Rуbakov Foundation

The Rybakov Foundation is a private philanthropic organization, founded by Ekaterina Rybakova and Igor Rybakov in 2015.[1][2]

According to the first Forbes rating of Russian philanthropists, the Rybakov Foundation is in the top 20 of the best charitable foundations of the richest businessmen in Russia.[3] The co-founders of the Rybakov Foundation are also the founders of the Rybakov Prize,[4][5][6] an international award for philanthropists in education.

The Rybakov Foundation is a partner of the international association for the support of grant-givers WINGS,[7] a member of the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA),[8] and the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN).[9]


In 2016, the Rybakov Foundation identified three areas of work: the development of education, entrepreneurship, and the non-commercial sector.[10] Within the framework thereof, the Foundation launched a series of programs, projects, and initiatives: The University of Childhood is an initiative for the development of preschool education. The initiative's experts have developed their own preschool education program, entitled “PROchildren”, and have been the only participants from Russia in the major conferences that deal with early development organized by NAEYC. The exclusive Equium business club for entrepreneurs who can change the economy and inspire people. PROWomen is an environment for the mutual support of women, female leadership, and local women's communities. The MENTORI national resource center, which is rebuilding the institute for mentoring and developing a mentoring methodology for schools and colleges within the framework of the national project “Education”. The Philtech Initiative is an initiative for the development of technologies for philanthropy, which was represented at the EMERGE conference in Minsk together with Natalia Vodianova. The Philtech Accelerator is the first business accelerator in Russia for tech startups that are solving social problems. It has been organized in conjunction with the Business Incubator of the Higher School of Economics. The #EdCrunch annual conference for new technologies in education, held by the National University of Science and Technology MISiS (Russia).[11] Among its participants were Wikimedia Foundation founder Jimmy Wales,[12] as well as Apple Inc. and Google evangelists William Rankin and Jaime Kasap.[13][14] The first online course on community organization in Russian, which was launched together with the Strelka Institute's “Vector” online school.

In 2019, some of these projects left the foundation and are continuing to develop independently within the ecosystem of the Rybakov Foundation.[15]

The concept of “School as the center of society”

In March 2019, at a press conference in Moscow, Ekaterina Rybakova and Igor Rybakov presented the foundation's new concept: “School as the center of society”, saying that the focus of the foundation's work is the development of socio-educational environments in schools and that the foundation's mission is to create a tradition of developing society with our own hands.[15] The key idea behind the concept is the development of school as an open community with the participation of entrepreneurs, grateful graduates, parents, and active local residents.

In addition, the co-founders of the Rybakov Foundation announced the launch of the Rybakov Prize, a $1 million award for the person who demonstrates the most inspiring example of the development of an educational environment.

By implementing this new concept, the Rybakov Foundation is committed to making an investment into achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4, as set by the United Nations General Assembly.

From 2015 to 2018, Ekaterina Rybakova and Igor Rybakov invested one billion rubles in the foundation,[10] and in March 2019, they announced that they were investing another one billion rubles in the Rybakov Foundation.[15]

Since 2018, the Rybakov Foundation has been headed up by Ekaterina Rybakova.

The Rybakov School Award

In 2017, the Rybakov Foundation launched the #iTeacher annual all-Russian competition for educational innovators.[16][17][18] At the same time, it also launched an all-Russian competition of school projects, entitled “TOP School”.[19] During this time, 1,351 schools and 1,882 teachers from more than 80 regions of Russia took part, 63 schools implemented socially significant projects that encompassed more than 40 thousand people. The competition's winners have attended educational training in Finland and Estonia.

In September 2019, the Rybakov Foundation combined the two competitions,[20] launching the Rybakov School Award to support the best practices of school teams and teachers in unlocking students’ potential and transforming the school into the center of society.

In December, the results of the first Rybakov School Award were finalized: 2,846 applications were received, from almost all regions of Russia, and 20 school teams and 50 educational innovators were announced as winners. They received financial prizes and became part of the “School as the center of society” community, in which they can develop and scale up their practices. In addition, the winners received free access to a specialized course for active teachers and school leaders, which will aid them in building a community around their educational institutions, in attracting financing, and developing their own skills for the 21st century. In spring 2020, all the competition winners will be arriving in Moscow for the Spring Leadership School.

The Rybakov Prize

In autumn 2019, the first annual international Rybakov Prize for entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and impact investors in education was launched. The prize fund is $1.2 million. The recipient of the Grand Prix will receive $1 million to create an endowment fund for the school or educational institution where the winner's mission is being realized. The partners of the award are the World Bank and UNESCO IITE, while the information partners of the award are Forbes Media and the RBC Group. PwC is the award's independent auditor.

The jury of the Rybakov Prize 2020 includes philanthropists, businessmen, and public figures from around the world: Harry Patrinos (World Bank Education), Vikas Pota (Varkey Foundation), Osama Obeidat (Queen Rania Teacher Academy), Safeena Husain (Educate Girls), Steven Duggan (UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education, Terawe Corporation), Randall Lane (Forbes United States), Tatyana Bakalchuk (Wildberries), Magomed Musaev (Global Venture Alliance) и Sergey Solonin (Qiwi).

The Rybakov Preschool Award

This is the only competition in Russia that is aimed at seeking out and supporting creative specialists in preschool education who are capable of developing, applying, and replicating modern pedagogical practices. The competition is officially titled the All-Russian L.S. Vygotsky Competition, in honor of eminent psychologist Lev Semenovich Vygotsky. The goal of the competition is to promote the creation of a community of early childhood educators committed to the child-centered approach.[21]

The 266 winners of the competition receive support from the Rybakov Foundation, both financial prizes and opportunities for professional growth. In addition, every year 100 of the competition's winners take part in the Rybakov Foundation's Summer School, an intensive professional development program.[22] The winners get the chance to go to conferences and educational tours to study the best early childhood education practices. They undergo training according to the program for independently evaluating the quality of nurseries on the digital “The Nursery Is for Children” platform. All of these opportunities are developed by the Rybakov Foundation's “University of Childhood” initiative. The competition winners are now becoming leaders of pedagogical communities in their cities and regions.


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