It was in October 1960 that Ed Hillary conceived the idea of schools and a hospital to help the Sherpas. He and his party were crossing the 5,800-metre Tashi Laptsa pass which provides a passage over the mountain rampart to the west of the Sherpa region called Khumbu. With its stone-swept gullies, icefall and crevassed névés, the Tashi Laptsa is not easy even with crampons, ice-axes and ropes. Before crossing the pass, they had pitched a makeshift camp high on the moraine-covered ice of the Tolam Bau glacier. There, as night fell and the porters crowded for warmth under tarpaulins, Ed and his climbers, along with Sirdar Urkien and Nepali-speaking journalist Desmond Doig, huddled around a fire of juniper and azalea scrub whose pungent smoke filled the air. With Desmond translating, talk turned to the Sherpas and their future, and the question was asked, 'If there were one thing, Urkien, we could do for your village, what would it be?' Ed had thought the answer might be a small hospital, but the answer Urkien gave was, 'We would like a school for our children.'

The requests and petitions kept coming in and Ed Hillary worked with the local people of Solu Khumbu, the Mt Everest region in Nepal, to build and operate 42 schools and hospitals, forestry programmes, bridges, water systems, airstrips and tracks. Of course there were many friends and partners from around the world who helped with this work.

Below is a list of the Foundations that Ed Hillary founded or cooperated with during his lifetime and the Hillary family continue to work with around the World.

American Himalayan Foundation The American Himalayan Foundation operates and funds many projects across the Himalayas including schools and hospitals, scholarships, bridges, water systems and the restoration of important cultural sites such as monasteries in the Khumbu in the Mount Everest region. (Peter Hillary is an AHF board member)
Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation of Canada The Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation of Canada funds Khunde Hospital near the foot of Mt Everest; forestry programmes and educational facilities in Solu Khumbu. (Peter Hillary is a SEHF board member)
The Himalayan Trust Nepal The Himalayan Trust Nepal is the operations office of Ed Hillary's Himalayan Trust in Nepal.
The Himalayan Trust UK The Himalayan Trust UK provides wide ranging support for programmes in the Himalayas, particularly education. The trust was started by members of the original 1953 British Mt Everest expedition of which both Hillary & Tenzing were members in 1953.
The Australian Himalayan Foundation The Australian Himalayan Foundation supports and runs an extensive teacher training programme throughout the Solu Khumbu district south of Mt Everest. It also runs health programmes, provides art scholarships and funds wildlife protection and environmental assistance programmes from Ladak to Nepal to Bhutan. (Peter Hillary is an AHF Australia board member)
Sir Edmund Hillary Stiftung Deutschland eV The Sir Edmund Hillary Stiftung Deutschland eV is the Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation of Germany. The SEHSD supports Paphlu Hospital in Solu, environmental programmes and education in the Mount Everest region.
Himalayan Trust Ed Hillary's original organisation which built the schools and hospitals in the Mt Everest region of the Solu Khumbu. Ed Hillary insisted that the Himalayan Trust worked as a friend and partner to the people of the Mt Everest region to help them realise their educational, health, economic and cultural aspirations.
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