Donations for the 2020 Holiday Impact Prize are now closed

Thank you to all donors who contributed to Nicholas Kristof’s 2020 Holiday Impact Prize, which awarded an astounding
$10,700,000+ to three nonprofit organizations and recruited 2,000+ volunteers for two more. Donations for the 2020 Prize
through this page are now closed, but you can still support the 2020 honorees by following the “Learn More” links below.




Nicholas Kristof’s 2020 Holiday Impact Prize

Supporting little-known organizations working to make the world a better place.

Since 2009, New York Times columnist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof has written an annual “holiday gift guide” column to bridge a philanthropic gap: readers who wanted to help but didn’t know how, and heroic individuals and organizations who desperately needed resources but were off donors’ radar. The column has helped raise the profiles of organizations that work on the very issues he covers in his journalism—health, education, human rights and women’s rights, both domestically and abroad.

For the second year in a row, the guide comes with an exciting twist: a $150,000 Holiday Impact Prize Kristof awards to the nonprofits he showcases. His 2020 column highlights a $100,000 grand prize winner and two runners-up receiving $25,000 each, in addition to two volunteer opportunities with organizations changing their communities through service.

The 2020 Holiday Impact Prize is a call to action for others to join in supporting Kristof’s appeal. All funds raised by January 31, 2021 will be deployed to these remarkable organizations so they can accomplish the impacts outlined below. And individuals expressing interest in volunteering will be linked to program representatives in their communities for follow-up.

For more information please see our Frequently Asked Questions.

Donation Opportunities

CAMFED (Campaign for Female Education)

Support Girls to Learn, Thrive, and Lead.

Girls’ education is key to tackling the world’s greatest challenges. Yet, even before COVID-19, 52.2 million girls in sub-Saharan Africa were out of school, and millions more are now at risk.

In response, CAMFED’s pan-African movement is educating girls through a model that radically improves their prospects of becoming independent, influential women. Graduates in turn join forces with CAMFED and their communities to keep even more girls in school and accelerate their path to livelihoods and leadership — sustaining and multiplying the impact of your donation far into the future.

The Holiday Impact Prize will support CAMFED’s work to educate 5 million girls by 2025, providing a crucial combination of financial, social, and peer support for them to attend school and thrive — all led by young women who have lived and overcome poverty and exclusion themselves. $150 can support a girl in high school for a year, including dedicated mentorship from a CAMFED graduate trained to help improve her confidence, life skills, and learning. Learn more >

Visit Website

Support Girls to Learn, Thrive, and Lead.

Girls’ education is key to tackling the world’s greatest challenges. Yet, even before COVID-19, 52.2 million girls in sub-Saharan Africa were out of school, and millions more are now at risk.

In response, CAMFED’s pan-African movement is educating girls through a model that radically improves their prospects of becoming independent, influential women. Graduates in turn join forces with CAMFED and their communities to keep even more girls in school and accelerate their path to livelihoods and leadership — sustaining and multiplying the impact of your donation far into the future.

The Holiday Impact Prize will support CAMFED’s work to educate 5 million girls by 2025, providing a crucial combination of financial, social, and peer support for them to attend school and thrive — all led by young women who have lived and overcome poverty and exclusion themselves. $150 can support a girl in high school for a year, including dedicated mentorship from a CAMFED graduate trained to help improve her confidence, life skills, and learning. Learn more >

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OneGoal

Help Close the College Divide.

OneGoal is working to create a world where all students can earn a college degree and define their future. This one-of-a-kind program partners with high schools in low-income communities to bridge the postsecondary degree divide. A three-year model, OneGoal begins as a credit-bearing class during students’ junior and senior year of high school and continues to provide individualized support for a full year after graduation.

In 2007, OneGoal launched in Chicago with a few dozen Fellows. Today, the organization supports 12,500 Fellows in six regions across the country. The impact of this program is astounding – in communities where students typically have a 22% chance of earning a postsecondary degree, 86% of OneGoal high school graduates enroll in a postsecondary institution and 76% of those persist one year after high school graduation.

Your contribution will make a difference supporting the dreams of students who are often overlooked and help create a more equitable world for generations of students to come. Learn more >

Visit Website

Help Close the College Divide.

OneGoal is working to create a world where all students can earn a college degree and define their future. This one-of-a-kind program partners with high schools in low-income communities to bridge the postsecondary degree divide. A three-year model, OneGoal begins as a credit-bearing class during students’ junior and senior year of high school and continues to provide individualized support for a full year after graduation.

In 2007, OneGoal launched in Chicago with a few dozen Fellows. Today, the organization supports 12,500 Fellows in six regions across the country. The impact of this program is astounding – in communities where students typically have a 22% chance of earning a postsecondary degree, 86% of OneGoal high school graduates enroll in a postsecondary institution and 76% of those persist one year after high school graduation.

Your contribution will make a difference supporting the dreams of students who are often overlooked and help create a more equitable world for generations of students to come. Learn more >

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Himalayan Cataract Project

Give the Gift of Sight.

Of the more than 36 million people worldwide suffering from unnecessary blindness, half are due to cataracts that can be surgically treated. The cure exists, but remains out of reach for many living in low-resource countries.

Himalayan Cataract Project (HCP) cures unnecessary cataract blindness with high-quality, cost-effective eyecare in underserved areas of the world. With a low-cost surgical procedure that takes 10 minutes and $25 in materials, sight can be restored. Since its founding in 1995, HCP and its network of global partners have performed over one million sight-restoring surgeries. HCP provides care where it is needed most, regardless of ability to pay, helping individuals regain their independence and live fuller lives.

