Nonprofit buildOn announces actors Travis Van Winkle, Katharine McPhee, and Fatima Ptacek as their first buildOn Ambassadors

STAMFORD, Conn., Feb. 4, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- International nonprofit buildOn ( is proud to announce that actors and philanthropists Travis Van Winkle, Katharine McPhee, and Fatima Ptacek will be the first group of buildOn Ambassadors for the organization. buildOn Ambassadors are members of the entertainment industry who are lending their voices as leaders in the buildOn movement to help break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through service and education.

Travis Van Winkle, who currently stars on TNT's THE LAST SHIP, is a long time supporter of buildOn. He has dedicated himself to service by fundraising, serving and advocating in support of buildOn's International School Building Programs and U.S. Service Learning Programs. Over the last three years, he has constructed schools with buildOn in Malawi, Haiti and Nicaragua and has lent his time to lead treks abroad as support staff.

"I'm so grateful buildOn has become a major part of my life over the last couple of years and serving as the Global Ambassador is an absolute honor," Travis Van Winkle says, "What I love about buildOn is that everyone involved is given an opportunity to rise above their limitations and stand up into their best selves."

Katharine McPhee, who currently stars on CBS's SCORPION, launched buildOn's school building program in Burkina Faso, West Africa in 2014. Since the launch in Burkina Faso, buildOn has built 21 schools with 32,837 Volunteer Work Days. This past December Katharine matched donations for buildOn's 2015 Holiday Campaign to fund another school in Burkina Faso. In addition, Katharine will be co-chairing buildOn's 2nd Annual International Women's Day Campaign in March and will be funding another school to be built in 2016.

Katharine stated, "I'm excited to continue to work with buildOn as their International Ambassador. The organization has a brilliant way of guiding 'our own youth,' here in the US all while helping abroad. It's important, from my experience, to find something to get involved with and give back - it gives people a sense of purpose. It helps people see outside of their own world and the current issues around the world. That alone gives reflection and perspective on life."

Fatima, known as the voice of 'Dora' in Nickelodeon's DORA THE EXPLORER and for her lead role in the Oscar winning short film CURFEW, has recently joined the buildOn family as the U.S. Service Learning Programs Ambassador. She has been dedicated to community service in New York City since she was in elementary school. Fatima has jumped in head first spearheading social campaigns throughout 2015 and attending buildOn's annual Gala in New York City. Fatima will be lending her voice and time doing community service here in the US and also abroad.

Fatima said, "I cannot be more proud to join the buildOn family and support its movement which works hard to promote the importance of education, the dedication to build schools internationally, and the knowledge necessary to be successful. I am so thrilled to help spread awareness about the education crisis in the US, to support youth globally, and to emphasize how essential service is to make our communities stronger."

To find out more about buildOn's Ambassador Program, please email

About buildOn: At home or abroad, buildOn's goal is to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through service and education. Across the U.S., buildOn empowers urban youth to transform their neighborhoods through intensive community service and to change the world by building schools in some of the economically poorest countries in the world. Since 1991, buildOn has constructed 864 schools worldwide, with more than 110,000 children, parents and grandparents attending these schools every day. For more information, visit buildOn has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator


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