Our 2015 Social Innovation Grantees

We are delighted to announce our January, February and March Social Innovation grantees. This group includes our first two international grantees — organizations based in the UK and Egypt — we look forward to growing Udemy’s Social Innovation program around the world. Read more about our six winners below! Learn more about our grant program here.

Tahrir Academy

Course: “Genetics and Inheritance” (Arabic)

With 4.5 million views on YouTube, this Egyptian nonprofit is revolutionizing access to education through the creation of engaging learning experiences to “stimulate the minds of Egyptian youth, empowering them to think, choose and decide.” They aim to build the biggest Arabic video library to provide educational content to the 13-18 year-old Egyptian youth demographic. Udemy is delighted to partner to expand the depth of their science offerings. With this grant Tahrir Academy will create a course on Genetics and Inheritance. This course will seek to make science more personalized and engaging, helping students understand their own heritage and variations over generations. We all share humanity; however, each of us was born unique with a fingerprint of genetic material. Tahrir Academy’s course will help students connect and stay engaged with science as a potential career path.

Student Hubs

Course:  “Effective Tutoring to Challenge Educational Disadvantage”

Student Hubs’ mission is to support university students to tutor underachieving pupils, inspiring a life-long commitment to challenging educational disadvantage.  Over the last five years they have placed over 850+ tutors volunteering every week in seven UK cities. Udemy is excited to be able to fund and host their course aimed at helping tutors around the world be more effective in the support they can offer, training volunteers in a wide range of teaching skills, including engagement of pupils, use of effective questioning or child safeguarding.  The organization’s biggest barrier to placing more tutors in the community is not finding willing volunteers, but the cost of hosting enough training sessions! Through the creation of this course, Schools Plus will be able to train more tutors, supporting them more effectively in order to achieve their vision of a world in which every child reaches its academic potential.

Organisation of American States

Course:  “Pedagogical Strategies for the Development of Critical Thinking: Toolkit for teaching practice” (Spanish and English)

The Organization of American States or the OAS or OEA, is an inter-continental organization founded on 30 April 1948, for the purposes of regional solidarity and cooperation among its member states. Today, the OAS brings together all 35 independent states of the Americas and constitutes the main political, juridical, and social governmental forum in the Hemisphere.  One of their main lines of action in the Inter American Education Agenda of the OAS is teacher professional development. Teaching teachers about developing critical thinking in students has been identified as one of the needs in the region, training in this strategic area will promote a change in the classroom to improve the education in the Americas. With seven million teachers in the region, OAS is in the position to reach a broad audience.

Urban Age Institute

Course: “Urban Innovation: City Sustainability & Technology Solutions”

The Urban Age Institute works to “foster leadership and innovation between and among cities in areas of strategic urban planning, urban policy, public sector management, sustainable environmental planning, and poverty reduction.” Their course will serve as an introduction to various innovators and initiatives at the bleeding edge of urban sustainability and connected technology. The course focuses on the scaling-up of practical urban solutions in infrastructure, policy, design, equity, technology, energy, mobility, water, finance, and more. The course increases the accessibility of knowledge about innovative urban sustainability solutions, particularly to those working on related challenges, who may not otherwise have the time or resources to participate in industry conferences or undertake relevant professional development.

Community Technology Alliance

Course: Homeless Management Information Systems Data Security

Community Technology Alliance is a nonprofit organization located in San Jose CA. Their mission is to harness technologies to empower communities to develop data-driven solutions to poverty and homelessness. The largest and most extensive project that CTA manages is the HMIS or the Homeless Management Information System for the County of Santa Clara and for several Bay Area Counties for the last 11 years.This HMIS Data Security course is an extension of CTA’s mission to empower because it gives nonprofits and human service agencies around the country the required knowledge and training to properly protect and handle client data. The course will aim to provide considerable saving in time and resources, helping organizations to better serve homeless and vulnerable in their communities.


Course: Effective Presentations for NGO’s (Spanish)

Wingu is an Argentinian nonprofit organization whose goal is to bridge the technological gap in the social sector. All of Wingu’s programs are based on the simple principle of making organizations more self­ sufficient and independent by the implementation of new technologies. Their course aims to help NGOs in Argentina and all of Latin America to develop stronger presentation skills, in order to better convey their messages and inspire action for their particular cause.This course will be produced in partnership with Techsoup Global.

2014 Social Innovation Grantees

It’s been an exciting year at Udemy — we’ve launched our Social Innovation Program and given out $25,000 in grants to support nonprofits creating Udemy courses! Below you’ll find a summary of the year’s grantees and the courses that you can expect in the coming months. Udemy is excited to partner with these great organizations to help scale education around the world.


December Grantees

The Eurasia Foundation is a Washington DC-based group that runs programs equipping citizens to define and achieve outcomes of enduring benefit to their communities. While building the leadership skills of women and young people, they help small business become more successful, local government more responsive and civic organizations more effective and resilient.

