Our organization was born in 1985 as a citizen diplomacy organization working between the US and Russia. For two decades, we collaborated with agencies, individuals, governments, and companies to take on large-scale projects that addressed needs in health, economics, education, and security between our two countries. Two small groups of people a world apart found ways to build a hospital, renovate health clinics, airlift medical supplies around the world with the US Army, train 3,000 doctors and nurses, help in the construction of a chemical weapon deconstruction plant, open hotlines and shelters for domestic violence, start magazines, launch new community organizations, and exchange countless ordinary citizens and students through programs for education, language immersion, arts & culture, community development, and more. We developed a working model for making incredible things happen, and proved that when people, communities, and resources are brought together, even the most impossible ideas can come to life.
As we moved into the 2000s, our world was becoming more connected and more accessible by the day. We saw an opportunity for a shift in our work as communication, interaction, and the challenges we face changed drastically. We wanted to take advantage of exponential growth in technology and an emerging emphasis on design to empower change in new ways.
We began to reimagine what our organization could be, and to begin, we looked to our roots. We had evolved and changed so much from our beginning, but the essence of our work was connecting people and organizations around the world to identify challenges and find ways to tackle them. It is all about making change.
With that concept front and center, we changed our name to reflect a broader scope that wasn’t limited by geography or traditional definitions of development. Then we set to work on creating new programs around a renewed mission of Building Changemakers. We put together a small team of talented folks with new ideas on how to change the world and developed a “Changemaker Formula” that shares the tools for positive impact by connecting global communities, design thinking as a process for problem solving, and deep integration of technology.
In January 2013, alongside some incredibly supportive partners and collaborators, we launched our new brand, new name, and simplified mission: to build communities of Changemakers all around the world. Join us.