Founder, 264.education e.V.
Honoree Year: 2021
University of Mannheim
University of Mannheim Business School
Area of Impact:
Education or Academe
Because 264 million children worldwide do not go to school and are deprived of the human right to an education, Christoph Findelsberger founded the “for-impact” organization, 264.education. Its mission is to provide children with a fair chance in life by building and staffing schools in developing countries. The organization partners with local visionaries to ensure that community empowerment is led by locals and is effective and sustainable. It also ensures financial and qualitative long-term support, enabling a sustainable transformation of the communities.
In addition, the NGO focuses on recruiting volunteers as well as donors who want to actively engage on an individual level in the United Nations’ Sustainability Development Goals, such as education and poverty reduction. The organization not only welcomes donations but also gives individuals the opportunity to volunteer onsite to help build schools and teach students in their classrooms.
Through 264.education, Findelsberger introduces the entrepreneurial/business mindset to the NGO world, running it like a for-profit rather than a nonprofit business. Combining knowledge from his business studies at the University of Mannheim Business School with hands-on experience as a full-time management consultant, he breaks new ground in the NGO world, which is often criticized as inefficient and bureaucratic. He defines 264.education as a “for-impact” organization—maximizing the impact of every euro donated, while giving full transparency on the use of donations.
Through efficient processes and leveraging innovative and digital solutions, 264.education can achieve an overhead cost ratio of only 2.9 percent, compared to that of 40 percent for some major, well-known nonprofit organizations.Since the launch of the organization in 2018, Findelsberger and his team have enrolled364 children in school, provided 31 local teachers and support staff with jobs and monthly income, raised approximately 150,000 EUR (about 182,000 USD) in donations, and established two schools in Nepal and one in Uganda.
Findelsberger is also a full-time management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group, where he focuses on sustainability and innovation. He helps large corporations find cutting-edge solutions to become more environmentally friendly and sustainable.
Findelsberger and his organization strongly believe in the power of local leadership to end poverty and create a better future for themselves.The 264.education team has launched programs in Nepal and Uganda to empower local women and provide them with marketable skills in communities where they face tremendous inequality and are highly dependent on men. By offering tailoring or hairdressing courses and providing workshops on setting up a small business, the organization gives rural women the confidence and expertise to earn extra income in the local market and become more independent from their families.
The NGO also provides internet and computer classes for teenagers in rural areas who, in most cases, have never touched a laptop or explored the web. Operating a laptop and navigating the internet opens the door to a new world of knowledge and allows students to research information they can use on their family farms and in their villages. Skills such as knowing how to improve crop yield or build an electricity-generating windmill will help them develop their future.