The Oppia of Not-for-profit


Most open-source projects are run by not-for-profit organizations that rely on the funding and manpower they get to run their core organizational objectives. Oppia Foundation is a non for profit organization that relies on these two things to make education accessible to kids in an under-resourced environment. In this article, I will demystify the differences between Not for Profit Organizations(NPOs), and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and how Oppia leverage the power of open source to build an NPO for kids and contributors around the world. 

The common misconception about NPO and NGO

Oftentimes,  people confuse the terms Not for Profit and Non-Governmental, and in the little time I have worked on the Oppia projects, here are a few distinctions I have made so far.


 Not-for-profit organizations are organizations that do not earn profits for their owners which means the CEO and everyone contributing to it do not earn money. Every revenue generated or donated to the organization is mainly used in pursuing the organization’s objectives and keeping it running for instance maintaining organization servers,  purchasing equipment to ensure company objectives are met, and building infrastructures. 

A non-governmental organization (NGO) on the other is a  group that functions independently without any government aid or assistance. NGOs, sometimes called civil society organizations, are established on community, national and international levels to serve a social or political goal such as humanitarian causes or the environment.

The Oppia of Not-for-profit

Sean lip, founder of Oppia project believes that there is a  needs to have a place on the internet that allows anyone to create lessons that are interactive so that students can learn at their own pace, get targeted feedback from their work and make Improvements.

 To make this happen he started a not-for-profit organization that relies on volunteers and contributors which includes software engineers, designers, writers, teachers, and students from around the world to bring to life the vision of helping anyone learn anything in an effective and enjoyable way. To keep the site and the learning materials on it completely free, they solicit donations for server costs, marketing, and distribution of learning materials to students. 

Over the past couple of years, the free open-source learning platform is available in over 20 countries. It enables contributors to create complete interactive lessons known as “explorations” that are fun, enjoyable, and free to anyone.
The Oppia lessons are openly licensed, which enables a diverse group of educators and technologists from around the world to regularly iterate on and improve them. To be a part of the volunteers contributing to Oppia, visit to volunteer.