Classy Awards

2016 Winners & Finalists

The Most Innovative Nonprofits and Social Enterprises of 2016

The Classy Awards exist to put a spotlight on the most remarkable changemakers of our generation. The Winners & Finalists recognized this year are addressing the incredibly complex and equally severe problems we face today. Their efforts span global poverty and hunger, disease, education, climate change, disaster response and preparedness, and health care accessibility.

Selected from 1,300 nonprofit and social enterprise programs during an extensive year-long research and vetting process, this year's Winners & Finalists represent the brightest minds and boldest leaders that are solving problems through innovation. We are honored to introduce the 100 most innovative nonprofits and social enterprises, the Classy Awards Winners & Finalists.

Classy Awards Winners!

First announced at the Classy Awards Ceremony in Boston, we are proud
to officially congratulate the top 10 Classy Awards Winners.



Kits ensuring safe and sterile conditions during childbirth

Bridges to Prosperity

Nicaragua, Bolivia, Panama, Haiti, Rwanda, Guatemala, Colombia

Building footbridges to drive education, health care & economic opportunities

Design That Matters

Cambodia, East Timor, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Benin, Burundi, Ghana, Nigeria, Somaliland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Haiti, Afghanistan

Designing a phototherapy device to treat jaundice


India, China, Madagascar, The Gambia, Peru, Vietnam, Nepal, Togo, Sierra Leone

Commiting to end cataract blindness through surgical training

Lucky Iron Fish

Canada, Cambodia, United States, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Indonesia, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Malaysia, Malta, Montenegro, Myanmar (Burma), Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Vietnam, Andorra, Argentina, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Taiwan, Mexico, Ecuador, Monaco

Ensuring the developing world has iron

Orbis International

Vietnam, India, Peru, China, Indonesia, Mongolia, Philippines, Cameroon Panama, Zambia Ethiopia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nepal, Laos, Nigeria

Reinventing global eye health


United States

Thinking differently about the organ donor system

PCI (Project Concern International)

Ethiopia, Tanzania

Integrating satellite mapping for pastoral farming

Safe Water Network

Ghana, India

A market-based solution to deliver reliable & affordable water



Elevating voices of marginalized communities through open source software

Akilah Institute for Women


Cultivating East Africa's female working class

Alter Eco

United States

Designing compostable food packaging to reduce plastic in landfills


Mozambique, Tanzania

Using rats to detect tuberculosis

Barbells for Boobs

United States

Providing access to breast cancer detection services for all

Bayes Impact

United States

Deploying data scientists to solve social problems

Be Girl Inc

Kenya, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Somalia, Morocco, Solomon Islands, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Botswana, Guatemala, Honduras, Jordan, Colombia, United States

Dignifying women and girls through adaptable menstrual products

Because International

Africa, South America, Central America, Haiti, Asia, Australia, Mexico, Europe

Adjustable shoes that protect children from soil-transmitted disease

Photo Credit: Cheryl Zoon


United States

Initiating communities to support healthy and resilient water systems

Beyond 12

United States

Improving college completion rates with an online and offline approach


Total Programs

Selection of Finalists

Selection of Finalists Chart

Program Locations

Finalists are operating in 118 countries.

Program Locations Map

Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Mozambique

A one-two punch at the water crisis & HIV/AIDS

Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston

United States

Rethinking the role of social workers

Build Change

Colombia, Nepal, Indonesia, Phillipines, Haiti, Colombia, Guatemala

Building resilient urban houses in Colombia


United States

Confronting urban challenges with leadership development & service


United States

Ending wildlife trafficking with expert data analytics

Center for Technology and Civic Life

United States

Open source tools improving data access to voters

Centro Community Partners

United States

Entrepreneurship education for low income populations


United States

A bold stance on water policy in California


Pacific Ocean

Turning polluted plastic into clean fuel

Clinica Verde


Prototyping an outpatient community clinic for maternal care

Coalition for Queens (C4Q)

United States

Pathways for those who lack access to tech education and training

College Advising Corps

United States

College grads fostering college-going cultures in high schools

United States, Australia

Giving workplace democracy a leg to stand on

Crisis Text Line

United States

Providing free mobile support for crisis situations

Drive Change

United States

Using food truck workplaces to broaden employment opportunities

Problem Cause Sectors

Problem Cause Sectors Chart

Average Number of Problem Indicators Per Program

Contributing Factors

Problems are complex. Finalists see these as the major contributing factors.

Contributing Factors Chart
Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, North America

Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic

Developing breakthrough therapies for African sleeping sickness

Emmanuel House

United States

Converting permanent renters into permanent homeowners

Field Ready

Haiti, Nepal

Printing 3-D humanitarian supplies through local manufacturers

FilmAid International

Kenya, Jordan, Uganda, Hong Kong, Thailand

Using film to inform, break down barriers & deliver strength

Fonkoze USA


Improving health infrastructure in Haiti through social franchising

FullCycle Energy

Philippines, Thailand, United Kingdom

Pioneering waste-to-energy technology

Girls Who Code

United States

Assembling the female engineer of tomorrow

goods for good


Developing businesses to care for vulnerable children in Malawi


United States

Designing open-source ocean farms and sustainable farming practices


United States, India

An all-terrain wheelchair to increase opportunities for mobility


Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya

Delivering on-demand tractors to farmers in need

Immunity Project

United States

Working towards a free & accessible HIV vaccine


United States

Strengthening local economies through peer-based business learning

International Bridges to Justice

India, China, Cambodia, Burundi, Rwanda, Zimbabwe

Educating a new generation of global lawyers

Jail Education Solutions / Edovo

United States

A SaaS platform for the incarcerated

Karam Foundation

Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan

Customized aid addressing the real needs of Syrian families

Khushi Baby


Disrupting the mobile health industry at the last mile

Approach to the Problem

Finalists characterize their approach to the problem as the following.

