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Announcing the 2021 Classy Award Winners

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Published September 28, 2021 Reading Time: 7 minutes

After a comprehensive evaluation by our Leadership Council, it is our privilege to announce the 2021 Classy Award Winners. Join us in celebrating the organizations who have continued to move the needle on some of our world’s largest issues despite the overwhelming challenges of the past year.

Meet the 2021 Classy Award Winners

About the Classy Awards

Since 2009, the Classy Awards have brought together social sector leaders and influencers to recognize the achievements of thousands of nonprofits and social enterprises across the globe. Now in its 8th year, the Classy Awards is one of the largest social impact awards in the country, celebrating the world-changing work of the social sector.

A Look Into the Selection Process

In June, our Classy Awards Committee selected the Top 50 Finalists from a pool of 1,400 nonprofits and social enterprise programs. These organizations are making an impact across all cause sectors, including food insecurity, domestic abuse, wage and opportunity gaps, mass incarceration, animal testing, and more.

The Finalists were scored on four judging criteria:

  • Scale, scope, and expertise in addressing the problem
  • Ability to solve the problem
  • Creativity of the solution
  • Organizational effectiveness, diversity and inclusion, and resource management

The Leadership Council, a prestigious group of social sector leaders with representatives from organizations such as Feeding America, Jane Goodall Institute USA, Microsoft, Salesforce.org, City of Hope, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, then evaluated these 50 Finalists using the same judging criteria to determine the 10 Winners of the Social Innovation award.

The Adapt & Overcome award, voted on by the Classy Awards Committee, celebrates an organization that overcame immense challenges in the wake of COVID-19, and the People’s Choice award, determined by public vote, highlights the innovation of a nonprofit or social enterprise making incredible contributions to our society.

Meet the 2021 Classy Award Winners

Adapt & Overcome

The Greater Boston Food Bank

Program: COVID-19 Response

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Unemployment triggered by the global pandemic caused food insecurity in Massachusetts to increase 47% in a single year—the highest in the nation. To meet the needs of more than 600,000 people per month in 2020, Greater Boston Food Bank convened a COVID-19 Response Team to strategize and implement a crisis plan.

Despite losing 500 weekly volunteers due to the pandemic, innovation in partnerships, delivery, sourcing, and technology allowed Greater Boston Food Bank to successfully distribute nearly 2.5 million pounds of food per week, doubling their typical output.

People’s Choice

Benevolent Healthcare Organization d/b/a Project C.U.R.E.

Program: Project C.U.R.E.

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Every year, more than 14 million of the world’s poorest people die prematurely. Project C.U.R.E. helps bridge this staggering health resource gap by fostering a network of global partners to provide life-saving medical supplies where they are needed most.

They collaborate with community partners in under-developed countries to understand their needs, conduct on-site assessments to ensure all medical supplies delivered abroad meet the specific demands of the receiving hospital or clinic, and equip the medical staff with life-saving tools to improve diagnosis, treatment, and care.

Project C.U.R.E. has delivered nearly $1 billion worth of medical equipment and supplies to communities in need, which is more than any other organization.

Social Innovation


Program: Partnerships for Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Solutions to Sustainably Save and Change Lives

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Blood:Water’s goal is to improve WASH—water, sanitation, and hygiene—in Africa. By partnering with African-led grassroots organizations, they empower communities to take ownership of their future and ensure that these health practices are sustainable for generations to come.

In 2020, Blood:Water supplied over 10,000 sanitation, hygiene, and handwashing stations, reducing threats from water-borne illnesses and COVID-19. They also created local water points, organized WASH committees, and educated over 700,000 individuals on proper hygiene practices.

Brookview House. Inc.

Program: Brookview House

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Brookview House views housing as a platform for supportive programs and services. Each year, they provide 570 mothers and children experiencing homelessness with a safe place to live and onsite support programs designed to improve educational achievement, health and well-being, and economic independence.

They were one of the first programs in the country to recognize the holistic, two-generational approach needed to help families permanently lift themselves out of poverty and homelessness. Of mothers who have lived at Brookview, 92% maintain permanent housing after leaving, and 88% of the children who participate in Brookview’s Youth Development Program become high school graduates.

Fair Labor Association

Program: Living Wages for All

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The Fair Labor Association believes that every worker has the right to earn a living wage. They developed the Wage Data Collection Toolkit and Fair Compensation Dashboard, which allows apparel companies to calculate what workers are earning, show the gap between actual and living wages, and measure progress over time.

