We’re not a charity. We’re a movement.
The buildOn movement is powered by passionate people from all walks of life who are committed to ending poverty through service and education. Together, we’re breaking the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations at home and abroad. Will you join us?
What We Do
Education and service are at the heart of everything we do. Through Service Learning Programs in America’s under-served high schools and by building schools in some of the world’s economically poorest countries, we’re committed to breaking the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations around the world.
Our Service Learning Programs mobilize students in under-resourced urban areas to uplift their communities through intensive local service. We run programs at 30 high schools in six U.S. regions including Boston, Chicago, Detroit, New York, the Bay Area, and Bridgeport, Connecticut.Learn More
We empower villages in some of the world’s economically poorest countries to take the lead in bringing education to their communities. Every two days we’re constructing a new school in eight countries including Burkina Faso, Haiti, Mali, Malawi, Nepal, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Senegal. To date, we have built more than 2,000 schools.Learn More
Meet the People Who Make Our Work Possible
buildOn is powered by passionate people committed to ending poverty through service and education.Our Staff Our Board Diversity Statement
About Our Founder
For 31 years, President and CEO Jim Ziolkowski has led buildOn to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations through service and education. Inspired by his passion for education and service, Jim left a career in corporate finance to found buildOn. More than three decades later, buildOn has empowered hundreds of thousands of youth in the U.S. and provided millions of students with a safe place to learn. Jim is the N.Y. Times bestselling author of Walk In Their Shoes: How One Person Can Change The World and has been featured on NBC’s TODAY Show, CNN, CBS Evening News, PBS, TED, The Wall Street Journal, and NPR.Read More