The Course: First Steps to Entrepreneurship: From Business Ideas to Actionable Plans

Course Launch Date: March 2015

This Persian-language course will be created for aspiring Iranian women entrepreneurs. It will walk students through the process of turning business ideas into feasible road maps that fit their needs and objectives. The students learn how to leverage their means (interests, skills and relationships) to achieve their entrepreneurial goals. The course encourages creative problem solving and analytical thinking because each entrepreneur’s journey is unique and the entrepreneur should be equipped with these skills to navigate the venture toward success. The course is designed to take into account the unique challenges and opportunities of Iranian female entrepreneurs.

YOUCAN is a Canadian non-profit organization specializing in youth-led methods for non-violent conflict resolution. YOUCAN is run by young people, from our youth board of directors from across Canada, to our volunteer youth teams.  Their mission is to equip youth to engage and inspire others to peacefully resolve conflicts and develop healthy relationships in their communities.

The Course: Restorative Practices: Peace-building in Schools

Course Launch Date: March 2015

This course is designed to help teachers integrate restorative practices into how they approach and resolve conflict in their school community. It also gives teachers the tools they need to train their students in restorative practices so they are better equipped to peacefully resolve conflicts, and develop healthy relationships.


November Grantees

Kiva is non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world. Kiva U envisions a world where all students and educators are empowered with the tools and opportunities to become informed, inspired, and mobilized global citizens.

The Course: Taking Action in a Complex World: Kiva U and Microfinance

Course Launch: March 2015

Students will reflect on action they have taken/can take in their communities and  explore actions taken globally to address poverty alleviation. Students will identify the complexities in taking action on issues of importance and apply this lesson to their own lives.

Upwardly Global is a national US-based nonprofit with the mission of eliminating employment barriers for skilled immigrants and refugees and integrating this population into the professional U.S. workforce. Today there are more than 1.8 million immigrants in the U.S. who are college-educated but are unemployed or significantly underemployed. In their home countries they were engineers, doctors, scientists, accountants, and nonprofit professionals. In the U.S. they become cashiers, nannies, and cab drivers, if employed at all. To solve this problem Upwardly Global creates employer partnerships, provides customized training and support for these new Americans. The outcome is global talent for employers, culturally competent service providers for diverse communities, and family sustaining incomes for those who were previously unemployed or underemployed.

The Course: Leadership Strategies for Immigrants in the U.S. Workplace

Course Launch: March 2015

This course will help students assess their unique leadership skills and challenges, exploring and setting leadership & career development goals. This course will help participants develop strategies to work with different types of colleagues and supervisors. It will also focus on understand the importance of personal branding, internal networking (including Employee Resource Groups), and professional development.


October Grantees

National Environmental Education Fund (NEEF) is the nation’s leading organization in lifelong environmental learning, connecting people to knowledge they use to improve the quality of their lives and the health of the planet. We achieve this by providing knowledge to trusted professionals and other leaders who, with their credibility, amplify messages to national audiences to solve everyday environmental problems.

The Course: Extreme Weather 101

Course Launch: February 2015

This course will equip individuals, families, and communities with the information they need to understand the links between climate change and extreme weather, anticipate extreme weather events, and take steps to prepare in order to protect life and property. NEEF will work with NOAA and interagency collaborators to draw upon information, data, and tools from the Third National Climate Assessment, climate.gov, and elsewhere. This course was recently included as part of the White House Office of Science and Technology’s Fact Sheet: Lifting America’s Game in Climate Education, Literacy and Training.

Art in Action is a Bay Area-based nonprofit focused on building skills, while igniting students’ thinking and creativity by providing engaging visual arts programs through which they learn art history, appreciation, and skills. Art in Action makes the joys of art accessible to all students – particularly students who might not otherwise have access to the types of experiences and opportunities the arts elicit.

The Course: STEAM through Art in Action: Project based learning for young students via Henri Rousseau

Course Launch: February 2015

This course will provide training and insights to teachers and parent volunteers on how to use Art in Action’s visual art lesson inspired by Henri Rousseau to teach STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) concepts like botany, zoology, math and design to kindergarten through second grade students.


September Grantees

Oregon Environmental Council is a nonprofit, non-partisan, membership-based organization. They work to protect the health of every Oregonian, working for clean air and water, a healthy climate, an unpolluted landscape and sustainable food and farms.

The Course: Healthy Homes: Environmental News You Can Use

This course is designed to be easy to understand for any student, parent, teacher or caregiver who wants to know how to create a healthy space to live, work and learn. It’s also great for anyone who suffers asthma, headaches, or other sensitivities to chemicals and wants simple and affordable tips to reduce toxics in your life. Find out why untested and hazardous chemicals came into our lives; how we are exposed to these chemicals; what hazards these chemicals might pose to our health; and who is responsible for reducing toxics and protecting health.

Pebbles for Hope, is a nonprofit committed to helping premature babies around the world survive and thrive. By leveraging the power of media, technology and community to provide education and training to parents, birth attendants, and community health workers, they are working to give premature babies born in low-resource areas an increased chance at survival and the opportunity to lead a healthy life.

The Course: Thrive Guide: Nutrition

Course Launch Date: January 2015

This course will provide mothers and caregivers of premature infants in low-resource areas with  the information they need to properly care for their babies. The course will focus on nutrition and will cover topics such as breastfeeding, introduction of solid foods, vitamin supplementation, overcoming feeding challenges and Kangaroo Care as a means to stimulate milk production.


