World of Children unlocks the future for vulnerable children by funding, elevating and educating the most effective changemakers for children worldwide.
Since 1998, the organization has dedicated more than $13 million in grants to high-impact programs for children, led by nearly 120 Honorees working in over 50 countries. World of Children has been recognized by the media as the “Nobel Prize for Child Advocates” and is the only global recognition and funding program that exclusively focuses on a broad range of children’s issues including health, education, safety and human rights.
Each Honoree is fully investigated by an independent, professional global security firm to ensure the work they submit on paper is the exactly the work being done in the field. We are the only nonprofit organization in the world to do this.
We understand that issues impacting children can change drastically as worldly affairs ebb and flow. Our funding model is not issue based, but nimble and responsive to make the greatest impact for the most vulnerable children.
Approximately 25% of our Honorees are based in the United States. The remainder work around the world in more than 50 different countries from Papua New Guinea to Palestinian Territories to South Africa and South America.
The story of World of Children began in 1996 when Co-Founder Harry Leibowitz had an epiphany while he was recovering from cancer surgery at age 55. As he was watching the Pulitzer Prize announcements on TV, he realized that while there was a Pulitzer Prize for art and literature, a Nobel Prize for sciences and peace, and an Oscar for film, there were no awards for those who were tirelessly and selflessly serving children in need around the world.
That realization was a catalyst for Leibowitz. He subsequently founded World of Children and held the first Awards Ceremony in 1998 in Columbus, honoring seven nonprofit leaders and pledging to dedicate the rest of his life to creating a prestigious awards program to support social change makers helping children in need around the world.
Harry met his now wife of 15 years, Kay Isaacson-Leibowitz just before the second annual Awards Ceremony. Kay attended the event as a guest and quickly fell in love with Harry and World of Children. They’ve been on this mission together ever since—galvanizing a robust community of people who have dedicated their lives to giving back.
Both high-level executives, Kay and Harry left the corporate world behind to pursue their philanthropy. Before World of Children, Kay was a senior retail executive for mega-chains including Victoria’s Secret and Banana Republic, and Harry served as an executive at companies like Procter & Gamble and Esmark.
First seven Honorees are recognized in Columbus, Ohio with the backing of a long-term commitment from the Kellogg Company.
News Anchor Leon Harris became our first Master of Ceremonies.
Muhammad Ali published a USA Today article about World of Children, putting our mission in front of a national audience.
Muhammad Ali joins as Honorary Chair. In 2001; he was featured on a World of Children-inspired Kellogg’s box.
Partnership with Cardinal Health was established to fund the Health Award.
First Youth Award is presented to Craig Kielburger, co-founder of Free the Children (now called WE).
Awards Ceremony moves to New York City.
Long-term partnership with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and The City University of New York begins.
Youth Honoree Mackenzie Snyder is interviewed at the Macy’s Day Parade.
Awards Ceremony was held at the Danny Kaye Centre thanks to our partnership with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.
World of Children became known as the “Nobel Prize for Child Advocates.”
Global headquarters moved to California.
News Anchor Alina Cho became our new Master of Ceremonies.
First Advocacy Award presented to Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.
Actress and activist Stephanie March recognized as our first Celebrity Ambassador.
Awards Ceremony moved to 583 Park Avenue.
World of Children’s celebrates 15 years of awarding and funding changemakers for children.
Lauren Bush Lauren, founder of FEED, recognized with our 2013 Advocacy Award.
Co-Founders featured in the Huffington Post as one of five power couples changing the world.
100th first-time Honoree brought to the stage
$1 Million raised at the Awards Ceremony
Actress Marlo Thomas awarded our Lifetime Achievement Award
Co-Founders and Stephanie March traveled to India and Nepal to visit two past Honorees and meet children impacted by our work.
Education Award launched.
Rang NASDAQ opening bell.
New Hero Awards in LA and Golf Tournament in NY.
Protection Award launched.
Together with Youth Honoree Winnifred Selby, we established a joint project with P&G to bring supplies and health education to children in Ghana.
Crisis Award launched in partnership with UNICEF
Lily Aldridge Followill recognized as new Celebrity Ambassador.