In Partnership With the United Nations Foundation

Social Problems

The CLASSY Awards have always existed to recognize the most impactful achievements made by social good organizations worldwide.
But to truly capture what makes an organization impactful, we knew we had to dig deeper. To determine the award categories for this year's CLASSYs, we honed in on the largest social issues facing the global community. Understanding these global issues will allow us to clearly identify the scope of problems being addressed by nonprofit programs, and then understand their progress towards solving those issues.
First, we identified eight major cause sectors, which will serve as this year's National CLASSY Award categories. Next, we broke those cause sectors down into the general focus areas of nonprofit programs. We will be recognizing the winners of each focus area with honorary mentions in the CLASSY Awards Ceremony Program. Lastly, we identified the specific social problems relevant to those focus areas. In order to choose the appropriate National Award Category, consider which social problem your program is addressing. The bullets should serve as your guide.

Active Duty & Veteran Services

Active Duty and Veterans Services programs provide support and resources to the specific population of brave men and women that have risked their lives to protect their country.


Active Duty & After-Service Support

Active Duty and After-Service programs address problems that arise during and after service, and provide both immediate and long-term solutions. Short-term, they address unemployment, homelessness, disability and reintegration. Long-term, they address PTSD as well as strive to create new missions or opportunities for Veterans in need of a renewed purpose.

  • Difficulty Communicating with Families
  • Difficulty Finding a New Mission
  • Difficulty Transitioning into Civilian Life
  • Financial Hardship
  • Financial Struggles during Deployment
  • Homelessness/Housing Concerns
  • Lack of Basic Necessities
  • Lack of Community Appreciation for Service Members
  • Lack of Financial Literacy
  • Lack of Support from Home
  • Loneliness or Isolation
  • Low Morale during Deployment
  • Military Medical Facilities Stretched Beyond Capacities
  • Need for Additional or Specialized Health Care
  • Poor Mental Health after Service
  • Poor Mental Health during Deployment
  • Soldier Killed in Combat
  • Soldiers Suffering from Lifelong Injuries
  • Strain on Relationships
  • Strain on Relationships at Home
  • Unemployment/Under Employment
  • Other

Spouse & Family Support

From childcare to widow support, Spouse and Family programs recognize that the entire family is affected by a service member's duty, whether they are home or away. These programs are designed for spouses, significant others, children, non-next of kin, and all extended family who form the support network for a veteran or Service member.

  • Difficulty Coping with Death of Soldier
  • Financial Hardship
  • Lack of Family Support
  • Poor Mental Health of Family Members as a Result of Service
  • Strain on Relationships with Service Member
  • Other

Animal & Wildlife Welfare

Animal & Wildlife Welfare programs protect, defend and provide for animals both domestic and wild. Whether through a humane society, wildlife conservation group or rescue league, these programs are strategically devoted to strengthening the animal community on both land and sea.


Animal & Wildlife Welfare

Animal & Wildlife programs believe that no animal should be abused or exploited by humans and maintain appropriate standards of protection, accommodation, feeding and general care. These programs address problems that animals, both domestic and wild, including marine mammals, face: abuse, cruelty and neglect, testing and experimentation, factory farming, industrialization, overhunting, or reckless population management practices.

  • Animal Abandonment & Homelessness
  • Animal Abuse, Cruelty & Neglect
  • Animal Illness
  • Animal Testing & Experimentation
  • Endangered Animals
  • Euthanasia
  • Factory Farming
  • Fur Farming
  • Inhumane Treatment in Captivity
  • Lack of Vet Access
  • Overhunting & Whaling
  • Overpopulation
  • Wildlife Trading
  • Other

Disaster Relief & Public Safety

Disaster Relief & Public Safety programs are strategically developed to reduce crime, violence, injury and disaster in neighborhoods rural or urban. From disaster response and preparedness to safe houses and emotional support, these programs use safety as their number one metric.


