International TEFL Academy believes it is our responsibility to leave the world a better place than how we found it. Our staff, instructors, and students are Global Citizens, and we realize how fortunate we are to travel and live abroad. We have a commitment to make an impact on the world, both large and small, by direct involvement or by simply spreading the word on what each one of us can do.
When you enroll with International TEFL Academy, you choose a TEFL Certification Provider that commits a portion of its profits to international and local charities every year, and provide free ESL lessons to our local community in Chicago. We also hope to offer guidance and suggestions to others on how they can make a difference in the lives of others around the world.
2022 Alumni Giving Contest
Apply Now for Chance to Earn $500- $1500 for a Charity You Care About
Each year we invite our alumni to nominate an organization that is meaningful to them for consideration to receive a donation from ITA's Charity Department. It's an exciting opportunity to showcase an organization that our alumni are truly passionate about and to engage with ITA staff.
The top three applicants will be invited to pitch their organization to the staff at International TEFL Academy to win a donation of between $500-$1500 for their charity and to have them showcased on our website and social media channels. We invite our alumni to complete the application nominating the charity of their choice by Friday, August 19.
Click Here to Apply
Looking for inspiration? Check out our Student Highlights section below for information on past winners.
Total Donations Made So far
by International TEFL Academy
Total Charitable Organizations
Helped by ITA
Non-native English Speakers who took free classes at ITA in Chicago
ITA's Teach Abroad Film Festival celebrates the work of incredible English teachers online & overseas who help make a difference through cultural exchange and international education. 100% of ticket proceeds are donated to charity!
ITA's Teach Abroad Film Festival celebrates English teachers online & overseas who help make a difference through international education. 100% of ticket proceeds are donated to charity!
We offer free English classes in our headquarters in Chicago. This enables us to give back to the community while also providing students in our Chicago TEFL Class the opportunity to gain live classroom experience for their practice teaching.
This enables us to give back to the community while also providing students in our Chicago TEFL Class the opportunity to gain live classroom experience for their practice teaching.
As Chicagoans, we love Lake Michigan, and we spend quite a bit of time with it. Starting in 2018, we've teamed up with Alliance for the Great Lakes, and so far have cleaned up over 100 pounds of garbage from Lake Michigan's Foster Beach!
As Chicagoans, we love Lake Michigan! We've teamed up with Alliance for the Great Lakes & have cleaned up over 100 pounds of garbage from Lake Michigan's Foster Beach so far!
We are proud to maintain an active and ongoing role in supporting Reading in Motion, a Chicago-based organization that implements cutting edge reading programs in Chicago area schools that promote literacy.
We maintain an active and ongoing role in supporting Chicago-based organization, Reading in Motion, implement cutting edge reading programs in Chicago area schools that promote literacy.
In 2021, the ITA Charity Committee focused on developing innovative ways to drive staff participation in our company matching program, through which all staff can have $200 of their charitable donations matched by ITA.
With these efforts - ranging from athletic challenges to a virtual Halloween Pet Parade - ITA achieved the most participation in company history with their staff matching, totaling over $8000! It also brought us together as a team, created a ton of fun and excitement, and strengthened our company culture during the challenges of COVID-19.
Just some of the organizations receiving donations from ITA staff and the organization in 2021 included:
NAACP Legal Defense Fund | Creative Reactions Lab | My Block My Hood My City | Street Business School | Rotary International | Out Our Front Door | Global Leaders | Critical Resistance| Brave Space Alliance | Active Transportation Alliance | Austin Coming Together | Chicago Reader
2020. Where do we start, honestly? In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, we've dedicated a great portion of our 2020 donations towards supporting COVID-19-focused relief funds & organizations. So far, we've helped the following organizations:
Following the tragic events of George Floyd's death, we've decided to do our part to stand against racism and fight racial injustice & inequality in Chicago, in the U.S. and worldwide. In addition to donating to several organizations, ITA also matched any donations made by our employees to support equality, diversity, acceptance and love. So far, and altogether, we've supported the following institutions:
Chicago Freedom School | National Bailout Fund Network/Collective | Campaign Zero | Black Fem | Black Lives Matter Chicago | Black Visions Collective | Reclaim The Block | Black Youth Project 100 | Chicago Community Bond Fund | Girls For A Change | American Civil Liberties Union | Color of Change
Finally, after almost a decade of being involved in charitable causes, it is worth noting that we have finally reached a major milestone in 2020: over $100,000 in total donations made by International TEFL Academy.