Due to Covid-19, Himalayan Cataract Project’s work has become even more urgent. The backlog of people waiting in darkness has grown considerably since the pandemic slowed provision of care. Your donation will help HCP perform life-changing surgeries and empower local ophthalmic professionals to serve their communities with high-quality care. Learn more >

Visit Website

Give the Gift of Sight.

Of the more than 36 million people worldwide suffering from unnecessary blindness, half are due to cataracts that can be surgically treated. The cure exists, but remains out of reach for many living in low-resource countries.

Himalayan Cataract Project (HCP) cures unnecessary cataract blindness with high-quality, cost-effective eyecare in underserved areas of the world. With a low-cost surgical procedure that takes 10 minutes and $25 in materials, sight can be restored. Since its founding in 1995, HCP and its network of global partners have performed over one million sight-restoring surgeries. HCP provides care where it is needed most, regardless of ability to pay, helping individuals regain their independence and live fuller lives.

Due to Covid-19, Himalayan Cataract Project’s work has become even more urgent. The backlog of people waiting in darkness has grown considerably since the pandemic slowed provision of care. Your donation will help HCP perform life-changing surgeries and empower local ophthalmic professionals to serve their communities with high-quality care. Learn more >

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Volunteer Opportunities

Reading Partners

Empower Children Through Reading.

Reading is the foundation for all future learning. Students who cannot read proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma  – hindering their chances to access higher education in the future. Reading Partners’ proven model matches elementary school students who are behind grade level in reading with trained volunteers who deliver personalized tutoring sessions twice a week for 45 minutes. As a result, 85% of all Reading Partners students meet or exceed their primary end-of-year literacy growth goals.

COVID-19 has dramatically disrupted learning, with many students learning remotely or under stressful new circumstances. When a day of school gets disrupted, let alone a week or a month, students’ academic growth can suffer. For students who were already behind their grade level in reading, the consequences of this disruption are disproportionately severe. Volunteering with Reading Partners can make a meaningful and lasting difference in the lives of children by ensuring they have the critical literacy support they need and deserve during this particularly challenging time. Learn more >

Visit Website

Empower Children Through Reading.

Reading is the foundation for all future learning. Students who cannot read proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma  – hindering their chances to access higher education in the future. Reading Partners’ proven model matches elementary school students who are behind grade level in reading with trained volunteers who deliver personalized tutoring sessions twice a week for 45 minutes. As a result, 85% of all Reading Partners students meet or exceed their primary end-of-year literacy growth goals.

COVID-19 has dramatically disrupted learning, with many students learning remotely or under stressful new circumstances. When a day of school gets disrupted, let alone a week or a month, students’ academic growth can suffer. For students who were already behind their grade level in reading, the consequences of this disruption are disproportionately severe. Volunteering with Reading Partners can make a meaningful and lasting difference in the lives of children by ensuring they have the critical literacy support they need and deserve during this particularly challenging time. Learn more >

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CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children) / GAL (Guardian ad Litem)

Change a Child’s Story.™

CASA programs around the country support and promote court-appointed volunteer advocacy so every child who has experienced abuse or neglect can have the opportunity to thrive in a safe and loving home. Research shows that having a stable relationship with a supportive adult can help children do well, even when they have faced significant hardships. 

CASA volunteers are trained to understand the impact of trauma on children. They also speak with service providers, teachers, and social workers to gather the information they need to make informed recommendations to the court. Children with a CASA volunteer are more likely to find a safe, permanent home, more likely to succeed in school, and half as likely to re-enter the foster care system. Tens of thousands of children now have a volunteer by their side — but many more still need one. Volunteering with CASA can change a child’s life for the better. Learn more >

Visit Website

Change a Child’s Story.™

CASA programs around the country support and promote court-appointed volunteer advocacy so every child who has experienced abuse or neglect can have the opportunity to thrive in a safe and loving home. Research shows that having a stable relationship with a supportive adult can help children do well, even when they have faced significant hardships. 

CASA volunteers are trained to understand the impact of trauma on children. They also speak with service providers, teachers, and social workers to gather the information they need to make informed recommendations to the court. Children with a CASA volunteer are more likely to find a safe, permanent home, more likely to succeed in school, and half as likely to re-enter the foster care system. Tens of thousands of children now have a volunteer by their side — but many more still need one. Volunteering with CASA can change a child’s life for the better. Learn more >

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Donation FAQs

Additional information on Focusing Philanthropy is available in our 2019 annual report and introductory video.

To learn more about the past Holiday Impact Prize and special initiative recipients, follow the links in the menu bar on the top right this page.

Due to the high volume of requests we receive of this nature, we are unable to consider inbound suggestions or applications for financial support or other forms of promotion, however worthy the organization.  We regret that we are not able to respond to such overtures.

Please direct all media inquiries to our contact form.

Focusing Philanthropy is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that believes donations should be made with the same level of strategic intent, information, and confidence as other investments. The organization targets serious human challenges that individual donors can successfully address, chooses tactics that are demonstrably effective, identifies confidence-inspiring implementing partners, conducts ongoing monitoring, and assures substantive reporting. These services are provided free to both donors and partners in an effort to scale interventions that work. Donations are fully tax deductible, and Focusing Philanthropy covers all administrative costs and replenishes credit card transaction fees so that 100% of funds contributed go to implementing partners.

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