2017 Annual Report

Thank you.

Your generosity makes Population Connection’s work possible, and I’m deeply grateful to you for your continued support. Your perseverance in striving toward zero population growth inspires and motivates us all.

Since our earliest days as ZPG, supporters like you have marched, volunteered, canvassed, and raised the alarm about the damaging effects of population growth on our environment and human well-being. And there’s much we have accomplished together! When we were founded in 1968, there were just four countries at replacement rate. Now, there are 96. That’s incredible global progress, thanks, in part, to you. But the challenge grows with each passing day. Last year, members like you volunteered at 84 outreach events in 59 cities across the country—a tremendous showing of support for global reproductive rights, environmental protection, and social justice.

Like you, Dirk and Bonnie Walters of San Luis Obispo, California, want to spur others into action. Members since 1979, they’ve hosted an informational table at their Farmers Market two days a month since 1985. Bonnie said, “Population growth is the fundamental problem, the elephant in the room. The more people we can get saying it out loud, the better. Tell people this problem isn’t going away. Get the education and dedication out there!”

Now, we’re training the next generation of young people to become thoughtful, committed advocates for population stabilization.

You make it possible for millions of young people, and advocates of all ages, to grasp how important it is to stabilize global population with your generous support of our K-12 program, Population Education, and our hard-hitting joint advocacy campaign with Population Connection Action Fund, #Fight4HER.

Your support ensures that more people understand how population growth worsens other global issues. And thanks to you, more people than ever have joined our movement!

We’re fortunate to count you as a partner and friend. Thank you.

With gratitude,

John Seager

Capitol Hill Days participants from North Carolina meet with the offices of their elected officials to urge their support of international family planning funding.


Population Education

Everything is Connected

Population Education Workshop at Winthrop Rockefeller Institute on Petit Jean Mountain in Arkansas on July 15, 2017.

Ecologist Barry Commoner’s concept that “everything is connected to everything else” elegantly sums up Population Connection’s own philosophy. Human population growth affects everything on our planet: From the largest animal on Earth, the Blue Whale, to the onslaught of microplastics threatening its existence. From consumers living in throwaway societies, to people and animals picking through trash washing up on formerly pristine beaches around the world. Our connection to the planet’s degradation is inescapable.

Even so, you have shown that we can be a collective force for good. Your support of Population Education (PopEd) allowed three million young people to learn about human impacts on our environment last year. PopEd is the only nationwide program dedicated to providing professional training and resources for K-12 educators to teach their students about population growth in the classroom. It’s popular, innovative, and game changing for many young people.

“The numbers and the rapid rate at which change is happening stunned us,” said Arnav Madhiwalla, a Rockaway, New Jersey teen who won PopEd’s World of 7 Billion video contest with her class last year. She and her class examined the connection between human population growth and climate change, and their winning video featured a powerful visual of Earth suffering from human-driven activities.

Isabelle Rios explains PopEd’s workshop model to new facilitators at a training institute in Arkansas in July 2017.

PopEd’s activities and resources produce many of these “a-ha!” moments, where students realize just how much everything is connected to  population growth.

In fact, “Everything is Connected” happens to be the name of one of PopEd’s popular lesson plans for middle and high school students. Just consider the simple concept of “more people” and draw a web of connections from there: “more food production,” “more pollution,” “less open space,” or “more poverty” might all come to mind. As you know, countless connections can be made. Keep going and you’ll see how PopEd’s classroom activities like this one can spark questions, deepen debates, and offer young people solutions to ourworld’s complex problems.

PopEd’s “train the teacher” model maximizes your impact—with more than 600 professional educators volunteering their time, we train more than 12,000 teachers a year to include PopEd in their classrooms.

Much of our work with young people stems from the knowledge that we’re planting the seeds of change for a more sustainable world. This means we will have ripple effects across our nation and around the world … and for generations to come.

PopEd by the Numbers


3 million U.S. students learned global population concepts in K-12 classrooms

PopEd staff and volunteers trained 12,700 current and future teachers at 730 workshops

14,000 current and future teachers received our curricular materials at workshops and conferences

5,500+ students from 48 states and 45 countries submitted 2,913 videos for our annual World of 7 Billion contest

219 faculty members on 157 campuses sponsored PopEd workshops in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 4 Canadian provinces

1.1 million visited our 3 education websites

127 Advances Placement Summer Institutes in 36 states featured PopEd curricula

90 graduate students and continuing education teachers attended sessions of PopEd’s online graduate course

50 new volunteer trainers participated in Leadership Institutes


Sharing a World of 7 Billion

Each year, PopEd invites middle and high school students to create videos offering their solutions to global population growth and its related problems.

