LiftTogo, previously known as ATSA (Association of Togolese Students in USA) was founded in 2009 by a few Togolese students in the Bronx who wanted to change the Togolese diaspora stereotype of not pursuing higher education in the US. Since then, it has expanded from that group of friends to a full-fledged non-profit organization recognized under section 501(c)3 of the IRS.
True to its mission statement, this organization of Togolese students and professionals has been able to successfully impact its community both in the United State and in West Africa.
In Togo, the community of Polougou in the northern part of the country has benefited from the concentrated efforts of LiftTogo in many ways. Teachers' salaries have been maintained through dedicated fundraising efforts and minimal membership fees. In addition, a much needed supply of benches as well as other school necessities was provided.
LiftTogo is currently working on a water and community garden plus well project in order to make the school and its population self-sufficient and also reduce the incidence of diseases due to contaminated water. Once implemented, this project will create a modest job opportunity.
Serving their community locally has seen LiftTogo participating in multiple socially constructive work such as the Food Bank fight against hunger in NYC initiative, the LiftTogo Soccer Tournament and Barbecue which brings the community together every summer, as well as the Young African Leadership Symposium, and multiple other partnerships.
More geared towards their targeted audience is the yearly Community Development Forum which has inspired many of their members, including four in the current Executive board to pursue higher education. The guidance and support provided yielded Honors Graduates from Harvard Medical School and Harvard John F Kennedy School of Government, NYU, University of Colorado, Baruch College, Cornell University, Syracuse University, City College, Lehman College, Hunter College.
LiftTogo can now boast professionals from diverse fields: Biologists, Physician Assistants, Chemists, Computer and Electrical Science Engineers, Computer Systems Engineers, Business Administrators, Political Scientists, Accountants, Filmmakers, Culinary arts specialist, and Childhood Educators, to cite a few. Through a network named Lift Connect, these alumni do not hesitate to reach out to those following in their footsteps.
Most recently, LiftTogo was invited to the MIT Africa Innovate Forum to showcase and raise awareness about its work. Much like in other endeavors, their participation involved the volunteered contribution of many of their members. LiftTogo is an organization of young people that are not only dynamic and engaged but also willing to give their unremunerated time in order to realize their vision for a better Africa.