Ellie Burke
Ellie Burke
9 min
Orbis International, 2016 Classy Awards Winners

Introducing the 10 Classy Awards Winners

Selected from 1,300 applicants and 100 Finalists, the 2016 Classy Awards Winners were first announced in Boston at the Classy Awards ceremony. We’re thrilled to congratulate the Winners and shed more light on their groundbreaking programs.

Evaluated by 110 Leadership Council Members, programs were scored against four key criteria:

  1. Scale, scope, and leadership expertise of the problem being addressed
  2.  Innovative approach
  3. Ability to solve the problem
  4. Organizational effectiveness and resource management

Read on to discover the 10 most innovative organizations in the social impact sector.

1.    ayzh


ayzh works to afford women the happiness and health they deserve. Their for-profit social enterprise creates products that are packaged and distributed in kits that supply women in vulnerable communities with the tools they need to live safe and healthy lives.

Classy Awards Winning Program: JANMA Clean Birth Kit

JANMA is a clean birth kit that provides women with the necessary resources to give birth in a safe and sanitary environment. Each kit includes items recommended by The World Health Organization to prevent infection. Local women create the kits which are then sold to the medical institutes and nonprofit organizations who serve those in need.

Learn More About ayzh

2.    Bridges to Prosperity


Bridges to Prosperity is determined to end poverty caused by rural isolation. By building footbridges around the world, they join communities and create opportunities for commerce, life-changing education, and healthcare.

Classy Awards Winning Program: Bridges to Prosperity

This program creates new worlds of accessibility for those unable to easily cross physical boundaries, such as rivers. The removal of these limitations opens the door for prosperity for rural communities in Nicaragua, Bolivia, Panama, Haiti, Rwanda, Guatemala, and Columbia.

Learn More About Bridges to Prosperity

3.    Design That Matters


Design That Matters is an organization saving newborns from treatable illnesses, such as jaundice. They engineer devices designed with the beneficiary in mind, serving communities in the developing world who lack the resources and experience needed to combat curable diseases in infants.

Classy Awards Winning Program: Firefly Newborn Phototherapy

The Firefly is a game-changing newborn phototherapy device. It provides high-intensity phototherapy to treat newborns with jaundice (a disease accountable for an estimated 5 to 10 percent of all newborn deaths). Unfortunately, existing phototherapy equipment is difficult to use and its misuse can cost infants their lives. Firefly is an innovative product of human-centered design that is “easy to use right and hard to use wrong.”

Learn More About Design That Matters

4.    HelpMeSee


Over 20 million people in the world are blind due to cataracts. Those impacted by this treatable condition do not have access to the five minute—yes, five minute—surgery that could change their lives. HelpMeSee believes no one should suffer from untreated cataracts. They work to return the gift of sight to people around the world through surgical solutions.

Classy Awards Winning Program: Global Campaign to End Cataract Blindness

Through this campaign, HelpMeSee seeks to eliminate cataract blindness. Their program trains cataract specialists to serve communities in need, creating a sustainable and scalable solution through education. These tens of thousands of specialists go on to perform surgeries in partnership with HelpMeSee in India, Nepal, Vietnam, Madagascar, Togo, Sierra Leone, Peru, and The Gambia.

Learn More About HelpMeSee

5.    Lucky Iron Fish


Iron deficiency is a preventable nutritional deficiency that leads to anemia and can contribute to other health problems. Nearly 3.5 billion people around the world lack sufficient iron in their diet. As a certified B-Corp, Lucky Iron Fish is a social enterprise that provides individuals around the world with a simple, cost-effective, and safe way to increase their daily iron intake.

Classy Awards Winning Program: Lucky Iron Fish

A little iron fish goes a long way. Cast in the shape of a fish, a symbol of luck in Cambodia, the Lucky Iron Fish delivers up to 90 percent of your daily recommended intake of iron when incorporated into your cooking process. Their one-for-one model allows individuals to purchase a fish for themselves and provide one for someone in need.

Learn More About Lucky Iron Fish

6.    Orbis International


Orbis International is changing the way the world receives eye care. To serve and train more people in need, they created a unique partnership between the aviation and medical industries. In order to scale their impact, they place a heavy emphasis on education and furthering the skill sets of their partners and care providers.

Classy Awards Winning Program: Flying Eye Hospital

Creators of the world’s first flying eye hospital (FEH), Orbis International works to restore sight to people around the world who suffer from curable blindness. And it’s not enough to be a flying hospital—the FEH is a flying teaching hospital, equipped with a space for classroom demonstrations to exchange life-changing information.

Learn More About Orbis International



ORGANIZE believes there’s a better way to track and register organ donors in the United States than the current process at the DMV. Their organization is working with states to adopt simpler registration methods that meet donors in a more culturally relevant way—online. The ORGANIZE registration process is not only a short 47 seconds, it also makes your registration status accessible nationwide. Conversely, when you register at the DMV, your registration status is only accessible within that same state.

Classy Awards Winning Program: Social Media for Organ Donor Registrations

Through this program, telling the world you want to be an organ donor will be as simple as posting “I want to be an #organdonor” on public, social, online communities such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Currently recognized by the state of Nevada as an easier way to share your donor wishes with your next of kin, this program will help streamline the registration process and reduce the waitlist for everyone.

Learn More About ORGANIZE

8.    PCI (Project Concern International)


PCI is on a mission to end hunger and improve the health and lives of all who face hardship. Their work addresses a number of causes such as women’s empowerment, poverty solutions, and disaster relief.

Classy Awards Winning Program: Satellite Assisted Pastoral Resource Management (SAPARM)

To combat the impact of drought and climate change in Ethiopia, PCI uses satellite data to inform farmers who need to find suitable grazing land for their herds. With this information, farmers can reduce livestock losses, improve their own lives, and provide for larger malnourished and hungry communities.

Learn More About PCI

9.    Safe Water Network


Safe Water Network provides access to safe water in Ghana and India. They’ve created a self-sustaining solution that empowers communities to run and operate their own water stations.

Classy Awards Winning Program: Small Water Enterprises for Scale and Sustainability

Safe Water Network works together with locals to create small enterprises that provide safe water in an economically sustainable way. Their locally owned water stations generate enough revenue to cover their operations and make investments back into the community, ensuring the service is maintained.

Learn More About Safe Water Network



Ushahidi is an open source software platform that aggregates data to increase transparency around marginalized individuals and those impacted in times of wrong-doing and crisis.

Classy Awards Winning Program: The Ushahidi Platform

The Ushahidi platform pulls real-time information from sources such as email, SMS, and social media to help organizations and responders interpret events as they take place in a crisis. These reports are used to better serve individuals and to increase awareness around social issues.

Learn More About Ushahidi


The Classy Awards highlight the most innovative organizations in the social impact space working to solve severe social problems. While the 10 Winners differ in cause and approach, they are united in their unflinching determination to fully understand the root cause of a problem and find a creative solution. The Classy Award Winners are on a mission to change the social landscape and they’re not backing down until it’s achieved.

Get Even More Information on the Winners and Finalists


Where social entrepreneurs go to learn and grow

Join over 20,000 leaders just like you who get their weekly dose of technology, innovation, fundraising ideas, and the latest industry trends.

Subscribe to the Classy Blog