December 22, 2016

2016 in Review: The Faces of Philanthropy

James Lawler Duggan; Karin Schermbrucker; Greg Davis/National Geographic Creative
Clockwise from upper left: Journalists who work in combat zones get medical training in a special class; a mentor in a program for new mothers talks with a patient in Uganda; staff and volunteers at a water charity examine a dangerous old well in Kenya.

Woven into the fabric of everyday life, many charities do fascinating and important work, both here in the United States and around the world.

An international health group trains mothers in southern and eastern Africa who are HIV-positive to help other mothers with the virus avoid spreading it to their children. In New York, a small charity builds modifications that help children with disabilities lead fuller lives, while an experimental opera company in Los Angeles stages sprawling performances throughout the city.

As the year draws to a close, read about 12 innovative charities we highlighted in The Face of Philanthropy. We hope their stories inspire you for 2017


January 05, 2016

Nonprofit Meets Need for Cheaper Medical Devices

D-Rev produced a high-quality prosthetic knee for $80 and developed an ultra-low-budget device to treat jaundice.

February 09, 2016

A Nonprofit Promotes Opera by Performing in Novel Places

An experimental arts nonprofit in Los Angeles overcomes technical challenges to perform in unusual places, like rooftops and limousines.

February 29, 2016

Caring for a Brutal War’s Youngest Victims

Five years into Syria's grinding civil conflict, Save the Children is working to support schools and clinics, provide humanitarian relief, reunite families, and give kids a safe place to play.

April 04, 2016

Nonprofit Trains Journalists to Save Colleagues on the Front Lines

Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues, founded by Sebastian Junger after one of his colleagues bled to death in Libya, offers four-day medical sessions for journalists who cover war zones.

May 02, 2016

Charity Improves Kids’ Lives With Cardboard and Ingenuity

The Adaptive Design Association is spreading its model of creating affordable, custom equipment that allows kids with disabilities to experience the joys of life and higher levels of independence.

June 01, 2016

Crime Victims Get a Voice in Prison Overhaul

Californians for Safety and Justice, which advocates for trauma centers for victims and changes in sentencing, is expanding nationally.

July 06, 2016

Where the Wild Things Are, City Slickers Keep Watch

With the help of citizen scientists and a crowdsourcing app, a museum in Los Angeles is compiling what it says is the world’s largest urban biodiversity inventory.

August 02, 2016

Nonprofit Connects African Moms to Prevent HIV in Newborns

Mothers2mothers employs HIV-positive women as mentors to coach others on how to give birth to healthy babies. The transmission rate for program participants has dropped to less than 5 percent.

September 06, 2016

Nonprofit Helps Build Bonds Between Police and Teenagers

The first moments of the Police Youth Challenge in Baltimore rarely seem promising, with participants eyeing each other warily, but the barriers fall quickly during a day of team-oriented fun.

October 04, 2016

Mural Program Changes Lives in Philadelphia

An effort to fight graffiti has grown into an enormous public art program that backers see as an engine for education, community empowerment, and economic revitalization.

November 01, 2016

Charity Learns Lessons on Providing Clean Water

Well Aware seeks input from residents to ensure its projects make sense for the Kenyan communities they serve.

November 29, 2016

Chicago Prison Charity Dishes Out Life Lessons and Gourmet Food

Detainees at the Cook County Jail in Chicago get to learn culinary and life skills from Chef Bruno Abate through classes put on by his nonprofit.