10 years on the field and 12,000 lives improved through social innovation
Thanks to the dedication of a group of like-minded social entrepreneurs, and the patrons of social innovation that support them, Community First has evolved from grass-root projects into an international organization that creates local solutions to the global problems of poverty. Our network of volunteers, supporters and donors today spans from the United States, Western Europe, and all the way to Southeast and North Asia.
Community First is a U.S. Nonprofit, Non-Stock 501(c)3 organization registered in the Kingdom of Cambodia with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation. The organization is headquartered in Pasadena, California and has multiple Campuses in Cambodia, where it carries out most of its programs.
In addition to its place of business, Community First also works with student groups of various ages across Europe and North America with universities and schools. Such partnership include the University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom), The International Management Institute of Paris (France), Occidental College (Los Angeles), CalState Los Angeles Engineering and many others.
It was 10 years ago, in the spring of 2007 that Pierre Mainguy, then 23-years old and beginning a promising career in private equity and early stage startup investment, met Community First Co-Founder John C. Whaley in Pasadena, California. John, a senior consultant in philanthropy whose prestigious client list includes the Ellis Island Foundation, the Grand Canyon Foundation and Beaumont Hospital in Detroit, Michigan was already involved in Cambodia, chairing organization in Phnom Penh tending to the needs of the most vulnerable.
The two set out to interview families who had lost everything to economic forces they could not control, and had no other choice but live as garbage pickers on the city-dump of Phnom Penh. It soon became clear to the two of them that the source of this extreme poverty was to be found in the villages, where the farms and homestead of families were at risk of defaulting, putting already vulnerable families at a real risk of falling into extreme poverty. It's in that spirit that Pierre and John created Community First, a new kind of nonprofit focusing on empowering communities through social innovation.
Today, the Community First family counts many more changemakers eager to bring their intellectual resources and expertise to the table in order to create sustainable and meaningful change (learn more). And with every year that passes by, an increasing number of volunteers are joining our cause, and becoming part of the change they wish to see in the world.
As a nonprofit organization, Community First strives for sustainability, but because we work where most needed, we have to rely in part on donations. Throughout its existence, our organization has been funded by individual donations, small & medium foundations and Rotary International (learn more). Every donation matters and over 80% of the funds raised are invested directly in the villages; please consider making a donation today!