The event kicked off at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. U.S. Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius also attended.
The Born This Way Foundation will address self-confidence, well-being, anti-bullying, mentoring and career development through research, education and advocacy.
The foundation shares a name with Lady Gaga's hit 2011 single and album, "Born This Way," a song whose lyrics describe self-empowerment.
"It's not about needing help. It's about wanting to help," said Lady Gaga. "How do we work together to make the world a more kind and loving place?"
She said the foundation will encourage young people to do simple things to be kind to one another and encourage others to do the same. That could be as simple as telling someone you like his or her shirt or thanking someone for letting you borrow a pen.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.