Some of these organizations came up with their own original and creative ideas to revitalize arts in underserved sections of cities or fight ebola. Others tapped into the genius of others, and utilized viral sensations like the “ice bucket challenge” to bring awareness to otherwise unknown disease. Regardless of where the innovations came from, certain non-profits spent 2015 creating these innovations to better the world we live in.

Here are my top five favorites:


Direct Relief

Unfortunately, 2015 saw a outbreak of Ebola, which quickly exploded into an epidemic. Spreading from Guinea to Liberia and other parts of Africa, Ebola even made its way to the states when relief workers and doctors returned after aiding in the Ebola crisis. Direct Relief was already operating as a non-profit organization that collected donated pharmaceuticals and medical equipment and sending it out to clinics in need, but in 2015, they went above and beyond. Answering a request from the Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, they created an interactive mapping system to show where the Ebola cases were, where the clinics were, and where Direct Relief had sent protective gear. The mapping system was an innovative solution to the issue of tracking the spread of the highly contagious disease, as knowing its movements is key to destroying its destructive path. 

The ALS Association

As we reflect on 2015 and the social media sensations that came with it, the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” most definitely comes to mind. While it was not an ingenious advertising campaign thought-up by the ALS Association, which works to raise money for research on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the non-profit was quick to embrace the sensation to bring awareness and attention to the otherwise ignored disease. Originally started by ALS patients and advocates, the ice bucket challenge quickly ignited throughout the social media stratosphere, and not only were your next door neighbors uploading videos of themselves dumping buckets of ice water over their heads, but Taylor Swift, Ethel Kennedy, and even Oprah were among the bigger names participating. Bringing significant attention towards the disease, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, in October the ALS Association announced an initial contribution of $21.7 million to expedite research to find treatments and a cure for the disease, $18.5 million of which was designated for four global research projects. All those who participated truly made a great, albeit freezing, difference! 


Stay tuned for part two of this post, coming soon!