Disaster Relief & Public Safety

Disaster Relief & Community Safety programs address the problems that plague the global neighborhood, addressing issues that range from missing persons, unintentional injuries and domestic violence to providing supplies, medical care, food, infrastructure and volunteers to help in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.

  • Accidental Injuries
  • Destroyed Homes
  • Displacement
  • Domestic Violence & Abuse
  • Food Insecurityv
  • Gangs & Gang Violence
  • Gun Violence
  • Kidnapping
  • Lack of Effective Communications System
  • Lack of Medical Care
  • Lack of Supplies
  • Missing Persons
  • Operating Under the Influence
  • Rape
  • Runaways
  • Other

Education Advancement

Educational Advancement programs address problems facing academia in the United States, the developing world and the global community at large. We've identified the three major social issues that the education sector faces: Preparedness and Enrollment, Quality of Education & Completion, and Extracurricular & Skill Development.


Education Preparedness & Enrollment

Education Prepardeness & Enrollment programs are primarly focused on getting students ready for and into a school system. These programs address, among others, the general lack of access to education, low enrollment or literacy rates, the poor or unsafe conditions of school buildings or classrooms, and areas that have little to no foundation for early learning.

  • Lack of Access to Schools or Classrooms
  • Lack of Learning Materials
  • Low Attendance Rate
  • Low Enrollment Rates
  • Low Literacy Rates
  • Poor Conditions of Classrooms and Schools
  • Unaffordable Costs
  • Weak Foundation for Early Learning
  • Other

Extracurricular & Skill Development

Skill Development programs are focused beyond the classroom, often developed for afterschool or mentorship programs. They address problems that pertain to at-risk youth, reduced funding for art education, a lack of social or leadership skills and unhealthy behaviors.

  • At Risk Youth
  • Lack of Art Education Programs
  • Lack of Cultural Appreciation
  • Lack of Music Programs
  • Lack of Playgrounds
  • Lack of Social or Leadership Skills
  • Lack of Supervision and Guidance
  • Lack of Theater Programs
  • Lack of Vocational Training
  • Reduced Funding for Art Education
  • Unhealthy Behaviors
  • Other

Quality of Education & Completion

Quality of Education programs are primarily focused on keeping students in school and ensuring a high quality of education. These programs address, among others, problems pertaining to the achievement gap, high dropout rates, lack of individual education plans, low test scores, poor college readiness, a shortage of qualified teachers and uneven access to information and communication technologies.

  • Achievement Gap
  • High Dropout Rate
  • Lack of Inclusion Training
  • Lack of Individual Education Plan
  • Lack of Learning Materials
  • Lack of Progressive Education
  • Low Graduation Rates
  • Low Test Scores
  • Outdated Curriculum
  • Poor College Readiness
  • Poor Evaluation Standards (Unfair or Missing)
  • Shortage of Qualified Teachers
  • Unaffordable Costs
  • Uneven Access to Information and Communication Technologies
  • Other

Environmental Protection

From forest wildlife to beach preservation to clean air, Environmental Protection programs work to promote, protect and preserve all elements of our planet.


Climate & Energy

Climate Change and Energy programs work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mitigate the effects of global warming and address the depletion of non-renewable energy resources.

  • Air Pollution
  • Climate Change
  • Non-Renewable Resource Depletion
  • Reduced Water Quality
  • Water Shortages
  • Other

Land, Wildlife & Urbanization

Human activity like deforestation, urbanization, unsustainable agricultural practices and landfills threaten the future livelihood of our planet and wildlife. These programs deal specifically with the negative effects brought on by human activity, like deforestation, unsustainable agricultural practices, unsustainable development, displace and injured wildlife, overhunting, poaching, and water crisis.

  • Deforestation
  • Displaced and Injured Wildlife
  • Endangered Species
  • Habitat Degradation
  • Invasive Species
  • Overhunting/Poaching/Whaling
  • Reckless Population Management
  • Threat to Habitat
  • Unsustainable Agricultural Practices
  • Unsustainable Development
  • Urban Runoff
  • Waste Pollution
  • Water Crisis
  • Other

Ocean, Marine Life & Freshwater Systems

Ocean & Marine Life & Freshwater seek to create clean and sanitary waterways by addressing problems like habitat degradation, invasive species, urban development and water pollution. They work to reduce destructive fishing practices and strategically revive dying coral reefs and ocean dead zones.