Other Organizations we've supported this year:
Reading In Motion | Fraser | ROMP | WWF | RAINN | The Rotary Foundation | Beirut Disaster Relief Fund - Beit El Baraka | Lebanese Red Cross | Dignity Period | Hand to Hand Charity Myanmar | Wolverine Human Services/Core Orchards | SocialWorks | World Vision | Greater Chicago Food Depository | World Food Program | Vocel
In 2019, The Bahamas were hit by Hurricane Dorian and we donated to Chef José Andrés' World Central Kitchen as a result. We also supported major organizations that inspire our staff members every day. For instance, we supported Out Our Front Door, a Chicago-based organization that was founded by Student Affairs Advisor Glenn Schneider. Its mission is to immerse, educate, and preserve the history, culture, trails, and native habitats of the Lower Lake Michigan Basin Area through exploratory adventures. Finally, we supported a mix of international and local organizations:
World Central Kitchen - Bahamas Relief | Chicago Public Library Foundation | OpenLands | Food not Bombs | Rainforest Alliance Network | Out our Front Door | Rotary International | Inner City Muslim Network | The Night Ministry | Hostelling International Travel Scholarships | Luvin Arms Animal Sanctuary | Almost Home Chicago | IRC | The Foundation for Learning & Youth Travel Education (FLYTE) | Reading In Motion
In 2018, we supported two organizations that promote travel opportunities, HI Chicago travel scholarship and Now Boarding. We also launched our first Pride month and partnered with our alumni to support organizations focused on the LGBTQ+ community both locally (Project Fierce and Equality Illinois) and internationally (ILGA). Additionally, we donated to another mix of international and local organizations - whether it was to help fight against bushfires in California, help Syrian refugees, or preserve The U.S. wilderness:
All Hands Disaster Relief | Hi USA | Now Boarding | IRC - Syria Relief | ILGA | Project Fierce Chicago | Equality Illinois | National Park Fund | Openlands | Conservation Lands Fund | Reading In Motion
In 2017, we started working with Refugee One. This local organization works with our online practicum students in the Chicago area and supports new refugees in Chicago. Several of our staff members went on to volunteer with them as well! Additionally, we reiterated our support and ongoing partnerships with the following international and local organizations in the field of education, environment, and local and international aid:
Refugee One | ACLU | IRC | Mujarave | WITS Chicago | The Heartland Alliance | The Night Ministry | Rainforest Action Network | National Park Fund | Clean Water Action | Rationall | Trek to Teach | Reading In Motion
In 2016, we were able to support a cause with a personal connection as Hurricane Matthew spread all the way to Houston, TX, where ITA Admission Advisor Felicia's family is from.
We also connected with Mujarave, a charity based out of Guatemala that focuses on empowering and improving the lives of Guatemalan women. Our donations helped install new stoves in homes that improved hygiene and cut down on illness in the home, as well as toward building a greenhouse to help the community grow more food to support themselves and to sell at the local markets.
