The Varkey Foundation, initially the Varkey GEMS Foundation, is a global charitable foundation focused on improving the standards of education for underprivileged children.It was formed in 2010 by Indian businessman Sunny Varkey, the founder and chairman of GEMS Education, the world's largest operator of private kindergarten-to-grade-12 schools.The foundation's main focuses are improving global teacher capacity by training tens of thousands of teachers and principals in developing countries; providing access to education via a variety of programmes and projects; and advocating for change in, and conducting research that can help develop, education policies worldwide.
The Varkey Foundation has partnered with a variety of major global organizations including UNESCO, UNICEF, and the Clinton Global Initiative. In 2013, it launched the Global Education and Skills Forum, an annual education summit dedicated to addressing the world's educational needs. After analyzing the public status of teachers worldwide, in 2014 it launched the annual Global Teacher Prize, a US$1 million award to an outstanding pioneering teacher who has had a widespread impact. Sunny Varkey who leads the foundation is a "Goodwill Ambassador" of UNESCO.