We need to pinch ourselves as we recognize that we hosted the first GoPhilanthropic Foundation fundraising event in a loft apartment on a cold night in downtown Rochester, NY, ten years ago. At the end of that evening, we carefully counted generous donations that had been offered to our fledgling project and toasted to having raised our first $5,000 – much more than we had imagined! We couldn’t wait to share the news and grant funds to grassroots partners, whom we could count on one hand at the time.

Now with over 40 partner programs and a vibrant community that has raised well over $3Million since that first event, we have made IMAGINING a central part of GoPhil’s DNA.

As with anything that grows, change is inherent and brings challenges and opportunities to stretch in new ways. GoPhil’s evolution has forced us to be open and flexible and to sway in the wind, yet it has also tested our resolve – to stay strong in the storm. Unbeknownst to us, the past fiscal year would demand just that as the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic took hold both at home and within communities that were already facing difficult odds.

This Annual Report documents how we reacted to our most challenging crisis to date, one we hope not to face again, but where strength and resilience were most evident within ourselves and partner programs. Having already shifted from a Co-Founder and volunteer-led organization to a staff-driven model, we were prepared; we could listen, understand and respond to the critical needs of programs in crisis; our community of donors showed overwhelming dedication by extending their support more than ever during a global time of need, and the Board of Directors committed to hiring a Development Director giving GoPhil even further wingspan to fortify our work. All of these collective actions reveal the depth of GoPhil’s commitment to the vision we held in our hearts and minds during our very first days ten years ago – to create a network of partnerships fostering a shared responsibility in solving global issues.

Lydia Dean, GoPhil Co-Founder & Board Chair



In 2011, GoPhil Co-Founders hosted the first fundraising event and were beyond thrilled to raise the first-ever $5,000 to benefit a handful of grassroots partners.

2012 - 2017

From 2011 – 2017, GoPhil grew slowly and steadily, improving its ability to support an increasing number of grassroots partner programs and regions.


Beginning in 2018, GoPhil began shifting from a Co-Founder led organization to a staff-driven model, making space for new ideas and growth of the GoPhil Community.

2019 - 2020

2019 – 2020 saw dreams come to fruition as the Board of Directors hired a Development Director and part-time staff took over the day-to-day operations of the Foundation.


GoPhil provided grants to 24 partners in 2019-2020, supporting incredible efforts to deliver education, healthcare, and human rights at the grassroots.

Scroll over countries to view partner programs in each region.

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GoPhil entered into an exciting new partnership in 2019-2020, providing a pilot grant to Collaborative Schools Network (CSN) in Nepal. CSN works to transform the quality of public education offered to some of Nepal’s most disadvantaged children. They do so by taking on the management of schools, in partnership with the local government, and implementing a school improvement plan to enhance the quality of teaching, management, infrastructure, and community relations.


With the global COVID-19 pandemic reaching all GoPhil partner countries by April 2020, the need for emergency funds became immediately apparent. Working in such close proximity to their communities meant that GoPhil partners were often the ‘first responders’ when areas went into lockdown and people lost income and livelihoods. On top of having to adapt their regular programs to be delivered in a ‘COVID-secure’ way, our partners were needing to find additional resources to provide emergency support to their communities who often had nowhere else to turn. 

To respond to this overwhelming need, GoPhil launched the Rapid Response Fund (RRF) in April 2020.

GoPhil prioritized rapid response needs from our partners throughout 2020 and has continued to do so. We were able to approve almost all requests for emergency grants – most within 24-48 hours of receiving the request. We also re-purposed many other existing GoPhil grants to partners to allow them to reallocate these funds where they were most needed.


“… GoPhil was the first organisation who proactively came forward and supported… On behalf of the community and Vikalp Sansthan, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

Yogesh Vaishnav, Vikalp Sansthan

RRF grants contributed towards several key interventions, including:

“…From the start of the restrictions, families experienced food shortages and economic struggles. We know that these problems have not been solved and that there is still a long way to go but we are proud to have partnered with these wonderful organizations who risked their own wellbeing to support their communities and bring them what they needed. We are also thankful for all the people that supported these projects.”

