It was a huge year. You gave your time, resources and heart to our communities and created more impact than ever before.

Take a peek at what we did.


We believe every child should have access to quality education. We create schools, programs and global communities around the common goal of education for all.

Where you start in life shouldn’t dictate where you finish. Through innovation and evaluation, 2015 brought us one step closer to this vision.

Impact Data & Literacy Outcomes

Students Served Year over Year

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Schools Broken Ground on in 2015

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PA stats

PoP 1st & 2nd grade students in Ghana see 23% greater improvement than their peers in pre-reading indicators, as measured by phonemic segmentation.

WI stats

PoP 3rd & 4th grade students in Ghana see 151% greater improvement than their peers in early reading indicators, as measured by familiar word identification.

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PoP 5th & 6th grade students in Ghana see 100% greater improvement than their peers in reading indicators, as measured by reading comprehension.

Teachers supported 2015

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We’re changing the way teachers are trained and supported to ensure that students are learning effectively. Through workshops and coaching, we equip teachers with innovative teaching methodologies and age-appropriate, dynamic materials used to enhance the national curriculum.

Scholarships delivered

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When two members of our NYC Team traveled to Guatemala in June, a special (surprise) moment during a PoP school inauguration left them speechless.

PoP Family

We love our community. From our staff around the world to PoP clubs, campaigners, corporate and foundation partners, we’re able to change the lives of children around the world because of your support.

In June, we welcomed our new CEO, Michael Dougherty, to the #PoPFamily. Michael will lead PoP in our next phase of growth and help us expand our impact.
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Brian, a US Army Veteran & English teacher in Thailand is biking 11,000 miles across the country sharing his story and fundraising for PoP along the way.

A Few of Our 2015 Partners

In 2015, Open Circles Foundation partnered with PoP to build four schools in Laos. The Foundation is affiliated with the for-profit venture Open Circles Academy, an international training organization focused on entrepreneurship. The Foundation got creative while raising the funds to build four PoP schools, working with entrepreneurs from the Academy's training sessions to fundraise, share PoP’s mission with a network of entrepreneurs across Europe.

Our friends at CommonBond believe that business can--and should--be a force for positive change. Through its Social Promise, the company has provided hundreds of PoP students in Ghana with access to quality education. In October, CommonBond CEO David Klein traveled to Ghana with three of their borrowers and two CommonBond employees to see their social promise in action. Our partnership with CommonBond will grow in 2016 and impact even more students in need around the world.

Estée Lauder funded 1 school build in Guatemala and came to the field with PoP in November 2015. In 2016, they’ll expand their partnership with PoP by funding our Teacher Support program in Guatemala.

On Dec. 31st, we held a Match Day where our friends at Windows10 matched all donations made to the Season Of Promise campaign. This initiative (part of the Windows10 #UpgradeYourWorld campaign) raised an additional $204,656.93 towards our SOP goal. In total, 709 donations were made on Match Day - we received 467 transactions, breaking PoP’s all time record for most donations in a single day. This was our most successful Match Day ever. In addition, Windows10 donated funds to support 10 school builds in Guatemala and went on a #PoPFieldTrip to see the impact of their donation and collect tons of great media for the UYW campaign.

Soko partnered with PoP to launch an exclusive jewelry collection with the goal of raising awareness and funds for educational empowerment. They’re donating 20% of every purchase to PoP, in support of school builds in Ghana. The limited edition #SokoxPoP pieces are handmade by Soko artisans in Kenya, using natural and recycled brass.

Thirteen employees from 2U came together and each created a fundraising page to help build a school in Guatemala. In 2015, the group, along with 2U CEO Chip Paucek, took a #PoPFieldTrip to the Boca Costa region to visit one of the three schools the company funded through its employee-run philanthropic efforts.

Across the Globe Children's Foundation partnered with PoP to build two schools in Guatemala in 2015. Members of the Foundation also attended the PoP Gala in October and had a chance to speak with our Guatemala Country Director, Jorge Bolom, about the work PoP is doing in the country. The Foundation will visit Guatemala in July to experience the impact they're creating with PoP. We’re excited to grow this partnership in 2016, particularly by working together to impact PoP students in rural Ghana.

On International Literacy Day, PoP lit up the Empire State Building (yellow, like a pencil) with CBS This Morning host Gayle King to raise awareness of the 250 million children around the world who lack basic reading or writing skills.

In 2015, MoneyGram Foundation gave PoP a grant to scale e-readers to additional schools in rural Ghana. The grant was the first foundation investment in e-readers and catalyzed the scale of tech in PoP classrooms in Ghana. The Foundation is headed to Ghana in March to experience PoP programs and see how we incorporate e-readers in the classroom. In 2016, they’ll focus their impact on helping PoP build infrastructure in Laos.

Foundation Education Actions has been a valued PoP partner since 2014. In 2015, the Foundation helped build two schools and fund student scholarships in Laos. The Foundation also attended the PoP Gala and visited Laos with PoP's CEO in March. In 2016, the Foundation has already committed funds to support girls' scholarships in Guatemala, fund a school build in Laos and support the launch of an innovation fund.

The Eureka Charitable Trust of Marshall Wace has been a valued PoP partner since 2012 when it supported PoP’s expansion into its fourth country of impact, Ghana. Since 2012, Marshall Wace has served as a keen strategy advisor and funding partner. In four years, with Marshall Wace by its side, PoP has opened two offices, constructed over 80 schools and scaled programs to high-need, rural communities in the Volta Region. PoP now has evidence that its programs in Ghana are leading to increased student literacy rates, an outcome PoP achieved in large part due to Marshall Wace's investment in PoP's exceptional local leadership capacity.

We teamed up with Facebook for the launch of Facebook360 which brought PoP’s virtual reality experience to over 7.8 million people. We debuted a VR film, Beginning, at our 2015 Gala, becoming of the first organizations to use virtual reality for social good storytelling. We also became Instagram’s exclusive partner to launch two of their beta products: self-serve and carousel ads.


PoP is not only committed to transparency in sharing our impact outcomes, but also with our financial information.

Donors deserve to know where their money is going. That is why 100% of online donations go directly toward our programs in Ghana, Guatemala and Laos.

Revenue & Expenses

Year over year growth

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2015 Accomplishments

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Our cost to raise $1 in 2015

Increase in Teacher Support, Scholarships and WASH program spending from 2014

Revenue Raised

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Total Expenses

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A Letter From Our CEO

This year was a milestone year for PoP, filled with successes and challenges that would not have been possible to achieve and navigate without your support. In June 2015, I joined the PoP Family and continue to be impressed by the organization’s dedicated supporters.

In the coming year, PoP will focus on creating sustainable, lasting impact by investing heavily in our programs. We will continue to build schools as we deepen programmatic impact to ensure that PoP students have access to quality education and dedicated teachers inside the classroom. This was an overview of the impact we created together in 2015 and a glimpse into 2016 at PoP.

We are extremely grateful for your continued support. Together, we are reshaping the future of global education.
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Michael G. Dougherty
Pencils of Promise CEO

This is just a snapshot of the work we’ve done in 2015. Read the full report to learn more.