center (NTC) is a national non-profit dedicated to improving student learning by accelerating the effectiveness of new teachers and school leaders.

Current Projects: Their most well-known project is the New Teacher Induction program that focuses on teacher effectiveness.

The Broad Foundations

Founders: Entrepreneur Eli Broad runs this organization with assets numbering at 2.1 billion dollars.

Targeted People: NTC works with schools districts, state policymakers, and educators across the country.

Mission and Goal: The goal of the Broad Foundations is to transform education, foster appreciation for contemporary art, advancing scientific research, and contributing to civic projects in the L.A. area.

Current Projects: The Broad Foundation is currently leading stem cell research initiatives and opening a new art center in LA in 2014.

New Leaders

Founders: New leaders was founded in 2000 by a team of social entrepreneurs.

Targeted People: They provide technical assistance to states and their curriculum development.

Mission and Goal: The mission of New Leaders is to ensure high academic achievement for all children, especially students in poverty and students of color, by developing transformational school leaders and advancing the policies and practices that allow great leaders to succeed.

Current Projects: New Leaders oversees the Emerging Leaders Program-turning educators into transformational school leaders.

New Schools Venture Fund

Founders: Ted Mitchell is known as an education “disruptor” and the current president and CEO.

Targeted People: They invest in both nonprofit and for-profit organizations that are working to improve public education in a variety of ways.

Mission and Goal: The mission of New Schools is to transform public education through powerful ideas and passionate entrepreneurs so that all children – especially those in underserved communities – have the opportunity to succeed.

Current Projects: Invested in over 70 programs including TEAM Charter Schools, Unlocking Potential, Focus, and Core Spring.

Harlem Children’s Zone

Founders: The organization began 1970 as Rheedlen, working with young children and their families as the city’s first truancy-prevention program.

Targeted People: The Children’s Zone serves more than 8,000 children and 6,000 adults. Overall, the organization serves more than 10,000 children and more than 7,400 adults.

Mission and Goal: HCZ offers education, social-service and community-building programs to children and families.

Current Projects: The Harlem Children’s Zone is partnered with Promise Academy Charter Schools to impact and improve childhood education.

The Education Trust

Founders: Kati Haycock is the president and a leading advocate in the field of education.

Targeted People: The Education Trust targets schools and teachers to promote funding fairness, accountability for struggling schools, and quality curriculum.

Mission and Goal: The goal of TET is to close the gaps in opportunity and achievement that consign far too many young people—especially those from low-income families or who are black, Latino, or American Indian—to lives on the margins of the American mainstream.

Current Projects: The Education Trust is currently promoting policy that will make college education more affordable.

TNTP: Reimagine Teaching

Founders: TNTP was founded in 1997 by a group of teachers.

Targeted People: Educators are the primary demographic targeted by TNTP.

Mission and Goal: TNTP works with schools, districts and states to provide excellent teachers to the students who need them most and advance policies and practices that ensure effective teaching in every classroom.

Current Projects: TNTP is focused on improving policy, developing ideas and innovation, and training great teachers.


Founders: Founders Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin began KIPP in 1994.

Targeted People: Low-income students and communities.

Mission and Goal: Create classrooms that help children develop the knowledge, skills, character, and habits necessary to succeed in college and build a better tomorrow for their communities.

Current Projects: KIPP is a national network of 125 KIPP public schools in 20 states and the District of Columbia enrolling more than 41,000 students.

Gates Foundation

Founders: Bill and Melinda Gates.

Targeted People: People needing assistance, education, and opportunity.

Mission and Goal: Working to help all people lead healthy, productive lives.

Current Projects: The Gates Foundation works all over the world leading initiatives like tackling widespread illness, vaccine delivery, sanitation and hygiene, and agricultural development.


Founders: Acumen Fund’s dedicated team works across its four global offices in New York, Mumbai, Karachi and Nairobi.

Targeted People: Impoverished people groups all over the world..

Mission and Goal: Acumen Fund is creating a world beyond poverty by investing in social enterprises, emerging leaders, and breakthrough ideas.

Current Projects: To date they’ve provided housing in Pakistan, Hippocampus Learning Centers in India, developing irrigation systems in India, among many other projects.

Sesame Workshop

Founders: The Sesame Workshop began in 1966 with the question, “Can television be used to teach children?”

Targeted People: Our international programs are tailored to children in their native country and culture, created with local educators, advisors, and puppeteers. This often results in a fully local Sesame Street.

Mission and Goal: Using the educational power of media to help children everywhere reach their highest potential.

Current Projects: To date they’ve gone far beyond the television program to reach children through radio, videos, books, and a partnership with the Joan Ganz Cooney Center.

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