The Fair Labor Association’s membership now includes over 50 of some of the largest fashion brands in the world. Twenty six members have developed actionable blueprints to improve their wages and working conditions, ultimately motivating other businesses to do the same.

Food Forward

Program: Food Forward


Program: Food Forward

Food Forward collects fresh fruits and vegetables from backyard fruit trees, public orchards, and farmers markets that would otherwise go to waste and donates them to hundreds of hunger relief organizations.

These donations are then redistributed to vulnerable communities, reducing the stress caused by food insecurity, freeing up finances for other basic needs, and reducing the accumulation of landfill waste contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.

Food Forward has rescued over 175 million pounds of perfectly edible fruits and vegetables, and in 2020, they grew agency partnerships by 43%, adding 160 new partners.

Green Bronx Machine

Program: Green Bronx Machine

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Green Bronx Machine is an urban agriculture education program that teaches students how to grow, prepare, and cook fresh fruits and vegetables inside their own classroom.

Using a state-of-the-art mobile classroom kitchen and a year-round indoor teaching farm, they learn about science, math, and the teamwork involved in agricultural production, plus the benefits of making healthy food choices.

In 2020, Green Bronx Machine produced 5,000 pounds of produce and their students have a 91% passing rate of New York State Science Exams, including ELL and special needs students.

Hope for Haiti

Program: Hope for Haiti’s Healthcare Program: Leve Santé

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Hope for Haiti believes that all people deserve access to quality healthcare. In 2020 alone, they provided healthcare to over 21,000 people and distributed $20 million worth of medication, supplies, and PPE to the most vulnerable Haitians.

They operate mobile medical and dental clinics, monitor emerging healthcare crises like COVID-19, and educate the community on making healthy choices and habits that improve their quality of life. For over 32 years, Hope for Haiti has collaborated with hundreds of partners to become a leading healthcare provider in southern Haiti, closing the gap in accessibility for everyone.

In total, they have impacted the lives of 475,000 Haitians through the distribution of over $150 million worth of medication, supplies, and equipment.


Program: mothers2mothers

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mothers2mothers (m2m) is an African nonprofit that unlocks the power of women to ensure healthy, thriving families and an end to pediatric AIDS. m2m employs and trains women living with HIV as frontline health workers to deliver health services, education, and support to women and families in their communities.

Since its founding 20 years ago, m2m has created meaningful jobs for more than 11,000 women, and reached more than 13.5 million people with critical health services and education across a dozen African nations.

In 2020, m2m achieved virtual elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV among its enrolled clients for seven consecutive years, contributing to the global goal of ending HIV. On September 28, m2m launched She’s Got The Power in celebration of its 20th anniversary.


Program: ShelterBox COVID-19 Humanitarian Response

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ShelterBox provides emergency housing to families who have lost their homes, empowering them to rebuild their lives. In 2020, ShelterBox helped 175,000 people in 13 countries around the globe.

They cleverly adapted their processes to meet specific COVID-19 shelter needs, which not only prevented the spread of COVID-19 but also provided safety, security, privacy, and dignity to families. Of those served in the Philippines, Paraguay, and Syria, 99% said that the items they received from ShelterBox allowed them to adhere more closely to social distancing measures and hygiene practices.

The Trevor Project

Program: The Trevor Project (Trevor)

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The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth. They save lives through peer support, research, education, public awareness, and advocacy.

The Trevor Project’s programs exist on platforms where young people feel most comfortable. Those platforms include a 24/7 phone lifeline, chat, text, and TrevorSpace, the world’s largest safe-space social networking site for LGBTQ youth.

In 2020, more than 150,000 crisis contacts were made and 95% of young people who reached out experienced de-escalation from suicidal thoughts.


Program: Graduation Success

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Treehouse empowers at-risk foster youth by providing education planning, mentoring, coaching, and a range of other services. Their Graduation Success program tailors each of its services to an individual’s needs by partnering with the existing support system in that child’s life.

As a result, students in foster care experience success in the classroom and have access to the resources they need to graduate from high school with a plan for their future. Since Treehouse’s inception, graduation rates among foster care youths in Washington have risen above 50% in 2020.

Celebrating the Impact of our Winners

Congratulations to our 2021 Classy Award Winners who join a prestigious group of nonprofits and social enterprises that are embracing new ideas and illustrating the potential to drive change in our society.

This was a very competitive pool of organizations, all of whom are worthy of recognition for the lives they are changing and the positive impact they are making around the world. We are honored that you shared your story with us and hope you’ll be back in 2022.

classy award trophy

Meet the 2021 Classy Award Winners

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