7 Vital Organizations That Confront Poverty

Poverty affects people all over the world, and it can cause everything from crippling debt to severe health problems. That's why the organizations listed here are devoted to confronting this issue. Through research, advocacy, and direct action, these groups work to reduce inequality and make life better for disadvantaged people. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Groups That Work To Help The Poor

Organization Mission
Innovations for Poverty Action Discover and promote effective solutions to global poverty problems
Purpose Built Communities Guide neighborhood revitalization by creating pathways out of poverty for the lowest-income residents, and building strong, economically diverse communities
Inspiration Corporation Help people who are affected by homelessness and poverty to improve their lives and increase self-sufficiency through the provision of social services, employment training and placement, and housing
Grameen Foundation Enable the poor, especially women, to create a world without poverty and hunger
TechnoServe Work with enterprising people in the developing world to build competitive farms, businesses, and industries
Bridging Provide quality furniture and household goods to those transitioning out of homelessness and poverty
Center for Global Development Reduce global poverty and inequality through rigorous research and active engagement with the policy community

Ways You Can Help The Poor

  • Support organizations like the ones listed above
  • Stay informed on issues that affect vulnerable populations
  • Call your Congressperson and let them know where you stand
  • Donate items like clothes and shelf-stable food to a local organization
  • Raise awareness on social media
  • Volunteer at a local shelter or soup kitchen

5 Documentaries About Poverty

  1. Poverty, Inc. (2014)
  2. Bombay Beach (2011)
  3. Solo, de wet van de favela (1994)
  4. The End of Poverty? (2008)
  5. The Fourth World (2011)

Rising Poverty in the American Suburbs

In Depth

On every continent around the world, poverty continues to be a particularly intractable problem. Having a variety of causes, including isolation from existing markets and difficulty accessing education and securing housing, financial inequality is one of the defining issues of our times. If you want to learn more about what's being done to level the playing field in local communities and on a global scale, then here are, in no particular order, seven vital organizations that confront poverty.

At #1 is Innovations for Poverty Action, founded in the early 2000s by Dean Karlan, who initially ran the organization out of his living room. With its headquarters in New Haven and additional offices in New York and Washington, D.C., I.P.A., a research and policy nonprofit, seeks to discover and disseminate effective solutions to global poverty problems. From its humble beginnings, the organization has expanded greatly and has, since its inception, teamed up with over 600 leading academics in fifty-one countries.

I.P.A. has a two-step approach that underscores its core philosophy. First, it creates high-quality evidence through randomized evaluations that test the effectiveness of programs and policies aimed at alleviating poverty. Second, it uses the evidence from its evaluations to improve these programs and policies, often by sharing its results with decision-makers. Those who are interested in supporting I.P.A. can make donations through its website or can designate it as their chosen charitable organization on AmazonSmile.

First, it creates high-quality evidence through randomized evaluations that test the effectiveness of programs and policies aimed at alleviating poverty.

Coming in at #2 is Purpose Built Communities. With its roots in community development efforts in the East Lake neighborhood of Atlanta during the 1990s, the non-profit consulting firm was established in earnest in 2009. Its central mission is to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty, focusing not only on the more than 43 million impoverished Americans, but also the growing population of people considered to be low-income.

Purpose Built Communities takes a holistic approach based on quality and sustainability to its work, which to date has reached cities from Omaha to Orlando. It often teams up with a local nonprofit that functions as the community quarterback, and together they collaborate to target improving three main areas: mixed-income housing, educational opportunities, and community wellness. If you want to learn more about the organization, you can sign up to receive monthly updates on its website or can check out its recently launched "This is Community" podcast.

In the #3 spot is Inspiration Corporation, founded in 1989 in Chicago by Lisa Nigro, a police officer who wanted to form a deeper connection with the people experiencing homelessness whom she encountered. Since then, the organization has continued providing its services to the community, seeking to improve the lives of the homeless and those living in poverty in a dignified and respectful manner. Today, Inspiration Corporation runs a variety of programs and services aimed at improving self-sufficiency, including housing, meals, and job training, particularly in the restaurant sector.