August Grantees

Four Block Veteran Career Development is a nonprofit organization committed to providing career development and transition support services to returning veterans and their families. The Course: Military Transition & Veteran Career Development, The Right Veteran, The Right Career

The course provides transitioning Post 9/11 veterans with the essential tools needed to jumpstart civilian careers. The goal of the course is to empower veterans to obtain competitive internships and full-time positions that match their interests, attributes and strengths.

Parents for Public Schools assists families and works to ensure quality public schools for all children in San Francisco. They help parents at each stage of the journey, from introducing them to the enrollment lottery process, to developing parent leaders in the schools and at the district, to improving systems at the district level and much more.

The Course: Parents as Partners in Creating Excellent California Public: The Ins and Outs of School Governance and How Schools are Funded

Course Launch Date: January 2015

The course will be available in English, Spanish, and Chinese. Studies have shown that schools with parents who are involved in decision-making and advocacy have higher levels of student achievement and greater public support. In the course PPSSF will teach parents how to get involved in what can often be a confusing system  in order to support their student’s success.


Udemy is excited to partner with these great organizations to help scale great education around the world.

After Veterans Day, Need Ongoing Support for Veteran Career Development

On November 11th we celebrated the 21.8 million veterans living in the United States with department store sales, free coffees, parades and moments of silence. But it’s important that we ask ourselves, how are we supporting and celebrating veterans the other 364 days a year?

With a US Veteran unemployment rate higher than the national average by several percentage points, we must continue to work for equal opportunities for our servicemen and women. There are a host of reasons for this gap — but we must ask, given that our veterans have completed elite training and development, why do unemployment numbers remain so high and what can we do to help?

A recent study from CompTIA found that 27% of active duty military members anticipated it might be difficult to transition their skills to civilian occupations. That number jumped to 47% when you asked veterans who had made the transition if they had difficulty in the switch. The Gallup Wellbeing Index in 2013 indicated that young men in particular struggle after discharge from the military.

Clearly easing this transition point remains essential. Groups like the Four Block Foundation are chipping away at this problem.  Their education program, available through in-person 8-week seminars and free online on Udemy, is designed to give veterans the essential tools needed to jumpstart civilian careers. The goal of the course is to empower veterans to obtain competitive internships and full-time positions that match their interests, attributes and strengths.

Once vets have found employment, there exists the question of how to move ahead and gain new skills. A 2013 report from the Veterans Administration highlighted the need for employers who recruit veterans to devote resources to employee retention through ongoing development and support. The best practices included mentorship, team-building, and continuous learning opportunities.

In order to support our veterans in their pursuit of a diverse range of career goals, Udemy will provide money and a discount for any vet or active-duty service member who wants to take online courses. We hope that this program is a small part of a greater whole, moving towards a veteran unemployment rate dramatically below the national average.

Udemy students taking charge of their own learning

Last month, Udemy commissioned a third-party survey on the skills gap and received surprising results from two population sets – the average worker and the Udemy student. The data showed that 61% of Americans believe there is a skills gap, but do not see themselves as part of the problem. In fact, 95% believe they are qualified or overqualified for the positions they hold. Udemy students, however, answered the questions quite differently which led to encouraging conclusions.

In the vein of Einstein’s “the more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know”, Udemy users are aware of what they don’t know. When asked, “Do you feel you already know everything you need to know to do your current job,” market data encompassing the average worker was at 53.9% while Udemy users were at 58.5%. The poll also presented two other major themes: They are taking their learning into their own hands more than the average student and Udemy students are more independent than the national average – seeking new opportunities and more likely to work for themselves.

When it came to paying for their own online courses to develop specific skills, 56.1% of Udemy students answered yes while only 13.2% of average workers said the same. Udemy students were also 5.4% more likely than the average worker to pursue new job opportunities leveraging their new skills. Udemy users are taking things into their own hands, directing their own learning online to bridge that gap to career success.

In an economic climate where competition is high and opportunities are scarce, everyone is looking to “get ahead” in business and education. Whether or not you believe there is a skills gap, the truth remains that 6.1% of the nation is unemployed while positions are available. Employers repeatedly gripe that finding the right talent remains the greatest challenge — 40 percent of U.S. employers report difficulty filling positions, according to the recent Talent Shortage Survey released by ManpowerGroup earlier this year. The type of skills most in demand? Technical. When asked, “Where is the biggest gap?”, 60.9% of Udemy students were overwhelmingly concerned with technical skills compared to the 32.8% national average. It is also interesting to note that when it came to honesty in applications and interviews, 24.2% of average workers said they overstated their skills versus 17.6% of Udemy students.

Udemy users are aware of their own skills gap and are taking action to upskill. With over 4 million students enrolled in over 10 million courses, the demand for constant skills improvement is there and students are benefiting from the career confidence and growth it brings. When it comes to careers, the poll results indicated that 20% of Udemy students believe they’ll stay in their job for over 5 years versus 48.3% of average workers. This may be because 64.4% of Udemy students want to work for themselves while only 50.4% of average workers are inclined to be self-starters.