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Founded in 2001 by philanthropist Andy Stein, The Orphaned Starfish Foundation (OSF) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization focused on developing vocational centers for orphans, victims of abuse and at-risk youth. Through the creation of computer centers and a focus on the development of computer literacy, OSF creates increased employment opportunities for the children they serve. It runs fifty computer centers in twenty-five countries, serving over 10,000 children worldwide.[1]

Orphaned Starfish Foundation
FounderAndy Stein
HeadquartersNew York, NY


OSF was founded by Andy Stein, a philanthropist with a background in international banking. While working as the joint head of corporate finance in the Philippines for Chase Bank, Stein became 'financially and emotionally' connected to working with orphans and orphanages.[2] He insisted any clients who wanted to pitch business must also arrange a visit to an orphanage. In Chile, Stein spoke with a nun, who informed him of the challenges that face orphans after leaving the orphanage, including homelessness, drug addiction and prostitution.[3] This inspired him to file the necessary paperwork to create a charity, and raise funds for a state-of-the-art computer center for the orphanage in Santiago.[4]

The foundation is named for Loren Eiseley's famous parable about a young man throwing starfish  into the ocean. When the man is told he cannot possibly make a difference saving one starfish at a time he replies, "It makes a difference  [ . . . ] for that one."[4] Stein identifies this as the mission of OSF--though the foundation will never save all the orphans, it "starts with just one starfish."[5]

Programs and InitiativesEdit

OSF funds the construction, maintenance and staffing of vocational training facilities. These include over 50 computer centers, for which they have provided furnishings, computers and computer equipment as well as funding for teachers, English language programs, job placement, and scholarships. Stein identifies the development of life skills as essential to the foundations work, and programs include training on how to manage[6] a budget, obtain independent housing, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Once a center is established, OSF commits to their operation "for life".[1][5]

A staple of Stein's personal visits to the orphanage are his magic shows. He is known by the as 'Tio Mago', uncle magician, and he considers magic a tool in his outreach: "It's a way to make the children feel like they have the ability to do anything in the world."[1]


OSF is a registered 501c3 charity, and its budget is generated in large part from the general public. The Annual Gala in New York City raises 80 percent of their annual operating income as well as the entirety of their scholarship fund.[7]


  1. ^ a b c CNN, Leif Coorlim. "The magician saving children from the streets". CNN. Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  2. ^ CNN, Leif Coorlim. "The magician saving children from the streets". CNN. Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  3. ^ Foundation, Jim Luce James Jay Dudley Luce (2013-09-26). "United Gala for Orphaned Children in Developing World". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  4. ^ a b "The Jewish Week | Connecting the World to Jewish News, Culture, and Opinion". The Jewish Week | Connecting The World To Jewish News, Culture & Opinion. 2015-04-29. Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  5. ^ a b "Orphaned Starfish Foundation". Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  6. ^ "Emerging Markets Charity Benefits". Retrieved 2016-11-21.
  7. ^ "Orphaned Starfish Foundation Aims To Break Cycles Of Poverty, Abuse For Latin American Youths". Retrieved 2016-11-19.