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Buying, Selling, & Leasing Can Help Combat Cycles of Poverty Worldwide

Connecting and enabling students and communities around the world, buildOn is leading the effort to break cycles of poverty and illiteracy through community service and education. As a member of Investing In Communities®, buildOn can receive funding as a result of brokered real estate transactions – home sales, home purchases, and commercial leases. $500 has already been raised. When more supporters use this platform, at no cost to themselves, before engaging a real estate agent, buildOn will have more resources to build schools and organize community service and education programs for underserved populations around the globe. 

Driven by the vision of its founder and leader, Jim Ziolkowski, buildOn has received much recognition for its efforts since Jim built his first school in Malawi, in 1992. Networks and publications like PBS and the Wall Street Journal have highlighted the organization as buildOn carries out its mission to combat illiteracy, poverty, and low expectations for impoverished communities. They do their work through the Build-a-School Program, the Prescription for Change Foundation, buildOn US, and buildOn Global. 

Build-A-School Program

Through buildOn’s Build-a-School Program, families, students, and even businesses can set up a fundraising campaign for the purpose of building schools in other countries. Not only do participants in this program get a chance to invest in education for some of the most financially disadvantaged  in the world, but they will actually get the chance to travel across the globe to connect with and work alongside the people that they are helping. 

Prescription for Change Program

Rodan+Fields partners with buildOn through the Prescription for Change Foundation, which has been responsible for connecting dedicated volunteers with buildOn’s programs in the USA and around the world. Entire families and groups of coworkers have traveled and worked together for the good of others because of this partnership.

buildOn US

In major urban areas such as Chicago, New York, and Boston, buildOn serves local highschools by connecting students with community service learning opportunities. The three main service opportunities are: 

  1. Direct Service – Accounting for the bulk of buildOn experiences, these direct service opportunities give high school students the chance to mentor younger kids, serve food to the homeless, or visit senior centers for face-to-face, practical community-service. 
  2. Indirect Service – Though not as directly personal as serving soup to the hungry, this work is equally important, as students clean-up and beautify their communities. 
  3. Advocacy – This is a chance for students to take what they have learned through their service work and encourage other people to get on board to make a difference. 

buildOn Global

Rather than just showing up to build schools in other countries, such as Haiti and Nepal, buildOn Global’s aim is to actually collaborate with the villages receiving the new schools. In order to empower these communities to develop sustainable systems of education and equality, buildOn Global offers:

  • An Adult Literacy Program;
  • Gender equality in education and leadership opportunities;
  • A covenant of ongoing cooperation between the village community and buildOn that the village will take responsibility for the operation and foundation of their education and that buildOn will continue to support them in their efforts. 

Your Purchase, Sale, or Lease Promotes Community Service and Education

At no cost to themselves, anyone who believes in the power of education and community service can turn virtually any brokered real estate transaction into funding for buildON. For example, the purchase or sale of a $300,000 home can result in about $1,300 of free funding. Support their mission by using IIC’s free platform to make arrangements with an agent you already have in mind. Or use IIC to find and choose among real estate agents that are appropriate for the specifics of your residential or commercial real estate needs. Ready to start?

Location: Stamford, Connecticut

Focus Area: Community Development, Education

Budget: $10 million - $25 million

Total IIC Funding:

Want to help this charity with your next real estate transaction?

We respect your privacy and want to make sure you are totally at ease. By submitting, you are sharing your information with us only and we will not share it with or sell it to anyone else. We will contact you by email to get more information about your real estate needs. Then we will provide you with several agents suited to your needs and you may contact them -or not- as you choose. There’s no sales pitch or pressure. It's entirely your choice.


As a tax exempt 501(c)3 organization, buildOn is eligible to receive at least 70% of the referral fee when you use Investing In Communities (IIC) to sign up with ANY real estate broker to handle your residential or commercial property transaction. Referral fees are a common expense paid by brokers only to other brokers for much desired referrals. As a licensed broker with a charitable mission, IIC is able to accept referral fees and pass most of those funds to your charity of choice - at no cost to you.
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