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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Leonard Education Organization Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Scholarships, Scholarships & Student Financial Aid

Mission: Our mission is to secure and administer valuable undergraduate scholarships and educational opportunities for qualified and under resourced Palestinian students from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon and Jordan and beyond. We believe that education and intercultural exchange is the essential path to peace, stability and development. Our Mission is to help prepare Palestine's future scientists, policymakers, educators and entrepreneurs.

Results: We have 56 students in our community. We have also partnered with 16 institutions in 6 countries that offer very generous scholarships valued at around 9 million dollars. Our students go on to pursue masters and PhD programs in the US and abroad. LE.O is growing at a very fast pace thanks to our supportive community of alumni, students, donors and volunteers. We are working on addressing more than what we initially planned on doing and extended our support to Palestinian students who require gap funding for their programs, support in getting jobs and internships. We are working on adding 4-5 students a year and would like to increase that number depending on our available funding.

Community Stories

24 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Hashem Abu S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with L.E.O Education since its founding, as a student, a mentor, and a believer. The organization provides personal, financial, educational, and mentoring services to Palestinian students in need. L.E.O is exceptional in its personalized approach and its direct investments in the students' lives - one does not feel like it is just another scholarship program, it is truly a family.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a new LEO scholar as I joined it this year . I began my journey in LEO while I was applying for UWC! Actually , Deya supported me in every single step : she guided me during my interviews , encouraged me to give my best , and stood with me step by step until I got the scholarship . Then , she introduced me to LEO team where every one works to help the other! LEO is not just a group , it is a home for all palestinian students ! And Deya is more than a friend to us !
I am very proud for being a part in this community , and it is my pleasure to know such a marvelous and generous person like Deya !

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a parent it is never easy to let your kid go away from the safety of home but I also understand that when opportunities come your way you should take advantage of them. My son left home at an early age and I supported him throughout while hiding my fears and anxiety. Having Deya and LEO’s support system gave me a sense of peace of mind because I know Deya and everyone at LEO care as much as I would for my son. I am very grateful to have known Deya personally and to have my son be part of the wonderful community that she created!

1 Luisa S.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have known the founders of the Leonard Education Org. for decades. They have put their heart and soul into making Le.O a success. It is apparent in the many successes of their student population. They show successes in their ability to choose students who best fit their programs and in the ability to gather the many Universities willing to accept the Le.O program on their campuses.
As a Professional Counselor I am happy to volunteer my time to counsel any student who feels the need to talk. I feel any donation I make whether it is monetarily or as a therapist to the students and Le.O is well worth it.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Im a nursing student studying in lebanon at BAU, due to harsh economical conditions that lebanon is going through, it was very hard pay for my university so LEO helped me pay. Im very grateful for LEO because without them I would be out of college.

1 Mohamed Y.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was introduced to LEO back in 2019 while I was applying to continue my undergraduate studies at the USA, I was accompanied by LEO step by step to excel in the process and for me to obtain the right resources and opportunities to thrive as an international student in America. while applying to be a part of LEO I didn't realize the amount of love and sense of family that I would be getting while being a member of that community, today I am a part of a large networking group that provides tips and advice that I could leverage from as an academic.
I am beyond thankful that I am able to manifest from what LEO has to offer and the guidance and comfort LEO provides to each and every member of the community.

1 Nour H.

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I graduated from high school in 2018, I knew that it will be so difficult for me to complete my education and study medicine as my situation was very complicated and My family's financial situation is very bad. I discovered L. EO and contacted Deya', explained my situation to her, and she was so willing to help me. She offered me all kinds of support. L. EO helped me apply to many scholarships, helped me register for their needed exams and payed for everything but sadly nothing worked. We kept trying for almost two years, I was starting to lose hope but L.EO never gave up on me. Until I finally got the chance to study medicine in Mansoura University in Egypt in November 2019. L.EO now is paying for my tuition and are supporting me in every possible way. Without their help, I would never be able to study what I wanted and follow my dreams, and I am so grateful. All L.EO members are amazing, always helping and supporting each other, we are just like a big family! I am so proud to be a part of L.EO community, and I am so thankful to have such amazing people in my life!

1 Tariq S.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Leonard Education organization feels like a home to me. The organization emphasis on the importance of education for young Arabs and Palestinians who face struggles and conflicts accessing education abroad. The organization keeps the students together and closer by sharing their success stories and accomplishments during the year to keep everyone motivated. In addition, the financial support offered by the organization helps a lot of students continue their education and face the obstacles encountered living away from home. I would like to thank the founder and owner of the organization, Deya' Dresner, and anyone who contributed to help the organization grow. She puts in a lot of effort and hard work by keeping us safe and supported. I am thankful and grateful to be a part of the Leonard Education organization community, and I would love to see this organization expand and offer help for a lot of students to support their education and future. I would also love to volunteer and participate in the future to help this organization grow in any aspect!

