George Srour, 24, is the founder and director of Building Tomorrow, Inc. (BT). Srour attended the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia where he graduated in 2005 with a major in Government and International Relations. During his college tenure, Srour founded and served as editor-in-chief of the College’s first online daily newspaper, The DoG Street Journal. He also served as a two-year Chair of the College’s Judicial Council and as a student director of the College’s orientation program. Upon graduation, Srour was awarded the James Monroe Prize for Civic Leadership and the inaugural William E. Simon Fellowship for Noble Purpose. Using both awards, Srour started BT from an unused room in his parent’s house in the fall of 2005. BT opened its first school in May of 2006, financed through the Christmas in Kampala campaign at the College of William and Mary, which was the model BT was built upon.
BT is a NGO dedicated to empowering young people worldwide to raise funds and awareness for the construction of new primary schools serving vulnerable children in sub-Saharan Africa. Today, more than 41 million children in this part of the world are without access to an education–three million more than go to primary school in the United States.
In 2007, BT was recognized as an up and coming social change organization by Echoing Green, an organization providing seed funding for social entrepreneurs. Srour was also named one of the Top 100 Most Powerful People in Indiana by Indianapolis Monthly.
Today the organization has six full-time staff members in Uganda and the United States. BT recently opened its 2nd and 3rd schools in Uganda, enrolling its 1,000th student while preparing to double that number by the end of 2009. Nobel-laureate and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu of South Africa serves as the organization’s Honorary Chairman.
BT currently works with students at 15 collegiate chapters and through a partnership with the more than 245,000 members of Key Club International. BT’s approach to investment in educational infrastructure is unique in two ways: BT creates one-to-one partnerships between U.S. colleges and sub-Saharan Africa communities, maximizing both fund-raising and the initiative’s educational impact on students and by pursuing an “ownership” model for the African schools being built, it insures that they will be both sustainable and high in quality.
BT works with the community by providing 75% of the school costs, with the remaining 25% coming from the community in the form of labor and resources.