founder's story

A Vision Founded in Gratitude

In 2008, Kate left her high-powered career as an attorney and executive at General Electric Company to educate the world’s poorest children. Her personal call to action followed the sudden death of her brother, father and mother in under two years. Her mother’s last words, “I’ve had a great life,” and her father’s lifelong commitment to public service inspired her to begin a journey to define “a great life” that took her across four continents and today motivates her to volunteer weekly in a first grade classroom.


For Kate, her year-long journey was a course in gratitude, gratitude for the majesty of the world evident in Patagonia’s Glaciers National Park, gratitude for the sacrifices of others so evident in Normandy, and gratitude for her own education. But it was the 12 children sharing one pencil in a Tanzania classroom, the young children working under the hot Andes sun, and the children crossing through crocodile-infested waters to get to school in a Zambian village who moved her to action.

Inspired by that gratitude and the lengths to which the world’s children will go for an education, Kate founded School the World in September 2009 to fight extreme poverty at its roots by bringing education to the world’s poorest children.

School the World partners with local leaders to invest in a brighter future, one village at a time. Building schools is only the beginning, creating a sustainable supply of books, training teachers and deeply engaging parents are all part of a detailed strategy to foster a sense of ownership, pride and the value of education. It is a strategy that has earned praise from US AID, Ministers of Education and leading education experts.

Kate also recognized the opportunity to build an interconnected world of future leaders. Through School the World’s Student Service Learning Program, students from the United States take on a commitment to fund education for one village and travel to gain a first-hand view of both the value of their efforts and the challenges still ahead.

Partnering with philanthropic investors who share Kate’s vision of delivering lasting change through education, School the World is growing rapidly. Already, School the World has built 51 schools with 266 classroom libraries in two countries, empowered 4,100 parents as “first educators,” extensively trained 241 teachers and educated 5,568 students.

It was a vision founded in gratitude that led Kate to School the World. It is through men and women dedicated to a better world that this vision continues.