Since then, the organization has continued providing its services to the community, seeking to improve the lives of the homeless and those living in poverty in a dignified and respectful manner.

One specific service the organization offers is Inspiration Kitchens, a free twelve-week program for low-income individuals where participants can gain certifications and are able to cook in an actual restaurant open to the public. Elsewhere, Inspiration Cafe, the organization's first program, serves hot meals to residents of Chicago in need every day of the year. More than 1,000 volunteers work at the cafe annually. To support Inspiration Corporation, consider becoming one of the aforementioned volunteers or donating material goods like non-perishable foods and school supplies.

At #4 is the Grameen Foundation, a global nonprofit that aims to empower the poor, particularly women, to combat poverty and hunger. Established in 1997 and inspired by the work of Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, a microlending advocate, the Grameen Foundation connects poor rural women to critical financial, health, and agricultural products and services. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., it now has a direct impact in poverty elimination in sixteen countries worldwide, including seven countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Overall, the Grameen Foundation strives to create empowering ecosystems for women, which include the sharing of information and expertise, the development of avenues that link poor communities to existing marketplaces, and the promotion of peer support networks. It also has created an array of products and services for other organizations dedicated to ending poverty and hunger. To date, more than twenty-three million people have accessed its financial services. Those who are interested in supporting the foundation can sign up to receive a monthly newsletter and a photo of the week, or can enroll in Bankers without Borders, its main volunteering initiative.

To date, more than twenty-three million people have accessed its financial services.

At #5 is TechnoServe, launched in 1968 by a businessman named Ed Bullard after a trip to Ghana exposed him to the harsh realities of poverty. A shorthand for "technology in the service of mankind," TechnoServe helps impoverished people by linking them with information and market opportunities. Since its founding, the nonprofit has extended its reach across Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and in 2018 alone, its work helped transform the lives of over 2.3 million people in twenty-nine countries.

TechnoServe focuses its efforts on collaborating with resourceful people in developing countries to create farms, businesses, and industries that, in turn, provide jobs and income in poor communities. Furthermore, it bolsters business environments and encourages self-sustaining economic activities by promoting policies and incentives that lead to smoothly operating markets. Those who are interested in supporting the organization's mission can apply to become fellows on short-term projects or can sign up as "Partners in Prosperity," making monthly donations to ensure the continued success of TechnoServe.

Coming in at #6 is Bridging, which was founded in 1987 and gives donated furniture and household items to people in the Twin Cities as they escape poverty and homelessness. Under its slogan of "We furnish homes with hope," Bridging serves more than 4,500 households and eliminates approximately 10 million pounds of landfill waste on a yearly basis.

The nonprofit accepts goods at its two warehouses in Bloomington and Roseville, Minnesota, and it also has a pick-up service for nearby donors. To reach as many people as it can accommodate, Bridging has partnered with nearly 150 external agencies that refer clients to its furniture-providing services. Those who wish to support Bridging can volunteer at or take a tour of one of its warehouses, participate in its annual Bedrace, or donate gently used furniture and home goods, such as beds, tables, and chairs.

Last but not least, in the #7 spot is the Center for Global Development, which aims to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life for people in developing countries. Founded in November of 2001, CGD uses cutting-edge economic research to influence the policies set forth by key decision-makers around the globe. In its efforts to alleviate poverty, the center homes in on a few key research areas, including global health policy, sustainable development finance, technology and development, and migration, displacement, and humanitarian policy.

As a self-described "think-and-do tank," CGD produces high-quality research and evidence-based policy recommendations to a wide variety of stakeholders, from national governments to global institutions. In the past, the center has received funding from groups like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Open Philanthropy Project. Experts at CGD release numerous publications every year, and the organization has its own podcast and blog, which are both frequently updated. If you want to support the Center for Global Development, consider making a one-time donation, becoming a CGD Society member, or joining its Partners Council or Legacy Society.