Holiday Impact Prize 2021 logo

Nicholas Kristof’s 2021 Holiday Impact Prize

Supporting little-known organizations working to make the world a better place.

Since 2009, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and former New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has written an annual “holiday gift guide” column to bridge a philanthropic gap: readers who wanted to help but didn’t know how, and heroic individuals and organizations who desperately needed resources but were off donors’ radar. The column has helped raise the profiles of organizations that work on the very issues he covers in his journalism—health, education, human rights and women’s rights, both domestically and abroad. Read Kristof’s 2021 column in The Washington Post.

For the third year, the guide continues to offer an exciting twist: a $150,000 Holiday Impact Prize that Kristof awards to the nonprofits he showcases. Kristof’s 2021 column highlights a $100,000 grand prize winner and two runners-up receiving $25,000 each, in addition to two volunteer opportunities with organizations changing their communities through service.

The 2021 Holiday Impact Prize is a call to action for others to join in supporting Kristof’s appeal. All funds raised by January 31, 2022 will be pooled so that these remarkable organizations can accomplish the impacts outlined below. And individuals expressing interest in volunteering will be linked to program representatives in their communities for follow-up.

Donation Opportunities

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Seva Foundation

Restore Sight and Transform Lives

The World Health Organization has stated that restoring sight is one of the most cost-effective interventions to reduce poverty. Seva Foundation is a global non-profit organization that works with local communities to develop self-sustaining programs that preserve and restore sight in areas with little to no access to eye care services. Since 1978, Seva has provided surgeries, eyeglasses, medicine, and other vital eye care services to over 46 million people in more than 20 countries, with a focus on women, children, and indigenous populations, including Native Americans in the U.S.

More than half the world’s blindness is caused by cataracts, a condition that can be reversed through a simple 15-minute procedure. Seva has reduced its average program cost of cataract surgery to just $50–including both materials and surgical staff required.

Your contribution to Seva has a powerful ripple effect. Restoring one person’s sight gives two people their lives back: the person who was blind and their caregiver. When more people are able to lead healthy, productive lives, entire communities have a chance at a better future.

Learn more about the Seva Foundation

Panzi Foundation

Empower Survivors of Sexual Violence

Panzi treats thousands of women every year who have been raped as a result of the ongoing conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Panzi was founded in 1999 by Dr. Denis Mukwege, an OBGYN who wanted to provide pregnant women with a safe place to deliver their babies. Many of his first patients, however, were not soon-to-be mothers, but instead women and girls who had been brutally raped by armed militias. To help them rebuild their lives, Panzi developed an innovative holistic healing model that combined medical treatment with therapy, legal services, and job-skills training.

Panzi has served more than 85,000 women and girls suffering from rape- or birth-related complications. It has earned a global reputation of excellence for treatment of sexual violence, and as a place where patients and victims transform into survivors. Your donation supports their work to empower women, restore the rights and dignity of survivors, expand access to holistic care, and end the use of rape as a weapon of war.

Learn more about the Panzi Foundation

Per Scholas

The Right Career Changes Everything

Across the country, millions of people in major metropolitan areas have at least a high school diploma but earn less than $25,000 a year. Yet, those same areas are home to 2.4 million well-paying tech jobs, many of which are unfilled.

Per Scholas, a national non-profit, prepares individuals traditionally underrepresented in the tech industry to work in high growth careers by offering tuition-free training in 15 weeks or less.

Learners can choose from a variety of courses designed in concert with employer partners to match hiring needs. Tuition-free training combines business professional skills development with hands-on technical instruction, offering nationally recognized certifications and exams at no extra cost. Per Scholas provides continued upskilling and career coaching for up to two years to all alumni after graduation.

Learn more about Per Scholas

Volunteer Opportunities

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Big Brothers Big Sisters of America

Restore Sight and Transform Lives

For over a century, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America has been making meaningful, professionally-supported matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and youth (“Littles”), ages five through young adulthood nationwide. These positive one-to-one mentoring relationships have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people, helping them achieve higher aspirations, greater confidence and better relationships.

Professional staff from the organization carefully build and support each match, striving for connections that are not only safe and well suited to each Little’s needs, but also harmonious and built to last. As a result, Littles are empowered to ignite their potential as they grow in their self-esteem, earn better grades, and develop a lifelong friendship with their Big.