• Yessica Pastor, EntreMundos


We would like to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to generous GoPhil donors who made it possible to support partner programs when they needed it most. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the ongoing commitment and compassion of the GoPhil Community lifted the spirits of partners as they addressed the growing needs of their communities.

During the 2019/2020 fiscal year we raised $730,000 and continued to grow the GoPhil Community of global citizens as 115 new donors joined our mission.

“…a huge thank you to [GoPhil] for the work you are doing to support partners through this, even when you’re amidst your own difficulties… In particular, [the GoPhil donors saying ‘we stand with Free To Shine for the long haul,’] moved me to tears, because this kind of real heartfelt support means the world to me right now. That matters. Thank you.”

• Nicky Mih, Free To Shine

Engaging a New Director of Development

Mehdeen Abbasi joined GoPhil in June 2020 and conducted the first-ever comprehensive audit of GoPhil’s development and fundraising activities. Based on the audit and after conducting thorough research, Mehdeen made recommendations to diversify fundraising sources and develop a sustainable stream of revenue to continue to meet the funding needs of GoPhil partners.

Mehdeen brings years of experience working with international non-profits and helping achieve sustainable development and fundraising models for their organizations. She is committed to introducing fresh and innovative approaches to GoPhil while continuing with a personalized fundraising approach to engage donors and to create meaningful partnerships.

“We have seen how GoPhil’s rapid response enabled the launch of creative initiatives – both immediate and sustainable – to address food insecurity and household hardships brought on by the pandemic and ensuing economic devastation. It’s wonderful to be a part of a global community so responsive to the needs of its partner communities and dedicated toward working together for a better world.”

• Robin & Robert Craig, GoPhil Founder’s Circle


Due to COVID-19, GoPhil Travel could not organize additional philanthropic journeys in 2020 after safely returning from India in February 2020. GoPhil Travel helps raise funds to support partner grants when donors meet programs on the frontline. However, we were greatly humbled by the generosity and the overwhelming support of donors as they stood with GoPhilanthropic Foundation and partner programs during these unprecedented times, and we look forward to reimagining what meaningful travel means in a post-COVID world.


Fiscal year revenue reflects a 30% growth over the prior year due to the tremendously successful COVID-19 Rapid Response Campaign.  If we exclude the Rapid Response Funds from our base growth, we show a solid 7% fiscal increase. The everyday challenges and shifting priorities resulting from COVID  and its effect on GoPhil partners impacted the percentage of grants distributed in the fiscal year. Historically, many grants are distributed in June; however, due to COVID, many partners asked for extensions in the grant application process, pushing the execution of these grants into the current fiscal year.

Additionally, with COVID-19 creating new ongoing needs, the Rapid Response Fund was highly active and successful right up to the end of the fiscal year and continued into the current year. 

Note: GoPhil filed a reporting extension for the 2019/2020 tax year to complete a required audit of financial statements and an update to the annual report’s financial section with details will be provided once finalized documents are officially filed.

Total 2019-2020 Grant Funding:
$405,000 USD


After a challenging year that was primarily focused on emergency response, we are looking forward to having time and space to incorporate all of the lessons we learned to build an even stronger and more effective GoPhil. Strengthening efforts to #ShiftThePower to partners and communities and ‘walk the talk’ in terms of supporting community-based philanthropy remains a key priority for GoPhil’s vision. To this end, we created our first-ever Advisory Panel of community leaders from partner programs to ensure that we are giving voice and agency to partners and creating space for them to influence GoPhil’s strategy, processes, and plans.

We are also excited to explore new ways in which to diversify our donor base and to create opportunities to engage existing donors more deeply in our work. Once it is deemed safe – and ethical – to travel again, we plan to reimagine how trips and visits to partners can support GoPhil’s vision to create a global community working to create a more just and equitable world.

All that was accomplished this past year was achieved by not just one person or one entity but by the common bond of working together to create a more just and equitable world. We are beyond grateful for the support of the GoPhil Board of Directors and an ever-growing GoPhil Community for your open hearts and your own resilience and flexibility during these challenging times. We look forward to the new opportunities, new challenges, and bold, new dreams 2021 will bring, and we are proud to face these together.


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