Additionally, we supported a mix of international and local organizations:
Unicef - Ecuador Earthquake Relief | Charity Water | Pencils of Promise | Mujarave | Huilo Huilo Foundation | DevelopEd | Unicef - Hurricane Matthew Relief | Oxfam | The White Helmets | Reading In Motion
In 2015, we worked to support local Chicago organizations focusing on refugee support (Heartland Alliance) and homelessness (The Night Ministry). We also supported relief efforts after the disaster in Nepal, where ITA Student Affairs Advisor Christie volunteered a few years ago. Additionally, we donated to a mix of international and local organizations:
ITA was founded in 2010. It was clear from the beginning that giving back was at the core of our company. Between 2010 and 2014, despite being busy starting a company off the ground, we made a point to donate to the following international and local organizations:
Hostelling International - Chicago | Mama Hope Project | Charity Water | Bachpan Bachao Andolan | Malala Fund | Haiti Relief Funds | Donations to American Red Cross | GoAbroad Foundation Relief Fund | Reading In Motion
It's also worth mentioning that Mama Hope Project was our first Charity suggested by an ITA alumn, Annemarie Catenzaro. They were raising money to build a school in Tanzania, and we chimed in as part of our ongoing commitment to supporting our alumni in giving back globally.
Whether at home or overseas, ITA alumni are deeply vested in making a difference and helping out their local communities. Here's a quick shoutout to a few of them, and the incredible work they're doing:
Giving back is a major part of who we are as a company and as an Alumni Community. Therefore, each year, ITA puts a call out to alumni for charities that mean a lot to them. After receiving a number of heartfelt & compelling submissions this year, 2 finalists had the chance to pitch their charities live to the ITA staff to receive respectively $1750 and $1250. We invite you to learn more about the organizations they are involved with, and to donate to their causes as well. And keep you eyes out for next year's Alumni Giving Campaign so you can submit your charity of choice for consideration.
"Making Strides Against Breast Cancer help people and their family with resources when they are battling this disease. They provide rides to treatment, pay for accommodations for families to be close to their loved one. Also, they provide wigs and help with medical expenses."
ITA Alumni: Tiffany Johnson
"The Richardson Adult Literacy Center (RALC) transforms lives by providing free English classes and mentoring to adult students. Thousands of adults in our community don't speak English well or at all. RALC provides English as a Second Language instruction to help these adults improve their lives and the lives of their families. RALC trains approximately 50 volunteers each semester to teach adult students ESL both in-person and online."
ITA Alumni: Andrea Hamblin
Please check back again regularly - we will highlight more of the amazing submissions we've received to support our Students' causes & initiatives.
ITA alumnus, Jack Ross, talks about how he's committed a portion of his earnings as a teacher towards One Tree Planted - a non-profit that aims to fight climate change “one tree” at a time.
"I find it extremely gratifying to help in any way possible with whatever amount I can contribute. After all, it’s the least we can do to save Earth."
Check out Jack's amazing story in his article.
MaryAlice & Katie are best friends. After getting TEFL certified with ITA, they took their friendship to the next level and now volunteer teaching at the Wildflower Home in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Watch their video & see what their daily lives in Thailand look like!
Magda Ksiazak is an International TEFL Academy graduate who, after getting her TEFL certification in Chicago, went on to volunteer teaching in Dharamsala, India.
"I met some truly amazing people and learned SO much from my students, many of whom I keep in touch with."
Check out Magda's amazing story in her Q&A.
Choose ITA & contribute to helping those in need locally & overseas.
The ITA family is comprised of very unique & thoughtful people. Our staff cares about you and your teaching career overseas as much as they care about the world they live in.
On February 4, 2020, a few of us at ITA volunteered with our neighbors at the Holy Covenant United Methodist Church to provide a free dinner for the hungry, homeless, and people seeking community in the neighborhood. Guests are served a three-course, sit-down dinner. The church has been doing this every Tuesday since 1992.
Student Affairs Advisor Glenn loves exploring the beauty of the Midwest, and does a lot of bicycling and camping to get to that beauty.
He suggested that ITA donate to the organization Openlands because he sees them as one of the premier nature conservation organizations in the Chicago region.
Openlands protects the natural and open spaces of northeastern Illinois and the surrounding region.