Introducing Project: Empower – The Student-Led Non-Profit Uplifting Underprivileged Communities through Code

The organization also recently launched a new tool that provides high school students with access to over 400 extracurricular opportunities.

ANNANDALE, VIRGINIA, UNITED STATES, January 18, 2023 / -- In a world where the economic divide is growing faster than ever, Project: Empower is addressing the issues that underprivileged communities face through code.

Project: Empower is a student-led 501(c)3 non-profit organization that develops software to help underprivileged communities. It aims to bring students together from across the world to create software-based solutions to prominent challenges faced by people of underserved backgrounds, all in a digital environment.

“Growing up in an immigrant family, I experienced the challenges that people from low-income backgrounds face on a daily basis, such as financial insecurity and lack of transportation,” says founder of Project: Empower, Henry Zheng. “These experiences made me extremely conscientious of the social inequalities that exist in our society and inspired me to take action.”

“Throughout my adolescence, I personally found myself naturally gravitating towards technology and computers,” he continues. “Whether it was helping me self-study for standardized tests, without needing to hire expensive tutors or helping me navigate the college admissions process, I realized that technology had the power to uplift those from underprivileged backgrounds. I founded Project: Empower to inspire other students, like myself, to harness this incredible power to make a positive impact in underprivileged communities. Technology changed my life, and I hope Project: Empower will help better the lives of many more across the world.”

At its core, Project: Empower provides the resources to bring socially impactful software from imagination to reality. More specifically, the organization helps students to develop initiatives/join existing ones, connects them with mentors and teams to support their projects, and helps to deploy completed initiatives and extend their impact in the real world.

Not only that, but Project: Empower also enables students to earn volunteer service hours entirely online – making it the one of the only non-profits to do so. The organization has a number of positions, ranging from programming to outreach, such as social media management and web development, just to name a few. Students can also start a chapter in their local area and work with their friends to develop software projects they find meaningful and make an impact in their community.

While these features alone set Project: Empower apart from other non-profits for students, what truly makes it unique is its newly launched Illuminate tool. Illuminate gives high school students access to over 400 extracurricular opportunities sorted by categories and interests. To make the most of the tool, students can use the filtering feature to find activities tailored to their interests/goals.

“The purpose of the tool is to fill the opportunity gap that first-generation/low-income students face in high school and help prepare them for college admissions,” Henry states. “With Illuminate, students gain access to over 400 handpicked activities to choose from, get customized suggestions based on interests, and even have the ability to save search results to come back at a later time.”

“Currently, Project: Empower has seen over 400k visitors to its site and more than 100k users,” he concludes. “I couldn’t be more excited to see the tool growing in popularity so quickly and helping thousands of students across the country."

Project: Empower is rapidly growing and always looking for new volunteers. For more information about the organization, please visit

About Project: Empower

Project: Empower was founded by Henry Zheng, a first-year student at the University of Virginia. He was born to an immigrant family and was exposed to many of the challenges faced by those from underprivileged backgrounds from an early age which inspired him to take action. Henry is passionate about leveraging technology to make a difference and pave the way to a more equitable world.

Henry Zheng
Project: Empower