1 Mahmoud T.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The transition into college life is typically a challenging and stressful process, let alone if you had to move across continents and adapt to a new culture on top of that. Being a part of LEO’s community helped a lot in my first semester at the University of Rochester. Not only by helping me to cover some of the expenses but also by offering the guidance and mentorship I needed the most at that time. Starting with the small things such as what to carry in my heavy suitcase to more significant things on how to get through the process of getting a visa, picking a major, and adapting to the American culture. As a LEO member, I had the advantage of having a smoother transition into university, and, therefore, could focus more on building my new life there. moreover, LEO is a lot more than an organization, it is a community; A community of equally passionated students and advisors. Being a part of LEO always motivated me to help others and be a better version of myself.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

L.E.O.Love EveryOne; this is how we all at LEO see and treat each other and all people around us. LEO supported me in lots of my lifetimes the hard and the good ones! The support is not limited to a particular area of interest. A half-year with LEO may seem not a long period but it helped me to focus on my targets; I am so happy to have such a family and be a part of the fast progress and growth is achieving. planning has always been a part of our common aims because it builds the perfect results for all. Miss Deya, such a model! what a beautiful face full of energy and life. Thank you for getting out the best version of each of us.

1 Reem A. Z.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The connection this organization has with the students is unimaginable and very very special. It's all about understanding the transition that these students go through and the willingness to helping them out whenever needed.

2 Ahmad Abdal Q.

Client Served

Rating: 5

LEO is not just an NGO, LEO is a family, a community, a place for marginalized Palestinians to support each other and have each other's back. It's run by an incredibly passionate, sympathetic and proactive board members.
Deya makes herself available 24/7 and is always informed about everybody's situation. She checks in on everyone and makes sure they are doing okay. This is all besides the financial and logistic help offered to all LEO members.
I am equally lucky and proud to be a part of this amazing community.

2 Wael H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I got to know Leonard Education Organization and the wonderful people behind it as a student and as an active volunteer. All of our students volunteer and help the organization in some way depending on their abilities. I thought until I am able to financially support the organization I can volunteer to give back to it and sustain the programs. I work with the students during the application process, mentor them and be a resource for any of them if needed. I also manage the financial accounts of the organization including Quickbooks, PayPal and Paragon Solution as well as manage the CRM Every Action platform. In the last few years I have witnessed first hand the tremendous and genuine work that Deya and other volunteers put to help our community. During my volunteer work we increased our donations and engagements almost 300% while adding new universities and opportunities for our students. I learned so much and am proud of the achievements we accomplished!

2 Omar H.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

For Palestinian youth, I believe there are few opportunities that can be as life-changing as joining L.E.O. It’s true that many educational and professional opportunities we’re helped to are available to us on our own, but the arduous, hectic procedures and possible prejudice against us make every application process a burdensome bet with small guarantees of success. However, with L.E.O, we’re very effectively helped to translate our sincere efforts into achievement.
Personally, I received great help from L.E.O to ascertain that I filled my college and financial aid applications in the most appropriate manner, and I believe this was fundamental to getting accepted into a prestigious college with a suitable financial aid package.
Upon arriving in the U.S., I realized how different my experience abroad will be as a L.E.O Scholar: I immediately found fellow L.E.O students to connect with, and to mentor me in several aspects of moving-in that would’ve otherwise -somewhat disoriented me! They were very helpful in learning how to navigate the several aspects of academics, extracurriculars, and personal life here. I would certainly highlight how L.E.O also allowed me to access and explore more of the U.S. and its culture.
A really interesting aspect of my status as a L.E.O scholar is my opportunity to remain connected with my home countries, Palestine and Jordan, and the struggles faced by people there -which I was subject to myself. I always have the opportunity to discuss and reflect on these struggles, and to think of the roles I may assume in addressing these issues in the future with the qualifications and experiences I’ll gain here. This is facilitated by the many activities we’re encouraged to participate in and by the discussions we can have -which often possess an intimate nature- with our director Deya and the many other members of L.E.O, who together build a Palestinian identity representative of the several Palestinian backgrounds exisiting today.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

LE.O is more than an education organization to me, it is more like a family. As an international student in the US, I know that LE.O is always there for their students through bitter and sweet times. LE.O and Deya take any chance to encourage, celebrate, and motivate their student's achievements. Most importantly, LE.O will also be there to listen to their students and supporting them mentally, emotionally, and financially. Knowing that Deya is always there and ready to listen and help the students generates a precious sense of comfort within us.
Thank you LE.O and Thank you Deya for all your efforts.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I support LEO because it is an holistic and authentic organization. It recognizes that each of the students it supports is full of potential. While holding it students accountable, LEO provides the emotional (and more) encouragement that allows these students to thrive and to succeed. LEO goes “above and beyond” to support the students and to work with the institutions so that it is a “win-win”. LEO is “available” — and that makes all the difference.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

LEO is an outstanding nonprofit run by an incredibly passionate human being, Deya. I remember when Deya started LEO from the ground up. Her passion and determination to help us, Palestinian students, was unwavering. Her mission has always been to lift up and support Palestinian students who otherwise would not have had a fair chance at education and in turn at a decent life. The work that LEO does is unquestionably crucial. For the students LEO serves, their family and ultimately their life and legacy.