In 2017, World of 7 Billion student video contest participants examined the population connections to climate change, ocean health, and rapid urbanization.

Ethan Xiong, an eighth grader living in Singapore, shared with us:

“I am concerned for the environment and the future of our planet and I wanted to spread a 
positive message through my videos that would inform people about the issues we face, as well as how they can be solved.”

Ethan is one of 5,500+ students who participated in the 2017 video contest. These young people are planning for a better future, thanks to you. See all the winners for each topic here.

Douah Shakshuki
Horton High School
Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada

Douah Shakshuki, a junior at Horton High School in Wolfville, Nova Scotia focused her winning climate change video on the connections to food production and consumption, and how individual actions can make a difference. “I have a vegetable garden in the summer,” she told us. “If I can do it, other people can do it, too.”

Away from school, Douah utilizes art as a creative outlet. Aside from dabbling in filmmaking, she also draws, paints, sculpts with clay, and decorates cakes. This isn’t the first time Douah has been recognized for addressing important issues, either. In 2014, she received the Lt. Governor’s Respectful Citizenship Award for raising funds for local charities and building interfaith relations in her community.

Maya Peters-Greño and Maya Redden
Compass Academy
Idaho Falls, Idaho

Maya Peters-Greño and Maya Redden are sophomores at Compass Academy in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Their teacher used the video contest guidelines for a class project on the impacts of human population, and the girls decided to enter their video into the contest.

When she isn’t entering in competitions, Maya R. enjoys dancing and volunteering at the local interactive art museum. Maya P.G., who relocated from Spain only a couple of years ago, emphasized that she’s still discovering more things to like about her new home, especially making new friends like Maya R.

Emily Phillips and Elizabeth Langer
Piedmont High School

Emily Phillips and Elizabeth Langer are both seniors at Piedmont High School and they created their video as an assignment in their AP Environmental Science class. They chose to focus their video on rapid urbanization because they were interested in learning more about the topic.

The two seniors have exciting plans post-graduation. They’ll spend their summer traveling across Europe and plan to put their prize money towards Eurail passes. After their summer travels, Emily will head south to attend Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles where she plans to study film production, while Lizzie is headed across the pond to the University of Edinburgh to study English Literature.


Field and Outreach

Together, we #Fight4HER

Mary K. and other women wait to be seen at the FHOK’s Kibera clinic in Nairobi, Kenya.

Nothing has more to do with ending rapid population growth than upholding the right of women and girls to make their own reproductive decisions, both in the U.S. and throughout the world.

Countries with access to family planning see the number of unintended pregnancies plummet. Investments in reproductive health care, contraceptives, and safe, legal abortion save lives, empower women and girls, and protect our environment. Reproductive rights are worth fighting for, no matter how long or contentious that fight may be.

In 2017, Trump imposed his shameful Global Gag Rule, making it more damaging and sweeping than ever before. Not only that, but he attacked domestic and international family planning funding and dismantled federal programs for comprehensive sex education for teens. He zeroed out funding for UNFPA. He unraveled the birth control benefit of the Affordable Care Act.

To fight back against Trump’s Global Gag Rule, Population Connection and Population Connection Action Fund kicked off our hard-hitting advocacy campaign, #Fight4HER, in support of the Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights (HER) Act to repeal Trump’s Global Gag Rule forever.

Thanks to your support, #Fight4HER galvanized advocates across the United States, with thousands mobilizing in support of global reproductive rights. You brought 333 activists to Washington, DC, to urge 190 members of Congress to permanently repeal Trump’s Global Gag Rule, to support the work of UNFPA, and to increase U.S. funding to expand access to reproductive health care around the world.

Trump’s disgraceful track record leaves millions of people with little to no family planning options—a fact we chronicled in partnership with Population Connection Action Fund, human rights activist Lisa Shannon, and Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK) in 2017.

As part of #Fight4HER, we brought human rights activist Lisa Shannon and FHOK’s Melvine Ouyo and Amos Simpano on a U.S. tour of college campuses and our nation’s capital. They recounted harrowing stories on the cut-backs clinics would be forced to make after refusing to abide by Trump’s Global Gag Rule.

In another partnership with Population Connection Action Fund and Lisa Shannon, we documented women’s stories in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, and Kenya, hearing from people like Mary K. (above), whose family planning clinic in Kibera, Kenya, has closed under Trump’s Global Gag Rule. Patients like Mary K. (left) will bear the burden of Trump’s cruel agenda. A mother of one who dreams of becoming a journalist or a lawyer someday, she said:

“Without family planning, people will get so many children. I only want to have two children.”

