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Our Approach

We apply an uncommon strategy to our work. Many foundations are seed funders, supporting projects that have a beginning and an end. Instead, Mona Foundation develops long-term relationships with locally operated organizations and provides multi-year funding (six years on average).


The last 50 years of international experience has shown that development is not a package that can be delivered by the “developed” to the “underdeveloped,” but rather a process in which entire populations must, in one way or another, participate. As Bill Gates has stated, “I’ve seen first-hand that local knowledge is critical.” Mona Foundation works to identify promising local educational initiatives at the grassroots and to accompany them long-term to help them put their plans into action. We acknowledge the innate capacity and inherent right of all peoples to become leaders in the process of their own development. The effect of this strategy of long-term accompaniment has been dramatic. Several of our partner projects have been built from quite humble beginnings to full-fledged, effective, and well-recognized educational institutions.

What Differentiates Mona?

Mona Foundation believes that all individuals and communities have the capacity, the right, and the responsibility to fullly participate in the social and economic development of their communities. Mona supports educational programs that offer holistic education to develop academic, creative and moral capabilities of their participants and transform individuals to become agents of change in service to their families and communities. Visible change happens in all the projects we support because:

1. Careful selection

Mona Foundation has a track record of selecting grassroots educational initiatives with a proven record of success, backed by the local community. As part of our careful vetting process, we visit each site to help ensure the program is making progress towards its objectives.

2. Long-term commitment

We apply an uncommon strategy to our work. While many foundations are “seed  funders, ” supporting projects that have a beginning and an end, we develop long-term relationships with educational programs and provide them multi-year funding (six years on average and some for 10-12 years).   Long-term funding provides stability and enables the project to grow systematically. The effect of this strategy has been dramatic. We have helped several partner projects grow from humble beginnings, like an orphanage or a kindergarten with 2-3 students,  to recognized educational institutions, including three that are now universities.

3. Local partnerships

We find locally operated programs that educate people of all backgrounds and focus on academic excellence, character education and  improving the status of girls and women. Mona Foundation believes that sustainable development is a process of building capacity at the grassroots where local people own their own development.  They consult on community issues,  make and implement plans, reflect on results, and apply learnings to the next phase to ensure progress year over year.  This is the only way we know how to break the destructive cycle of dependency and enable lasting prosperity in communities. 

4. Universal access to education

Education’s unique power to transform lives can only be fully realized when it is holistic, universal and equitable. Mona Foundation partners with organizations that support education for all using a gender inclusive approach to ensure that girls  – supported by educated men and boys - regardless of their income, location, ethnicity - have equal access to schooling, and equally participate in all aspects of community life, Including social and economic development initiatives.

5. Your Impact

With our long-term funding model, Mona Foundation has a track record of selecting viable, effective educational programs with strong community support, which makes your money go further. You can donate to one program or to several and be confident that 85 percent of your donations go directly to the projects that Mona Foundation supports.


Our communities

Every day, hundreds of committed educators do the hard work of community development to build capacity at the grassroots so that each child will become the change agent in the sustained transformation of own communities. Many are very well known. Others are the unsung heroes who quietly give their all in service to others so that someday no child is deprived of the gift of education. We will be introducing you to each in the coming months.

PROFILE OF THE MONTH: Dr. Urvashi Sahni, is the executive director of Digital Study Hall who in the past 20 years has dedicated her life to the well-being of thousands of marginalized girls in India.

Our people

The Mona Foundation Board of Directors, Advisory Board, staff, volunteers, or organizations that provide us with their pro bono professional services, are committed to the core values of justice, equality, and service to all as the essential pre-requisites to building a better world for all of our children. We are inspired by their example and in the months ahead will be featuring several of them here so their exemplary service can also inspire you.

PROFILE OF THE MONTH: Teresa Taylor was one of the first donors to the newly formed Mona Foundation in 2002. Since then, she has been supporting Mona in a variety of ways including most recently as our chief content editor.