All You Need To Know About Pay It Forward Foundation (Our New Partner)

The Pay It Forward Foundation is a 501 c3 Non-Profit Organization, established in September of 2000, by Catherine Ryan Hyde, author of the 1999 novel, Pay It Forward. The next year brought the success of the motion picture Pay It Forward, which starred Mr. Kevin Spacey, Ms. Helen Hunt, the adorable Haley Joel Osment and even Jon Bon Jovi.

The philosophy of Pay It Forward is that through acts of kindness among strangers, we all foster a more caring society. In the book, Reuben St. Clair, a social studies teacher in Atascadero, California, challenges his students to “Change the world”. That’s something we would all like to do, right? What if we could change the world, even in some small way? One of the students in the class is Trevor, who takes the challenge to heart. As he goes about his day, he wonders what he could do, just a twelve year old student, to change the world. He starts by showing kindness to a stranger, and from there, moves on to the next person he can help.

We want you to know about the Pay It Forward Foundation, and our work. 

The Pay It Forward Foundation was established in 2000, as a catalyst to inspire growth for the Pay It Forward philosophy, acts of kindness among strangers, generating a ripple effect from one person to the next, one community to the next.

Following the success of her book, Pay It Forward, author Catherine Ryan Hyde established the Pay It Forward Foundation, a 501 C3 charitable organization. Over the fifteen year history the Foundation has inspired countless acts of kindness and served to inspire people all over the world to make the philosophy part of their lives. Thanks to the leadership of past Board President, we continue to generate sales of the Pay It Forward bracelet, supporting the majority of our budget.

As the Foundation begins a new phase with their first full-time executive director, the publication of the Young Readers Edition of Pay It Forward, has provided a resource for teachers and other educators to use as a teaching tool for classes. In the fall of 2014, and spring of 2015, more than 400 books have been shared with teachers and students across the United States.

Teachers submit requests for book donations through our website. As inventory allows, We provide the books at no cost for teachers. We ask for their feedback and stories from the classroom. Our goal is to generate a summary of outcomes, so that we can share with those who want to invest in our work. Based on what I heard from some of the teachers who received books this spring, we hear that teachers and students enjoy the book and have been motivated to participate in community service programs as well as raising money for organizations that speak to the students.

There is an opportunity to strengthen our partnership with teachers. As we strengthen our Advisory Board, I hope we are able to add at least two classroom teachers. In addition, anytime you are giving something away, there is less “ownership”. We are seeking to identify how we can best secure commitments from those who receive our books.

As we work to reach more people and encourage acts of kindness across the country and around the world, we are working to build a fundraising program, as well as growing our Board of Directors and our Advisory Board. This will be an exciting time of growth!

We launched a new website in March of 2015, providing us with better visibility to inspire kindness and generate support for the Foundation. In April and May of 2015, we have produced promotional films to generate attention and define our work. Three of them are on the site now, with two more being released before Christmas 2015.


The Foundation exists to foster the philosophy of the book in two key ways:

1 — Our Book Partnership provides copies of the Young Readers edition, published in 2014, for teachers, schools, and other learning environments, at no cost. Learn more about the Book Partnership here.

2 — Through this website, and other social media platforms, (Facebook & Twitter) we encourage acts of kindness among people all around the world. We share encouragement, and stories from friends like you, who are making the philosophy part of your everyday activities. Learn more in the News & Updates section. We can all use daily encouragement to show kindness.

We do this because we want to foster a society that is more caring, more giving, more forgiving. We believe a more charitable society is good for all of us. Those with much and those with little.

We are led by an executive director, David Goodwin, and a Board of Directors, with support and guidance from an Advisory Board. In addition, we have asked caring, talented writers to help us articulate our story. We invite you to be involved as well. Sharing your part of the story.

We hope you will register to Be Involved. 

We hope you will make a gift to support the movement.

We hope you will Pay It Forward.

What about other Pay it Forward groups? Please know that we are the original and official Pay It Forward group.

We are excited that people across the US and around the world have been motivated to launch their own pay it forward programs. To say that our founder “wrote the book on this” is accurate. Catherine Ryan Hyde, wrote the novel, and was so moved by the reaction that she established a charitable foundation to help grow the philosophy.

We appreciate and respect others who represent the movement well. We ask that our logo and name not be used without permission. We hold trademarks on the name Pay It Forward Foundation and the logo you see above. Thank you for respecting the work we have put into defining this image.

Here is what we are not.

The Pay It Forward Foundation is not designed to be an urgent need response organization. We wish we could be. At the same time, organizations such as the United Way, local places of worship and other community organizations are better equipped to respond to urgent needs. Hear us loud and clear, we wish we could respond to every need that comes our way. We do not have that kind of funding.

In the future, we hope we will be able to partner with organizations who CAN respond quickly to urgent needs. Watch this space for updates. In the mean time, these groups might be helpful:

The United Way of America


Do you know of a great organization providing help for those in need? Share them with us so we can feature them in this space.