Handing out goods such as tents and blankets may not be the most effective way to help those displaced by war or disasters. Refugees may know their own needs best.
As a teen she founded Warm Winters, which has worked with ski resorts, Girl Scouts, and high school ski teams to donate more than 5,000 items of warm clothing to 2,500 homeless people.
Detroit artists Gina Reichert and Mitch Cope bought vacant homes and converted them into a multi-faceted artistic community, including a performing arts center and recording studio.
Hungry goat herds could replace toxic herbicides, controlled burns, and even bulldozers to eliminate invasive phragmites that choke off native vegetation.
Bob Miner's DEW Animal Kingdom & Sanctuary cares for more than 200 animals, many of which once were in zoos or kept as exotic pets.
Leave No Veteran Behind helps pay for veterans' student debts not covered by other military programs, like the G.I. Bill.
Samasource breaks down complicated data-processing projects into small steps that can be done remotely on PCs in countries like Ghana, Uganda, and Haiti.
The Tribal Huks gang have been making approximately 500 sandwiches daily and dropping them off at New Zealand schools. American gangs have responded similarly in the past.
Kailash Satyarthi has taken effective steps toward ending the worldwide exploitation of children, says the head of one of his efforts, Goodweave International.
Farmers in one of the world's least-developed countries are restoring degraded land using innovative techniques to conserve water and soil.
A visit to a poor Thai village alarmed Mr. Akio. Now his Japan-based charity EDF-International helps thousands of children across Southeast Asia.
Over the past decade Libby Weir has adopted a struggling family in South Africa and built them a new home, established vegetable gardens, created a school library, run school vacation activities, and sponsored educational programs for adults.
In Samoa and other Pacific island nations, which risk devastation from gale-force winds, flooding, sea surges, and tsunamis, a return to indigenous building styles could be the key to creating disaster-resilient communities of the future.
Cooperative Home Care Associates has 2,300 workers who enjoy good wages, regular hours, and family health insurance. New York City is investing $1.2 million to encourage more co-op businesses.
Incomes haven't improved everywhere over the last 20-30 years. But quality of life has improved everywhere, argues researcher and journalist Charles Kenny.
In an effort similar to an old-fashioned barn raising, scores of people from Lincolnville, Maine, contributed their materials, labor, and know-how to create a privately funded library.
The goal: Create software so exciting to use that kids will want to teach themselves to read and do math.
The award-winning Broadway playwright, director, and producer spent six years carefully preparing exhibits for the new National Center for Civil and Human Rights.
Award-winning photographer Carol Allen-Storey traveled the length and breadth of Rwanda and found a new generation dedicated to forgiveness.
Community-focused citizen efforts can be effective ways for people to help each other, from housing the homeless to relieving debt to sharing goods or services.