We educate children and empower girls globally.

"Education is a powerful driver of development and one of the strongest instruments for reducing poverty and improving health, gender equality, peace, and stability....It is a simple fact. Educating girls is the most powerful and effective way to reduce global poverty." World Bank 2017

We believe that every child deserves the gift of education.

We support grassroots educational initiatives that provide education to all children, increase opportunities for women and girls and emphasize service to the community. Our goal is to alleviate global poverty and support community-led transformation so that no child ever goes to bed hungry, is lost to preventable diseases, or is deprived of the gift of education for lack of resources.

In 2020, with transition to online education, we supported the education of 2,286,575 students in 19 projects in 12 countries including US, Haiti, Panama, Brazil, India, Vietnam, China, Mongolia, Gambia and Sierra Leone.

Mona Foundation currently sits on the Brookings Institution Center for Universal Education Leadership Council and is an approved UN Non-governmental Organization (NGO).  Notable recognitions include 2021 Catalyst2030 Award finalist as an “Accelerator of Systems Change,” 2019 Gratitude Network Fellow, Microsoft Alumni Foundation Integral Fellow , Jefferson Award of American Institute for Public Service, and the Drucker Institute for non-profit innovation.

Our Focus Areas

Universal Education

The World Bank data amply demonstrates that education is one of the most powerful instruments for reducing poverty and inequality and lays a foundation for sustained economic growth.

Gender Equality

Investing in women is often found to be the most effective means to reducing poverty everywhere. World Bank data demonstrates that gender equality and economic development are inextricably linked.

Community Building

The individuals most effected are those most ready to affect change. They are the most capable of analyzing and defining community needs, respecting cultural values, and leading sustained positive change.

Meet our team

Mona Foundation Board of Directors, Board of Advisors, and staff have diverse expertise and extensive field experience. We are committed to the principles of justice, equality and service to community.

Our reports and guidelines

Mona Foundation Annual Reports show the impact we are making with your support. Our guidelines show how we select and adopt our partner projects and support them long term to ensure lasting impact.


Read our FAQ to learn more about who we are, the principles of sustainable social and economic development that guide our work , and why we advocate for universal education, with special focus on women and girls.

Education Transforms Lives and Communities

Read how your support of Mona Foundation transforms the lives of thousands of students, their families, and their villages through education.

Learn More

Learn How We Work

Your support impacts the lives of thousands of students, teachers, and parents every year.


Our History

The Mona Foundation was founded in 1999 by a small group of people who had experienced the despair of poverty firsthand and witnessed the power of education to transforms lives. Our goal is to alleviate global poverty so that no child ever goes to bed hungry, is lost to preventable diseases, or is deprived of the gift of education for lack of resources. We believe that universal education, gender equality, and community-led transformation are key to alleviating poverty.

Our approach is to partner with grassroots educational programs that provide education to people of all backgrounds, empower women and girls, and emphasize character education and service to the community. Since inception, Mona has awarded more than $11 million to 42 educational initiatives in 20 countries. In 2019, with your support, we provided access to quality education for 429,921  students through 19 projects in 12 countries.

All Mona Foundation activities focus on these three areas:

Universal education

Everyone deserves the opportunity to receive a quality education. The World Bank data confirms over and over again that universal education is one of the most powerful instruments for reducing poverty and inequality, and creates a foundation for sustained economic growth.  Educated communities are healthier, more sustainable, and less vulnerable to economic volatility.

Gender equality

Providing equal educational opportunities to girls and women yields a higher rate of return than any other investment that can be made in the developing world. Equality not only guarantees basic rights, it enables girls and women to have a voice and equally participate in the development of their own communities.  It is also vital to promoting the robust, shared growth needed to end extreme poverty. World Bank data demonstrates that gender equality and economic development are inextricably linked. Studies show that providing educational opportunities specifically for girls and women has a direct effect on a nation’s economic development.

“Educating girls is the most powerful and effective way to reduce global poverty.”

Community development

A core value of Mona Foundation is the belief in Oneness of Humanity.  In practice, this means that we believe all people have the right, capacity, and responsibility to lead the development of their own communities and contribute towards a just and prosperous society. The individuals most effected are the ones most ready to affect change. Supporting communities in their own self-advocacy promotes empowerment, rather than dependency. Many students we support work with their communities to establish literacy programs, women health centers, parent training, cleanliness drives, tree plantings, and many other programs that foster harmony and build strong communities.




Who is Mona?

Mona is our Malala, although Malala lived after the attempt on her life, and Mona did not. Mona Mahmudnizhad was 17 years old when she was arrested and later executed in 1983 in Iran for her beliefs as a Baha’i and for teaching children’s classes. Mona loved children and volunteered in an orphanage since she was 12 years old. She was also an outspoken defender of human rights and wrote a high school essay on “Freedom.” Because of her beliefs, her service to children, and her outspoken nature, Mona was arrested, with charges ranging from “misleading children and youth” to being a “Zionist”, and then executed after nine months of imprisonment.  Her youth, courage and commitment to education, service, and social justice inspired us to name the foundation after her.