Country of origin: Israel
Year came to U.S.: 1992
Education: High school
Organization: Idealist (1995)
Headquarters: New York, NY
2019 revenue: $8.7 million
U.S. employment: 27
Ami Dar appeared on The NonProfit Times‘ list of the 50 Most Influential People in the Nonprofit Sector five times.
The idea for idealist.org was born on a backpacking trip in South America.
Without a means of connecting people, the desire to help others can go unfulfilled. One immigrant from Israel found a way to fill this gap. The website he created helps more than 100,000 visitors every day to find opportunities for solving social and environmental problems.
Ami Dar was born in Jerusalem, spent his childhood in Peru and Mexico, and now lives in New York City. It was in Mexico City that he saw the gap between the wealthy and the poor and developed a dedication to social justice. In 1985, while backpacking in South America, he met other people who wanted to help the world but did not know how to connect to opportunities. Dar became obsessed with solving this problem. His aim was to build a global network that could help people find the initiatives and organizations that needed them. It took a few years for technology to catch up with his ambitions. With the revolution of the Internet, Dar moved to New York to make his dream come true.
In 1995 with $3,500, he launched Idealist.org, an online marketplace for social action that allows any interested individual or organization to connect with opportunities for action and collaboration. Since then, Idealist has grown to become the biggest not-for-profit hub on the web. Every month, 1.4 million visitors access information from 120,000 organizations via Idealist. Users can also listen to Idealist.org podcasts and download free handbooks and guides on issues affecting not-for-profits. On “Idealist Days,” which occur whenever the day and month are the same number, Idealist members are encouraged to organize events that create positive change in the world.
Dar continues today as Idealist’s executive director and describes his entrepreneurial approach as, “Pursuing a broad vision with very limited resources, our strategy has always been to continuously ask ourselves how we can have the maximum impact with the resources at our disposal, and to constantly adapt our tactics and programs to new ideas, challenges, and opportunities.”
Updated July 2021