Our History

  • Oct 1, 2010


    The idea for Cultivate begins to come together while our founder studies in Nairobi.

  • Aug 25, 2021


    Cultivate's pilot program is designed and our founder begins to build her team. 

  • Aug 25, 2021

    May 2016

    Cultivate is officially launched as a nonprofit organization. 

  • Aug 25, 2021

    June 2016

    Four leaders join our program - Padox (Kenya), Martinho (Mozambique), Fred (Rwanda) and Joshua (Malawi) - to become the first of our founding trainees.

  • Aug 25, 2021

    March 2017

    We offer our first in-field training in Kolkata, India.

  • Aug 25, 2021

    December 2018

    We close the year having trained 13 community leaders from 11 nations worldwide.

  • Aug 25, 2021

    January 2019

    We launch our digital training and coaching platform and retire our in-person training pilot program.

  • Aug 25, 2021

    August 2020

    We launch our organizational learners pilot program with Food for His Children's staff in Tanzania. 

  • Aug 25, 2021

    March 2021

    We launch our first-ever cohort group, with 19 community leaders from 10 nations around the world.

How We Started


Although Cultivate was officially launched in early 2016, the idea came to me in 2010 while sitting on a patio in Nairobi, Kenya. I had just finished my Masters of International Development, and was deep in thought about the difficulties I witnessed in Kenya and all around the world. An idea came to me, and it looked like this...

history graphic

For several years, I watched how there were always a few things in common in each community I worked in and visited.

  • The "charity" being given was almost always at the hands of privileged outsiders, not community insiders.
  • There were always leaders within these communities who felt compelled to do more but often felt stuck or ill-equipped.

I questioned and wrestled with these observations. Why did communities that struggled with poverty and injustice have to wait for an outsider to come in with what they needed? How was this connected to a community's unfortunate history with oppression and colonialism? What prevented a community from taking the reins of its own growth and future? And why did leaders see themselves as stuck or ill-equipped even when they were ready and willing to act?

As time passed, the idea for Cultivate began to take form. I learned that for anyone to do something successfully, three things must be in place:

  • This person needs to have the necessary skills or understanding to do whatever they wish to do.
  • This person must have the necessary resources to accomplish their goal.
  • This person must surround themselves with people who can help. Very little in life is accomplished without help from others. Community is a must.

I began to see the potential each community and each person has. This potential, if fueled by passion, could accomplish more than anyone could imagine.

This is how the idea for Cultivate was born.   If a passionate person could access skills, resources and people, this person could accomplish so much. They could be the changemaker their community needs.

Fast forward to 2015, when I knew Cultivate must become a reality. This was my passion which I could not contain. I started to build the skills and understanding I needed, and surrounded myself with people who would help me access the resources and support I knew were crucial. Within months, the idea of Cultivate turned into a reality.

Since the very beginning, I have been able to take very little credit for what Cultivate is becoming and the impact we are having in the world. People have given generously to Cultivate - of their resources, talents, networks and encouragement. Our needs are often filled unexpectedly in surprising and miraculous ways. There is a momentum to our mission that others are catching on to, and it fills me with so much joy. I know there is so much in store for our future, and I cannot wait to see what's around the corner!

Now the question is - how will you join this movement?

Elaine 2

Elaine Tymchak

Founder & Executive Director