When you volunteer with or donate to Big Brothers Big Sisters, you are empowering a young person’s potential. Every contribution has a positive impact on the lives of young people in your community, and communities across the country.

Learn more about the Seva Foundation

Reading Partners

Unlock Limitless Potential Through Reading

When students read on grade level by fourth grade, they become well-positioned to graduate from high school and access higher education. Reading Partners, a national non-profit, mobilizes community volunteers to provide students with one-on-one tutoring sessions, either in person or online, to help them achieve grade-level reading by fourth grade using a proven, individualized approach.

Over the past 22 years, Reading Partners has delivered more than 2.3 million tutoring sessions to nearly 70,000 K-5 students. During the 2020-21 school year, Reading Partners delivered 110,914 tutoring sessions with 94 percent of sessions carried out online. And despite educational disruptions due to the pandemic, more than three quarters of all Reading Partners students met or exceeded their primary literacy growth goal.

Volunteers empower students facing economic hardships and/or systemic racial injustice to build a strong academic base, setting them up for future success. Become a volunteer or donate to help students unlock their limitless potential.

Learn more about Reading Partners

Frequently Asked Questions

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Yes, your donation is tax deductible in the United States. You will receive an acknowledgement letter via email immediately after you submit your donation.

Due to the overwhelming response from donors, we are only able to accept donations via credit card or ACH transfer. Donors interested in providing financial support of $10,000 or more, including donors giving via Donor Advised Funds, can make a pledge using the “Donate” link above and select “check” for the payment method to receive payment instructions. We are unable to accept other donations outside of our website at this time.

This charge will appear on your credit card statement as: “”.

Donations through this website will be closed on January 31, 2022. Donors will still be able to support individual honorees outside of this initiative by following the “learn more” links at the end of each organization’s introduction above.

There is $10 minimum for credit card donations.

Please download and use this fillable pdf (see tribute instructions here) that you can email as an attachment or print to give to a friend or loved one. Due to the volume of transactions being processed, we are unable to send acknowledgements directly to honorees.

We do not have an internal way to process such a request. We suggest you contact your friend or loved one prior to making a donation and return to our site to process the gift after you have determined their wishes.

Additional information on Focusing Philanthropy is available in our 2020 annual report and introductory video.

To learn more about the 2021 Holiday Impact Prize grand prize winner and runners-up, links to subscribe to their email lists are included in the tax acknowledgement email/receipt triggered by a donation.

After making your donation, you will receive a formal tax acknowledgement you can share with your employer with hopes they will make a matching contribution through this site. We do not otherwise have the ability to provide additional support for verifying matching donations.

A donor graciously offered to cover all credit card and processing fees for this initiative, so 100% of your donation will support the impacts outlined above.

Please check your spam and junk folders. The tax receipt is autogenerated and emailed to you from If you are still unable to locate it, please contact us.

Due to the high volume of requests we receive of this nature, we are unable to consider inbound suggestions or applications for financial support or other forms of promotion, however worthy the organization. We regret that we are not able to respond to such overtures.

We are unable to automatically generate recurring donations for this initiative.

Please direct all media inquiries to our contact form.

Focusing Philanthropy is a nonprofit that has partnered with Nick solely with respect to the Holiday Impact Prize in support of initiatives of admirable nonprofits worthy of financial and volunteer support. We do not have any affiliation or connection with Nick’s political campaign, and take no position in any partisan political contest. We do not have contact information for the campaign.

Since 2009, Nick has been fortunate enough to have his annual giving guide published in The New York Times, but since he has resigned from that paper to pursue his campaign for governor of Oregon, he is grateful to have the opportunity to run this year’s gift guide in The Washington Post.

Focusing Philanthropy Logo

Focusing Philanthropy is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that believes donations should be made with the same level of strategic intent, information, and confidence as other investments. The organization targets serious human challenges that individual donors can successfully address, chooses tactics that are demonstrably effective, identifies confidence-inspiring implementing partners, conducts ongoing monitoring, and assures substantive reporting. These services are provided free to both donors and partners in an effort to scale interventions that work. Donations are fully tax deductible, and Focusing Philanthropy covers all administrative costs and replenishes credit card transaction fees so that 100% of funds contributed go to implementing partners.