The world is full of amazing people working to make things better. Below are some of our favorite social change organizations in Education, Health, Environment, Civil Rights / Human Rights, Economic Empowerment, Women’s Empowerment, General Volunteer Opportunities, History & Social Change, Media Literacy, and Service Learning. Last but not least, we offer a short list of some of the wonderful folks working in our hometown of Pittsburgh.


  • DESIGN FOR CHANGE gives children an opportunity to express their ideas for a better world and to put those ideas into action.
  • PRATHAM is an innovative learning organization created to improve the quality of education in India.
  • QUESTBRIDGE connects the world’s brightest low-income students to America’s best universities and opportunities.
  • THE CHILDREN’S DEFENSE FUND champions policies and programs that lift children out of poverty; protect them from abuse and neglect; and ensure their access to health care, quality education and a moral and spiritual foundation.
champion policies and programs that lift children out of poverty; protect them from abuse and neglect; and ensure their access to health care, quality education and a moral and spiritual foundation – See more at:
champion policies and programs that lift children out of poverty; protect them from abuse and neglect; and ensure their access to health care, quality education and a moral and spiritual foundation – See more at:
  • TEACHING FOR CHANGE provides teachers and parents with the tools to create schools where students learn to read, write and change the world.
  • ROOM TO READ seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in developing countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education.

  • PARTNERS IN HEALTH is a global health organization relentlessly committed to improving the health of poor & marginalized people.
  • DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS is an international medical humanitarian organization that treats people where the need is greatest.
  • UNICEF defends the human rights of children throughout the world, with a particular focus on health care.

  • GREENPEACE uses peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and to promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

  • HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.
  • THE AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION defends the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in the United States.
  • The NAACP is a civil rights organization for ethnic minorities in the united States with a long history of fighting for equality and justice.

  • HABITAT FOR HUMANITY builds simple, decent, affordable housing in partnership with people in need.
  • HEIFER INTERNATIONAL provides gifts of livestock and training, and works with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth.

  • SEWA, the Self-Employed Women’s Association, is an organisation of poor, self-employed women workers in India.
  • WOMEN FOR WOMEN INTERNATIONAL supports women in war-torn regions with financial and emotional aid, job-skills training, rights education and small business assistance so they can rebuild their lives.
  • EVERY MOTHER COUNTS is an advocacy and mobilization campaign to increase education and support for maternal mortality reduction globally.
  • APNE AAP organizes small groups of women and girls at risk or affected by trafficking into self-empowerment groups, across India to access three fundamental rights – education, dignified livelihood and legal empowerment. 

  • NEXT GENERATION SERVICE connects young people to social change organizations by offering vocational mentorship and promoting community and international service as a component of any career path.
  • THE PEACE CORPS sends Americans abroad to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world.
  • AmeriCorps places thousands of young adults into intensive service positions where they learn valuable work skills, earn money for education, and develop an appreciation for citizenship.

  • GROUNDSWELL is a dynamic network of oral historians, activists, cultural workers, community organizers, and documentary artists who are using oral history and narrative in creative, effective and ethical ways to support movement building and transformative social change.
  • is an online reference guide to African American history.
  • THE KING CENTER is dedicated to educating the world on the life, legacy and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., inspiring new generations to carry forward his unfinished work, strengthen causes and empower change-makers who are continuing his efforts today.
  • FACING HISTORY engages students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice, and antisemitism in order to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry.
  • MOBILIZING IDEAS publishes interdisciplinary perspectives on social movements, social change, and the public sphere.

  • WITNESS trains and supports activists and citizens around the world to use video safely and effectively to expose human rights abuse and effectively fight for human rights change.
  • THE CENTER FOR MEDIA LITERACY helps citizens, especially the young, develop critical thinking and media production skills needed to live fully in 21st century media culture.
  • THE MEDIA LITERACY PROJECT transforms people into critical media consumers and engaged media justice advocates who deconstruct media, inform media policy, and create media that reflect their lived experience.
  • ALCHEMY uses mythological stories & fairy tales told to the beat of an African drum to mentor and inspire young men in Akron, Ohio.

  • AMIZADE empowers individuals and communities through worldwide service and learning.
  • CAMPUS COMPACT promotes public and community service that develops students’ citizenship skills, helps campuses forge effective community partnerships, and provides resources and training for faculty seeking to integrate civic and community-based learning into the curriculum.
  • GLOBAL BRIGADES empowers university students and alumni to implement programs with partner communities abroad.
  • ASHOKA U catalyzes social innovation in higher education through a global network of entrepreneurial students, faculty and community leaders.

  • THE SPROUT FUND supports innovative ideas that are catalyzing change in Pittsburgh—making our community a better place to live, work, play, and raise a family.
  • CAUSE, the Center for AfricanAmerican Urban Studies and the Economy, links the historian’s interest in race, work, and economic change over time with contemporary analyses of the urban labor force, employment policies, and community development.
  • GROW PITTSBURGH teaches people how to grow food and promotes the benefits gardens bring to our neighborhoods.
  • THREE RIVERS COMMUNITY FOUNDATION funds and encourages activism among community-based organizations in underserved areas of Southwestern Pennsylvania, with a particular focus on social, economic, or racial justice.
  • THE ARTS GREENHOUSE is a free hip-hop education program for Pittsburgh teens based at Carnegie Mellon University.
  • PITTSBURGH CARES works to advance a culture of volunteerism and widespread civic engagement in the Pittsburgh region.
  • CITY OF ASYLUM creates a thriving community for writers, readers, and neighbors, in part by providing sanctuary to endangered literary writers, so that they can continue to write and their voices are not silenced.
  • URBAN INNOVATION 21 is a public-private partnership that boosts regional economic development through 21st century innovation-driven entrepreneurship.
  • THE MADWOMEN IN THE ATTIC is a community of women writers, ranging in age from 20-year-olds to 90-year-olds, who meet for semester-long writing workshops, organize public readings, and publish an annual volume.



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