Approach to Problem Chart

New Technologies

Finalists developed breakthrough technologies to distinguish their model from traditional solutions.

Stage of Strategy

Finalists consider their strategies to be within the following stages.

Stage of Strategy Chart

United States, Peru, United Kingdom, France, Indonesia, Kenya, Brazil, Italy, Iran, India, Philippines

Protecting land rights of communities through interactive mapping

Learning Equality


Open-source education that doesn't require WiFi

Libraries Without Borders

Ethiopia, Jordan, Lebanon, Burundi, Greece, Australia, United States, France, Senegal

Spreading education through a revolutionary media center kit

Mama Hope

United States, Guatemala, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania

Mobilizing social entrepreneurs with passion, purpose & community-driven impact

Marine Conservation Institute

United States, Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Arctic Ocean

Merging science & human capacity to safeguard marine ecosystems

Match Education

United States

Supporting young adults through low-cost college degree programs

MIND Research Institute

United States

Teaching math visually to deepen conceptual understanding


Ecuador, Brazil, Paraguay, Nicaragua, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabewe, Namibia, India, Nepal, Phillipines

Eradicating clubfoot with technology & collaboration

Mission Asset Fund

United States

Providing zero interest loans to build and access credit

Nature and Culture International


Connecting habitats & communities to conserve a biodiversity hotspot

Nuru International


Integrated programming helping smallholder farmers escape extreme poverity

Oxfam America

United States

Improving employee wages, policies & practices in the poultry industry


Ethiopia, Myanmar (Burma), India, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan

Integrating innovative data analysis for higher quality family planning

Partners for Care


A personal backpack for waterscarce communities

Annual Budgets

Annual Budgets Chart

Program Growth

Program Growth Chart

Average number of Staff per program


Average number of Volunteers per program

Sources of Revenue

Sources of Revenue Chart

Collaborations & Partnerships

Partnerships Chart

Photo Credit: Nick Onken

Pencils of Promise


A lean startup mentality towards education

Plant With Purpose


Sustainable community development to reverse poverty & deforestation


United States

Changing school culture through playtime curriculum



Delivering excellent healthcare for Nepal

Project Lead The Way

United States

Transforming K-12 education through specialized curriculum and training

Raising The Village


Human-centered design to eradicate extreme poverty

re:focus partners

United States

Making resilient cities a reality


United States

Ending money-in-politics corruption through contemporary advocacy


Kenya, Uganda, Haiti, India, Ghana

Restructuring the digital global workforce

Search For Common Ground


Unifying Yemen to stand up against violence

Seeding Labs

Cameroon, Chile, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Ghana, Jamaica, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Uruguay, Zimbabwe, India, Malawi, Zambia

Expanding scientific discovery with improved access to modern equipment

Sexual Health Innovations

United States, Canada

Creating an empowering sexual assault reporting tool for colleges


Lesotho, Syria

Engaging the first mobile app for a zero-hunger future

Sierra Club

United States

Reducing climate disruption through grassroots advocacy campaigns

Soldier On, Inc.

United States

Transforming the lives of incarcerated veterans


United States

Increasing America's access to the solar energy market

Spark MicroGrants

Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi

Providing seed grants to incubate community driven solutions

End Game

Finalists believe their End Game can be categorized as the following.

End Game Chart

Average number of short-term impact metrics measured

Short-term impact metrics are outputs, or the actions that a program carries out.


Average number of long-term impact metrics measured

Long-term impact metrics are outcomes, or the changes enacted by their program.

Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE)


Helping women advocate and jumpstart business around menstrual pads

Tapestri, Inc.

United States

Helping victims of trafficking rebuild a life without fear

Team4Tech Foundation

Kenya, Tanzania, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Brazil, South Africa

Bringing 21st century skills to the developing world

Telemed Medical Services


Removing barriers between patients & providers

The Adventure Project


Empowering mechanics to bring clean & sustainable water to African communities

The Counter Extremism Project

United States, Israel, Belgium, France, Italy, Turkey

Igniting a global response to terrorism

The Future Project

United States

Discovering the potential of young people in education

The Prison Scholar Fund

United States

A path to success for incarcerated students

The Scripps Research Institute

United States

Collaborating to discover and provide treatments against Ebola



Fostering community partnerships to drive sustainable farming in Haiti

Toilets for People

Senegal, Haiti, Peru, Mexico, Nicaragua

An open source approach to developing sustainable, composting toilets

Ubuntu Education Fund

South Africa

Revolutionalizing poverty alleviation with holistic & localized solutions

Venture for America

United States

Fueling job growth in the US through entrepreneurship


United States

Bringing entrepreneurial bootcamp courses to primary education

Village Enterprise

Kenya, Uganda

Bringing Silicon Valley innovation to East Africa

Women LEAD


Activating the next generation of female leaders in Nepal

World Concern


Holistic community development for hard to reach villages

World Wide Hearing


Providing better access to hearing in developing countries

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