Organization Spotlight: A look at who’s fighting poverty on Idealist

Earlier this week, two conferences — the Mashable Social Good Summit and the Clinton Global Initiative — took place here in New York, discussing how we can all come together to address pressing global problems like poverty.

Each day at Idealist, we see people working to address poverty as well; if you perform a search for the keyword “poverty” on Idealist, you’ll find more than 18,000 organizations and opportunities tackling this issue. In recognition of all the organizations fighting poverty across the world, we’ve decided to highlight a few nonprofits that caught our eye here at Idealist.

blueEnergy in San Francisco, CA

Turbine in action (Photo Credit: blueEnergy)

Poverty has many causes, but one of the most prominent is that some people simply don’t have access to resources that other people take for granted. blueEnergy works to provide renewable energy, water sanitation, and other green services to some of the poorest regions of the Western Hemisphere. Take a look at blueEnergy’s program page to see the specific types of gadgets they’re using.


Street Roots in Portland, OR

Nick Fish, Portland, Oregon Housing Commissioner at groundbreaking for homeless resource center on 11.20.09 (Photo Credit:

In recent years, Portland, Oregon, has become a nonprofit hotspot. This could have something to do with the fact that Idealist has an office in Portland, but that’s a free-range chicken or the egg type of problem. Regardless, one of the great nonprofits in Portland that focuses on poverty is Street Roots. Each year Street Roots offers over 250 homeless and low-income people jobs selling their eponymous newspaper. Beyond the newspaper, there is a resource guide for people experiencing homelessness and poverty which covers both Multnomah and Washington counties. If you live in Portland and don’t know about Street Roots, pick up a copy! If you live elsewhere you can still read the online newspaper, which has some great articles.


OpenTable in Concord and Maynard, Massachusetts

Serving all who come to OpenTable (Photo Credit: OpenTable)

The goal of ending poverty in general can seem a little daunting. However, if you focus on solving one of the many problems associated with poverty, even small organizations can make a difference. This is the case with Open Table, a nonprofit operating in Concord and Maynard, Massachusetts. Open Table offers free food to anyone who wants it, but it’s no ordinary food pantry. Once a week at each of its locations Open Table holds a community dinner with a main course, dessert, and coffee. In doing so, OpenTable is moving away from the traditional “soup kitchen” model (think long lines and silence) and replacing it with a more social form of eating is becoming increasingly popular.

Advocates for the Other America in Washington, DC

Finally, as Election Day draws closer and the mudslinging increases, you may be forgiven for thinking that the political landscape in the United States is a little rocky right now. In fact, you may be tempted to write off the entire city of Washington, D.C. Don’t despair! Besides hosting an awesome Idealist grad fair, Washington is also home to Advocates for The Other America. AFTOA is a lobbying firm which represents the interests of low-income Americans. If you’re concerned about the increasing gap between the haves and have-nots in the United States, check out AFTOA see what they’re doing to let politicians know that poverty needs to be a national priority.

How are YOU tackling poverty?

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