You made it possible for us to spotlight her story, and those of many others whose lives will be disrupted, whose bright plans for the future may have to change once their clinic closes. For them, and for you, we’ll continuing fighting for reproductive rights for all.


Connecting Advocates

In partnership with Population Connection Action Fund.

A #Fight4HER activist attends a rally in Washington, D.C.

1.6 million people viewed our Twitter chat with journalist Jen Wright and CHANGE  (the Center for Health and Gender Equity)

333 activists from 34 states attended Capitol Hill Days and lobbied 190 legislators

304 student advocates received member sponsored scholarships to attend Capitol Hill Days

Campus advocates published 21 op-eds and letters to the editor

News media including The World, Foreign Policy, Bustle, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed, and college campus press outlets featured the Family Health Options Kenya speaking tour



Capitol Hill Days 

Leisan Garifullina and Amandine Manywa from Pomona College in CA at Capitol Hill Days.

Fueled with a passion for family planning, more than 300 advocates gathered in D.C. to learn, organize, and take action during Population Connection’s annual Capitol Hill Days, hosted in partnership with Population Connection Action Fund. Attendees representing 34 states and more than 130 congressional districts advocated for increased international family planning funding and for the repeal of Trump’s Global Gag Rule.

“ I am honored to have had the chance to meet you, to see the amazing work you do, and to be part of Capitol Hill Days. I have learned more than I had ever done in a weekend about international funding for family planning and lobbying.”
Amandine Manywa, CHD 2017 attendee

Campus advocates at Capitol Hill Days 2017.


Outreach by the Numbers

PopEd staff and volunteer trainers presented 730 workshops

Members led 84 events in 59 different cities, including 31 Earth Day events, across the nation

50 new and returning teacher trainer volunteers attended PopEd Leadership Institutes in Arkansas and Virginia

1,158 educators participated in PopEd workshops across Texas — the highest number of teachers trained in any state


*Connecticut had 105 participants in 2017

Global Partnerships

In 2017, Population Connection deepened partnerships with international NGOs whose work complements our mission—especially those who have seen their funding threatened or slashed by Trump’s cruel Global Gag Rule. While the vast majority of our work is here in the U.S., Population Connection supported an array of global programs, thanks to you, including:

This Ugandan organization focuses on improving the health of villagers surrounding the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, one of the last natural habitats for the mountain gorilla. One key component of its health program is family planning—improving maternal and child outcomes while slowing human population growth and encroachment on gorilla habitat. Our partnership with CTPH last year ensured that 25,000 women in villages surrounding the park would gain access to family planning. CTPH has seen great success from its family planning outreach programs, with a reported three-fold increase in contraceptive prevalence in two of the parishes where the organization works.

We teamed up with Ipas in Nigeria to support local media advocacy and information distribution about the impacts and restrictions of Trump’s Global Gag Rule. We publicized opportunities for the Nigerian government to fill the reproductive health service gaps created by Trump’s retrograde policy and called on the Nigerian government to promote more progressive abortion policies. Nigeria has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, with unsafe abortion being a major cause. Trump’s Global Gag Rule makes the situation even more perilous for
women in Nigeria, and thanks to members like you, Population Connection and Ipas drew attention to the dire risks facing Nigerian women under Trump’s cruel policy.

Population Connection partnered with Population Connection Action Fund and FHOK to share the stories of health care providers and their patients who are affected by Trump’s Global Gag Rule in the Kibera community of Nairobi, Kenya. These brave women spoke up about their lives, their challenges, and their dreams for the future—and how the closure of their local FHOK clinic could derail their plans. Thanks to you and your support and the women who shared their stories, our FHOK partnership mobilized thousands more Americans against Trump’s Global Gag Rule.

FHOK and Population Connection staff toured U.S. college campuses and our nation’s capital.


We Are Population Connection

Since 1968, Population Connection (formerly Zero Population Growth or ZPG) has been America's voice for population stabilization—we are the largest grassroots population organization in the United States! As a 501(c)(3) charity, all donations made to us are tax-deductible.

Already a member? Renew today!

Your tax-deductible membership dues help us advocate for universal access to birth control, educate tomorrow’s leaders about global population challenges, and mobilize Americans who care about stabilizing population. Your on-going support is vital to our continued success!

Renew Today

Stay Updated

Join our Email Action Network to hear about important legislative developments, constituent calls to action, and events in your area!