I know what it's like to not have a chance, I know the feeling of helplessness. It's been the reality of everyone around me growing up. I know what happens when kids are not afforded the opportunity to get a decent education and most importantly, I know what happens to those kids when they grow up.

I have had the honor of watching LEO impact student lives and I could not be more inspired of the work that LEO does. LEO gives me hope, that there are still humans that genuinely care about other humans. LEO inspires me to be a better person. I was supported by LEO at one point, and I'm now back as a Donor because I strongly believe in LEO's values and mission. I've seen first-hand the remarkable impact LEO has on their students and I cannot wait to see more of that!

I can never be thankful enough for LEO's work of uplifting a marginalized community. A community I am part of and I want to see prosper!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I'm delighted to support LE.O, an organization founded on the idea that education matter to personal development, international understanding, and peace among nations. By assisting the most needy, capable and deserving young people to get scholarships, and by supporting them through college and beyond, LE.O makes a real-world difference every day.

1 Mohannad S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I’ve been with LEO for almost 3 years. I learned about the great work the nonprofit does through a friend, who shared his story with me and how LEO has saved his college career. These were his words “LEO was fighting for me.” For many of us, LEO has provided us with a sense of home and safety in this country, given the political climate in the US currently. With LEO, you wouldn’t feel alone, and that somebody is always on your side. There is always somebody to monitor you with anything that regards your presence in the US from your education to your different needs, such as health insurance, finding a host family during a holiday, and much more. They’re always updating us of the political and social atmosphere in the US, giving us guidelines on how to move along. Finally, the director of the organisation is more of a friend to everybody in the community. She’s available to help with emergencies and non emergencies 24/7/365 even if it was late at night or if she was on a vacation somewhere. Can’t tell you enough about LEO! LEO is great!!

2 Mohammad Al H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I joined LEO in the mid of November 2019 .. I had troubles with my visa to study in the US, and I already lost the chance to get there the fall semester of 2019... With the problems happening in Lebanon too, it was kind of impossible to go and join the university in the spring semester... I was almost losing my motivation of achieving what I always dreamt of. LEO was there! They guided me, reminded me of what’s important and helped me to get there with the energy needed... It is not just a nonprofit, it was family! All the staff and members are family, they check on the each other and support each other if anyone needs any help. I am a student who left his home and family to study abroad, and LEO staff and members were my family here!

2 AbdulRahman F.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I joined the LEO organization approximately a year ago. I wish I had known the organization before applying to US colleges; yet they have been a great resource throughout my academic journey here at Rochester. They helped surmount a lot of impediment I faced in college, both mentally and financially. Deya’ is amazing and always willing to help with any possible way.

2 Abdullah M. S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I joined the Leonard Education Organization (LEO) in May 2019 upon my graduation from UWC Red Cross Nordic, Norway and it's been amazing having this amazing team to have my back! They've supported me psychologically, financially as well as with planning for what's ahead. Since joining the LEO community, I secured a full ride to Concordia College, MN, and was given mentored through every major step I was in. Most notably, getting accustomed to Senegal as a part of my Global Citizen Year bridge year program in September 2019, as well as, evacuating Senegal due to Covid-19 and arriving in Jordan followed by the Gaza Strip (which took 72 days of mandatory quarantine and self-isolation before arriving at my parents' place). LEO has made every transition smooth and almost stress-free for me and I cannot imagine how different my experience would be without the blessing of having LEO's assurances and community spirit.
Pic 1: TikTok duet with LEO executive director, Deya' Leonard Dresner, during quarantine in Amman, Jordan.
Pic 2: Assist teaching English at Lycée Malick Sy de Thiès, Senegal.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

They are always with us in every small detail, you can find help and support when you need it.
They treat us like a family members not only Like students.
It is just so good to be with them ❤️

6 Iman Jameela A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

LE.O has been on my side through every little detail of my educational journey! They have supported me both financially and emotionally as I navigated graduate school. I am indebted to LE.O for everything I have achieved in the past years. I love being part of the community because it makes me feel like I have a family ready to offer me unwavering support and guidance. I am lucky to part of this amazing community and I can not wait to see it grow and be part of that growth!