  • Destructive Fishing Practices
  • Dying Coral Reefs
  • Endangered Species
  • Habitat Degradation
  • Invasive Species
  • Urban Development
  • Water Pollution
  • Other

Health Services

Health Services programs address the incredible burden caused by disease. These programs are specifically designed to limit this burden through fundraising for research for a cure, guiding prevention efforts for treatment, assisting those with active disease, or supporting those affected by a loved ones' illness.


Cancer Prevention, Diagnosis, Treatment, Research or Management

Programs aimed at mitigating the effects of Cancer often face challenges unique to this particular disease. These programs provide assistance to those at every stage in their cancer journey, whether by improving disease screening, achieving access for continued care or preventing the disease all together.

  • Breast Cancer
  • Colon Cancer
  • Lung Cancer
  • Lymphoma/Leukemia Cancer
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Pediatric Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Skin Cancer
  • Uterine/Ovarian/Cervical Cancer
  • Other Cancers

Communicable Disease Prevention, Diagnosis, Treatment, Research or Management

Communicable Disease programs provide prevention methods, treatment and access to treatment for those suffering from contagious and easily-transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Polio. Communicable diseases can be transmitted from animals or the environment to people or from person to person.

  • Cholera
  • Hepatitis
  • Influenza
  • Malaria
  • Measles, Mumps & Rubella
  • Polio
  • Respiratory Infections (not influenza)
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections
  • Tuberculosis
  • Other

Mental Health Treatment or Research

Mental illness is an often silent, and just as often, stigmatized disease that affects millions of people globally. Mental Health programs seek to minimize the burden of mental illness to the patient, but also serve to lessen the stigma associated with such diseases.

  • Behavioral Disorders
  • Depression
  • Eating Disorders
  • Personality Disorders
  • PTSD
  • Substance Abuse
  • Other

Non-Communicable Disease Prevention, Diagnosis, Treatment, Research or Management

Non-Communicable Disease programs address non-infectious and often chronic disorders affecting, among others, the heart, kidney, lung, blood, stomach, nervous system and skin. Their services include preventing the disease, achieving early diagnosis of the disease, or improving the management of the disease.

  • Allergies & Immune System Disorders
  • Blood Disorders
  • Developmental & Genetic Disorders
  • Endocrine Disorders
  • Heart & Vascular Disorders
  • Kidney Disorders
  • Lung Disorders
  • Nervous System Disorders
  • Rheumatological Disorders
  • Skin Disorders
  • Stomach & Abdominal Disorders
  • Other

Patient & Family Services

Patient and Family Services programs ease the hardship associated with disease. They do not address the disease itself, but serve to assist people with the necessary day-to-day activities that become too difficult, such as transportation, morale, food and housing.

  • Communication Challenges
  • Financial Strain
  • Lack of Residential Options
  • Stigma around Health Issues
  • Support for Families with Substance Abuse
  • Transportation Difficulties
  • Other

Human Rights & Social Justice Services

Human Rights & Social Justice Services programs are the voice of human rights movements. They fight to end modern-day slavery and require equal treatment and opportunity for all people, regardless of race, sexual orientation, economic status, disability, age or gender.


Child Rights

Child Rights programs protect a generation that hasn't found its voice yet. They work to provide equal educational opportunities and end neglect, abuse, exploitation and deficient health care for children up to 18 years old.

  • Abuse, Neglect & Abandonment
  • Bullying
  • Deficiencies in Foster Care System
  • Exploitation, Prostitution, Trafficking
  • High Mortality Rate
  • Labor
  • Neglect & Abandonment
  • Slavery/Trafficked
  • Stigma
  • Other

Laborer Rights

Programs that protect the rights of Laborers promote workforce development by addressing unfair compensation, discrimination in the workplace, trafficked laborers, skill gap and poor workplace conditions.

