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9 Innovative Nonprofit Organizations That You Should Know

It’s not just billionaires like Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates who can change the world with their giving. It’s folks like us who chip in a little to put a meal on the table for a family going through hard times or to get someone in the developing world the healthcare he needs. These nine nonprofit organizations have found innovative ways to help, and to vividly show you how your support makes a big impact.

 1. Pencils of Promise

After traveling through more than 50 countries and handing out pens and pencils to thousands of children, Adam Braun founded Pencils of Promise in 2008. Based on the belief that every child should have access to quality education, PoP creates schools, programs and communities around this goal. Because the organization covers its operational costs through private donors, 100 percent of every dollar donated online goes directly toward educating children in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Check out: The PoP donation page

Photos by Nick Onken

2. Modest Needs

We love that Modest Needs is dedicated to helping people who are working and living just above the national poverty level. Most of these hardworking individuals are ineligible for government help, so Modest Needs’ goal is to ensure that their temporary financial crisis doesn’t become a permanent situation like homelessness. No matter how little you have to give, Modest Needs ensures that you are making a difference in someone’s life.

Check out: Requests For help

3. Family-to-Family

Family-to-Family focuses on helping people who are struggling within the U.S. Their goal is to connect families who have enough to share with impoverished families who have profoundly less. Providing a monthly box of groceries for a family connects richer communities with some of the country’s poorest areas. If your connection runs deep, visiting the family you’re sponsoring might be a wonderful, eye-opening experience.

Want to do some good? Sponsor a family to ensure that they get the food they need. 

4. Room To Read

Believing that change starts with educated children, Room to Read focuses on improving literacy and gender equality in education in the developing world. The communities it helps contribute to the project’s success through land donations, funds or labor. Room to Read has established over 1,800 schools and 16,000 libraries, distributed 13 million books and enrolled over 25,000 girls in their long-term girls education program.

Check out: Room to Read’s local volunteer chapters to get involved.

5. Acumen

Acumen’s mission is to change the way the world tackles poverty. The group raises donations to invest in innovative companies, leaders and ideas. Acumen invests in everything from banks in Pakistan supporting low-income farmers to ambulances in India. Efforts have paid off in the form of 58,000 jobs created and 100 million lives impacted.

Check Out: Acumen founder Jacqueline Novogratz’s TED Talk, Inspiring A Life Of Immersion 

 6. Charity Water

This nonprofit organization brings clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. Since 2006, it has helped fund 6,611 projects in 20 countries, benefiting over 2.5 million people. The most awesome thing about Charity Water is that you can start a campaign for whatever amount you want to raise, and your circle of friends and acquaintances donate. We love big dreamers, and we know that Charity Water will accomplish its goal of bringing clean water to 100 million people by 2020.

Check out: Sarah Peck’s risqué campaign, where she swam naked from San Francisco to Alcatraz upon meeting her target

 7. Waves for Water

Pro-surfer John Rose launched Waves for Water when he was surfing in Indonesia and a 7.2 earthquake hit. He had 10 water filters with him, and being a first responder, he realized that these filters saved thousands of lives. Today, Waves for Water provides clean water solutions to communities in need. Waves for Water and its volunteers (who are travelers and surfers) take the filters to the communities they visit, giving people an easy access to clean water.

Traveling soon? Purchase a filter and help someone get clean water. 

 8. Watsi

Crowdsourcing is changing the way industries operate, and healthcare is one of them. Watsi posts profiles of individuals in developing countries who need medical care. Watsi accepts patients who need low-cost, high-impact medical care, so for a sum of your choosing, you get to change someone’s life. Watsi is the first nonprofit funded by Y Combinator, and we have no doubt that they’re going to rock this space.

Want to fund a treatment? Meet some Watsi patients

 9. Kiva

Kiva is on a mission to connect people through lending. You can lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity for individuals around the world. Because you get your money back (Kiva boasts a repayment term of 98.8 percent), there is no excuse not to help. We’re proud supporters ourselves.  If you’re feeling adventurous, you can arrange to visit the entrepreneur you’ve helped while abroad.

Feeling inspired? Lend an entrepreneur a hand 

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