global education

SV2 Teens Visit Khan Academy

By: Finn

Finn lives in California and participates in our custom program with the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund.

This year, the SV2 Teens are focusing on investments in education for low income youth both locally and internationally. As a part of our mission to expand educational resources, we have the opportunity to visit and invest in three organizations: Khan Academy, BuildOn, and MultiCultural Institute. We’re looking forward to the grant making decision process in April, but the site visits are always a wonderful opportunity to experience impactful organizations throughout the Bay Area. Here is a review of our first site visit:

Wonderful afternoon today spent at Khan Academy! This was a great opportunity for the SV2 Teens to experience one of the world’s leading education nonprofits in their very own headquarters. Between the delicious snacks, enthusiastic staff members, and inspiring web-based programs, this was definitely an awesome experience!

“A free world-class education to anyone, anywhere.” Khan’s mission statement speaks for itself. We loved learning how the company came to life in 2007 after Sal began making online videos to help his nieces with math concepts. Today, as a nonprofit with over 140 staff members, they have reached over 50 million registered users in nearly 200 countries! And they are just getting started; I was fascinated by K.A.’s vision for the future: provide teachers with a free, rich, and interactive learning tool; transition to a more social platform with student to student interaction, and expand higher education programs like electrical engineering or economics into possible vocational training. Finally, the leadership team at K.A. emphasizes that their platform is for everyone to advance their education, and this is becoming a reality as they expand to the population of countries like India, China, Brazil, Mexico, and many more! 

Finn, left, meeting with Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy

Finn, left, meeting with Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy

Our teens group also had the opportunity to test out and evaluate Khan Academy’s SAT practice programs. In the tech world this is called “eating your own dogfood” or testing out the beta product ourselves! This was a ton of fun as we got to try out the programs for ourselves and work our way through grueling math concepts!

Could not have asked for a better visit at Khan Academy. From a girl in a slum in Mumbai accessing education from a smart phone or a student in the Bay Area getting extra help with Algebra, the possibilities with this online platform are limitless!

Integrating Philanthropic Lessons Into Everyday Life

By: Bella
Bella is a participant in Allowance for Good's Winter 2015 Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy: Explorers class.

This week in the ELP class we reflected on our seven weeks worth of work and discussions plus activities and fun. This experience was only seven weeks long and even though it was short I absorbed the wonderful and inspiring lessons each week.

My favorite parts of ELP was talking about global human rights and access to basic needs, such as clean water, education, shelter and food. I found this interesting, because I had know idea about the millennium goals that were suppose to be completed by 2015, but they were not fulfilled. While talking about this topic we also discussed the 5 point Plan, which was put in place of the millennium goals.

I will continue being a philanthropist and young catalyst, by thinking of others and making my goal for each day to help some in need, whether it be picking up a notebook for someone or buying a lunch for someone. To continue my work as a philanthropist I will advocate and give back to throughs who are fighting for equal rights, such as Malala, who advocates for equal education rights for women. I also feel obligated to be doing any philanthropic activity I can participate in, to fulfil my passion of being a philanthropist.

I want to learn more about how to give and what it means to give in a philanthropic way. I am very intrested in different and empowering ways to be involved in philanthropic events or activities. I also want to learn more about the five point plan and why they made them much more broader. Throughout this ELP class I have learned more about philanthropy and how to be a leader. These skills and ideas I will now take and apply them to my everyday life.

Bella writes, "I am a Catalyst for Good because I think that everyone should have access to clean and safe water."

Spreading Awareness for Education, Animal Rights

By: Rashmi
Rashmi is a participant in Allowance for Good's Winter 2015 Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy: Explorers class. 

I recently watched a video of 17 year old Malala Yousafzai at the UN Youth Assembly. Her steady voice delivered words of wisdom and advice, trying to inspire the youth in front of her. I found her speech interesting and inspiring in several different ways. She made a point to not offend anyone, and spoke about how obstacles should not stop people from doing what is right. I thought it was brave of her to stand in front of so many people and talk about such a controversial topic. All of the statements she made were positive, or ended on a positive note. She had something nice to say about everyone and everything. She spoke of the positive impact people could have on the world by using kindness instead of violence, and how no one should be denied their right to education. She was very passionate about it, and talked about how opposition from others did not stop her from going to school. 

The amount of time she talked about spending advocating the right to education and the dangers she had faced opened my eyes to how many problems there are in the world and how much work it will take to fix them. I am very passionate about animals, and spend time volunteering at shelters over the weekend. Some people believe that animals are not important, and that they don’t matter. However, I think that they are just as important as people, and believe that it is important to protest animal cruelty. 

One way I can raise awareness about this issue is by talking to friends and my community and letting them know that there are problems that need to be solved and more than one person is needed to do it. I can also raise money to help larger organizations who are already combatting this problem. This is related to our Global Awareness project because we are trying to open people’s eyes to the things that happen around us that could be improved if everyone donated their time and efforts to the cause. I can use the project to help others understand what needs to be fixed.

Rashmi, front left, with some of her ELP classmates.

Using Philanthropy for Gender Equality

By: Hannah
Hannah is a participant in Allowance for Good's Autumn 2014 Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy: Explorers class. 

Recently, I have become quite a feminist. Not the stereotypical, angry, hairy-legged feminist, but the person who genuinely believes that the world needs to see men and women as equals. Nothing makes me more disappointed than hearing about the injustices women suffer of a daily basis just by being female. Don’t get me wrong, I have always been in support of gender equality, but only in the past few months have I become so attuned to extent of the problem both local and worldwide.

If I were to be fortunate enough to have a family foundation, I would dedicate it to making the woman’s voice heard through education. I choose education because the only way to make lasting change is by inspiring the next generation. School teaches young girls more than just academics—it teaches them they have a future. It teaches them they have power to do anything they set their mind to and will create the spark needed to for us to obtain true gender equality.

Most of my family foundation’s money would go to help international organizations dedicated to ending the gender gap in places like the Middle East where sexism is most prominent. This is because the money would make the most dramatic difference there, and I would want each penny to be used as efficiently as possible. I would also give to organizations that support women’s health because it is equally important for women to be educated in body and mind. After all, happiness and success are only possible in good health.

The rest of the money would go to organizations that focus on women’s rights in the US because American women experience sexism on a daily basis. We have come a long way, but the end of gender-based discrimination is still far off. One staggering statistic is the fact that females make up fifty percent of college graduates, but only five percent of CEOs. That resonates with me because it points out exactly what we have accomplished and what still needs to be done. It shows we have given girls dreams, but we have not turned them into reality just yet. I think that if women’s rights organizations get the support they need, we have a real chance of creating a tomorrow where no woman is disadvantaged just because of her sex.

Hannah works with her ELP classmates to create their theoretical family foundation.