  • Discrimination
  • Unfair compensation
  • Poor Workplace Conditions
  • Trafficked
  • Skill Gap
  • Slavery/Trafficked
  • Stigma
  • Other

LGBTQ Rights

LGBTQ programs fight for an end to bullying, discrimination, hate crimes, harassment and civil inequality based on sexual orientation.

  • Bullying
  • Civil Inequality
  • Harrassment / Discrimination
  • Hate Crimes
  • Lack of Access to Adoption & Fertility Services
  • Sexual Orientation Discrimination in Employment
  • Sexual Orientation Discrimination in Military
  • Stigma
  • Trafficked
  • Other

Prisoner & Ex-Offender Rights

Prisoner & Ex-Offender Rights programs address the population of people that have been sentenced to time in jail. Working to lower the recidivism rate by protecting their rights to education, safety, and economic opportunity, these programs address issues of juvenile justice, inmate abuste and lack of transitional support for inmates.

  • Capital Punishment
  • Discrimination in Employment
  • Excessive Punishments
  • Inhumane & Unsafe Prison Conditions
  • Inmate Abuse
  • Juvenille Justice
  • Lack of Access to Legal Representation
  • Lack of Transitional Support
  • Lack of Education and Rehabilitation Programs
  • Racial Disparities in Incarceration
  • Recidivism
  • Stigma
  • Wrongful Conviction/Imprisonment
  • Other

Women's Rights

Women's Rights programs preserve and protect the rights of females in the military, at the doctors office, in the community, at home and at work. These programs fight for an end to women trafficked for sex, violence against women and women forced into slavery.

  • Gender Discrimination in Education
  • Reproductive Choice
  • Gender Discrimination in Military
  • Gender Discrimination in Employment
  • Violence Against Women
  • Slavery/ Trafficked
  • Stigma
  • Lack of Access to Power/Leadership
  • Other

Poverty & Hunger Relief

Poverty & Hunger Relief programs address the root of nearly all global problems: financial insecurity. These programs provide food security, agricultural education and development, employment training and opportunity, critical infrastructure and livelihood development.


Critical Infrastructure

Critical Infrastructure programs look at the physical needs of a community and work to increase access to electricity, water, communication systems, transportation and housing.

  • Lack of Access to water
  • Lack of Agricultural Land
  • Lack of Communication Systems
  • Lack of Electricity
  • Lack of Housing and Shelter
  • Lack of Transportation Options
  • Lack of Waste Management Systems
  • Other

Economic Development & Job Readiness

From employment opportunities to job training and micro financing, Economic Development programs help individuals provide a better life for their families and raise the bar in self-sustainability.

  • Lack of Available Financing
  • Lack of Job Training
  • Lack of Professional Readiness
  • Unemployment
  • Other

Food Security & Response

At their core, Food Security & Response programs help to relieve hunger. By addressing everything from a lack of key agricultural infrastructure, these programs realize that people need access to food as well as the tools to produce their own.

  • Lack of Access to Food
  • Lack of Agricultural Production
  • Poor Environmental Conditions
  • Other

Livelihood Development

Livelihood Development programs work to educate developing countries about the importance of sanitation, sexual education and hygiene.

  • Dangerous or Expensive Cooking Practices
  • Lack of Sanitation & Hygiene
  • Lack of Sexual Education
  • Lack of Transportation Options
  • Lack of Womens Wellness
  • Poor Farming Practices
  • Other

Nutrition Services & Treatment

Nutrition Programs provide unique solutions to the extreme problems that occur after hunger, like malnutrition and dehydration.

  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Other

Quality of Life

Quality of Life programs work to provide economically disadvantaged populations with clothes and toys to improve their overall quality of life.

  • Disadvantaged Children
  • Lack of Clothing & Necessities
  • Lack of Personal Safety
  • Low Morale
  • Other
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