Annual Report

The social justice movement that mobilized during the COVID-19 pandemic made it clear that structural inequity worldwide must end. World Connect has long backed the transformational ideas and energy of grassroots leaders of the Global South. Our worldwide trust network sources talented social entrepreneurs and our tools enable quick and direct delivery of vital resources that bring sustained health, education, and economic impact. The time has come to lean into local expertise for development progress. World Connect’s success year after year, and especially in 2020, demonstrates the power of locally-led development.

“World Connect is a catalytic social investor that truly shifts power, placing proximate leaders in the driver’s seat of conceptualizing and launching their own initiatives on their own terms.”
- Ndidi Nwuneli, Founder, LEAP Africa

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 2020, the world experienced a double crisis – the global pandemic of COVID-19 and the commensurate economic fallout, which slowed progress in reducing extreme poverty in the Global South. Despite the many challenges that World Connect also faced because of the pandemic, our work did not stop or slow. At the onset of COVID-19, we reached out to our partners across the globe who were in the midst of implementing projects, inviting them to pivot their funding to COVID response and relief efforts. We also invited partners to design rapid community preparedness efforts, which we then funded quickly. Within three months, World Connect catalyzed 31 locally-led efforts across 11 countries aimed at providing COVID-19 education, personal protective equipment, and urgent food relief. Our partners built 320 hand-washing stations, made 9,379 masks, distributed 2,280 bottles of hand sanitizer and 3,012 food relief packages, and disseminated accurate COVID health information to 123,161 people.

In addition to funding 31 COVID-19 projects, we launched our usual slate of locally-led development projects. World Connect mobilizes funding and a supportive network for those working at the grassroots to make life in their communities better in the ways they wish. Of the 142 total projects funded in 2020, 64% were led by first time grantees and early indicators are showing high rates of success, consistent with our past global trends. And while the world stood still during the first lockdown, our team in Malawi was able to support the first external evaluation of our work. We amassed more evidence that our approach to finding, funding and supporting grassroots leaders to successfully create change in their communities on their terms, brings communities together, deepens agency and accountability, and builds confidence in leadership. World Connect projects are proving grounds for the local capacity we know exists.

World Connect is grateful to our generous donor community who supported us through the turbulence of 2020. Thank you.


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

By The Numbers

142 projects Funded With $534,280 across 20 countries

145,835 people impacted

63% of projects funded in 2020 were led by women.

50% of projects funded in 2020 were led by youth.

64% of project leaders received grant funding for the first time ever.

64% of project leaders received grant funding for the first time ever.

For every dollar World Connect spent on projects in 2020, our partner communities invested $0.33 of their own resources and leveraged an additional $0.31 of investment from other sources.

Scroll to see our results globally...

Global Results

Better pre- and postnatal and delivery equipment and services for 247,512 women and babies.

69,604 people with new jobs, seed capital, and business training

40,005 young people with new classrooms, libraries, computers, and trained teachers

285,876 people with improved water and toilet infrastructure

34,075 people with more livestock, improved agriculture tools, and farming training

187,935 women and girls impacted

14,928 people saw new trees planted, clean energy transitions, solar installation, waste management improvements, and hydroelectric power creation

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.


2020FinancialStatements(as of Dec. 31)

  • Program Services
  • Fundraising
  • Management and General


Cash $586,665
Contributions Receivable $252,358
Government Grant Receivable $0
Prepaid Expenses $82,955
Other Assets: Website and Logo $165,519
Total Assets $1,087,497


Accounts Payable and Accrued Expenses $82,058
Loans Payable $108,205
Total Liabilities $190,263

Net Assets

Without Donor Restrictions $789,219
With Donor Restrictions $108,015
Total Net Assets $897,234
Total Liabilities and Net Assets $1,087,497

Support and Revenue

Contributions and Grants $1,340,697
Government Grants $489,961
Special Event Revenues $454,947
Donated/In Kind Services $202,500
Other Revenue $16,366
Total Support and Revenue $2,049,524


Program Expenses $1,575,995
Supporting Expenses
Management and General $175,521
Fundraising and Development $167,764
Total Expenses $1,919,280
Change in Net Assets $130,244

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


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