Global wealth is higher than at any point in the history of humankind. Meanwhile, nearly 750 million people, nearly one-tenth of the world’s population, live in extreme poverty. COVID-19 will significantly increase this number. If there has ever been a time to disrupt the status quo, the time is now. In 2019, World Connect again saw what is possible when progress starts with local ideas and leadership. With an investment of $663,670 in 153 communities across 25 countries, we saw 92% of completed community-led projects achieve their vital development objectives.

One of the biggest assets that exists within the most challenged communities is resilience. In the miles young people walk to school, in the woman who dreams her whole life to launch a business, in health care providers who deliver babies by flashlight, we see and support resilience. World Connect’s support enables a community to it's their resilience into action that improves health, education, economy, and the environment.

World Connect taps the large reservoirs of resilience and talent in the Global South and turns that potential energy into kinetic energy with catalytic investment. We invest in those with the biggest stakes in their own progress and change. We see capacity where others have often seen only need, we start with a success frame. World Connect matches essential resources with essential spirit and turns resilience into progress.

Letter From Leadership

World Connect Executive Director Pamela Nathenson, Kallpa Warmi Founder Marisol Peñaloza, and World Connect Board Chairman George Biddle in Sayausí, Ecuador. Marisol launched an indigenous women's cooperative that has increased income for its members and launched Marisol's political career.

Dear Friend of World Connect,

In these unprecedented times, when collective action is most needed to fight injustice and advance systemic change, many of us feel lost. We are stranded in place because of the pandemic, psychologically and economically constrained. The pandemic deferred, and in some cases dashed, so many hopes and dreams. Its impact is compounded for communities of color by systems and centuries of inequity.

The theme of our 2019 Annual Report is RESILIENCE because not only do we see it in every community we work in, resilience is the world’s lifeline right now. We won’t glorify resilience because it is hard and often borne out of necessity, but resilience is instructive. When women carry water for miles, students walk to school over mountains and through traffic, and doctors deliver babies by flashlight, they tell us that anything is possible. As we wear masks, adapt businesses, teach our children from home, and join together with our communities to support the most vulnerable, we too see resilience born out of necessity, showing us what is possible.

World Connect launched 153 new projects in 2019. 92% of our partner communities who have completed projects achieved their goals, with many others ongoing and reporting significant success, in spite of the pandemic. As you will read in our first virtual interactive annual report, these projects improved learning environments, kept girls in school, increased water access, launched new women-led businesses, improved food security and the environment, and increased safe deliveries of babies. In addition to the outcomes of these projects, we also celebrate the compound impact of the way we work. By investing directly in local talent, we see new leaders rise, confidence in local capacity grow, and communities uniting to lead their own progress.

We thank our supporters and our implementing partners for your confidence, trust, and collaboration, and we commit to being resilient and backing resilience as we advance development in these challenging times.


George Biddle
Board Chairman
Pamela Nathenson
Executive Director

Board of Directors: George Biddle, Chairman, James Hunt, Treasurer, Stephanie Cabot, Secretary, John Adams, Christoph Becker, Clara Bingham, Courtenay Cabot Venton, Tamala Chirwa, John Coumantaros, Glen Davis, Bill Haney, Chairman Emeritus, Julia Haney, Robert Hecht, Rehmah Kasule, Avinash Kaza, Diane Lifton, Carolyn Makinson, Morag Neill-Johnson, JJ Ramberg, Sean Reilly, Jack Sullivan, Ayanna Wayner

How We Work

World Connect invests in grassroots, locally designed and led projects that drive self-sustaining development in health, education, the environment, and economic opportunity in the most under-resourced areas of the world. We envision a world of equity, where disparities are eliminated and global communities can become independent from aid, demonstrating the strength of human connection and capacity.

Our Theory of Change


Everything starts with communities. What makes World Connect unique is that we know that resilience is a defining feature of our partner communities around the world, not something that they need to build or build towards, but that it already exists in huge supply.

Local Capacity

We believe capacity exists in every community. To achieve success, World Connect identifies and trusts existing community leaders and assets. We center resilience as a defining asset of our partner communities around the world, not something they are lacking but that they already possess in abundance.

Empowered Leaders

Trust and funding convey power. We fund our partners quickly and directly, supporting the joint collaboration of local leaders, groups, and communities working together towards common purposes such as improved health, education, economic opportunity, and environmental protection. This power shift is vital for sustained success.

Compound Impact

The growth in confidence of local leaders is validated by direct funding. Their achievement leads to greater confidence in local capacity, the generation of new ideas, and momentum toward collective action and progress.

2019 Results

153 Communities Funded With $663,670 across 25 countries

145,835 people impacted

3x the number of projects launched in Malawi than in any other country.

Malawi projects comprise 40% of our global portfolio.

Thanks to our field office, Malawi made up 40% of our 2019 portfolio. 25,588 people were impacted.

Scroll to see our results globally...

Global Results

19 school infrastructure projects improved the learning environments for 9,000 students and teachers.

Menstrual health projects in 7 communities kept 6,800 girls in school.

61 newly launched enterprises and cooperatives are increasing financial stability for more than 10,000 people.

2,820 people have improved waste management in their communities.

14,600 people improved their food security and nutrition through improved agricultural practices and technologies.

40,000 people gained access to potable water.

Health clinic renovations and maternity ward construction gave 15,000 people better access to healthcare.

Scroll to learn about a few 2019 projects...

Project Highlights

Indigenous Culture

Trash to Fashion

Fish Farm

Women-led Bakery

Helping Mums

Fighting HIV on the Playground

Our Investors

Thank you to all of our individual and institutional donors who made the project successes of 2019 possible. Whether you traveled with us, supported us, or celebrated with us at our 5th Annual Benefit Dinner, we are grateful and we hope you will stay connected to see the full value of your investment play out over time as communities succeed, grow, and continue to innovate.


2019FinancialStatements(as of Dec. 31)

  • Program Services
  • Management and General
  • Fundraising


Cash $248,333
Contributions Receivable $326,240
Government Grant Receivable $0
Prepaid Expenses $45,413
Other Assets: Website and Logo $186,620
Total Assets $806,606


Accounts Payable and Accrued Expenses $20,110
Grants Payable $19,506
Total Liabilities $39,616

Net Assets

Without Donor Restrictions $563,080
With Donor Restrictions $203,910
Total Net Assets $766,990
Total Liabilities and Net Assets $806,606

Support and Revenue

Contributions and Grants $991,476
Government Grants $518,392
Special Event Revenues $454,947
Donated/In Kind Services $92,011
Other Revenue $32,806
Total Support and Revenue $2,089,632


Program Expenses $1,564,675
Supporting Expenses
Management and General $181,093
Fundraising and Development $289,553
Total Expenses $2,035,321
Change in Net Assets $54,311

World Connect continues to find, foster, and fund resilient leaders in

Donate Now

In 2020, World Connect launched its COVID-19 Response Fund to identify and fund the most pressing needs facing vulnerable communities hit hardest by the pandemic. Since April, we have been deploying funds to support solutions by local visionaries, deepening their communities' resilience during this critical time. Click to support our COVID-19 Response Fund.