SUMMAIYA AFREENLAKSHYA JEEVAN JAGRITI
Summaiya is the Co-Founder and Director of Lakshya Jeevan Jagriti, a social enterprise in India that provides leadership opportunities that encourage women to participate in stakeholder committees through coaching, literacy training, business training, organizational mobilization and market access. Her mission in life is to open a school of Mothers where women can continue studies after marriage. Summaiya launched Lakshya Jeevan Jagriti during college Jeevan Jagriti with Co-Founder, Rahul Goswami. She has also launched Aao Sath Maa, an initiative that provides a platform of digital literacy to mothers. From basic literacy to digital literacy, women from any background can join with their veils on. Lakshya Jeevan Jagriti has touched 6,000 lives over the span of five years. It is the unconventional approach of turning the unskilled female population into a skilled female workforce by narrowing the digital gap.
Danny is the Founder and CEO of Monk, a mobile platform aiming to provide financial security by enabling social circles to save, borrow and lend together. Prior to Monk, Danny was the technical Co-founder of Jurispect, an enterprise legal intelligence SaaS platform. Danny’s entrepreneurial career started at the age of 17 when he founded his first E-Commerce auction site selling textbooks. Early in his career, Danny was a financial analyst on Wall Street working for several global investment institutions including J.P. Morgan and Neuberger Berman. To pursue his passion for technology and software development, Danny eventually left the finance world to join Google before he returned to his entrepreneur root. Danny holds dual BS degrees from the University of Michigan in Mathematics and Economics and he is also an active member of the American Mensa.
Guilherme Braga graduated with a degree in law from PUCRS and with an MBA from FGV (Fundação Getúlio Vargas). Guilherme worked at the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) as commercial coordinator and was responsible for the trainee program. He left AmCham to work at Perto S/A as an export account manager and was responsible for opening new markets outside of Brazil. In that role, Guilherme gained experience with clients from Uruguay, Chile, Ecuador, Venezuela, India, Germany, South Africa and the USA. Guilherme left Perto S/A in 2009 to found Egalitê where he is the CEO. Egalite is a company that specializes in the recruitment of persons with disabilities (PWD). In Brazil there is a law that requires companies over 100 employees to include 2 - 5% of PWD in their workforces. To accomplish this inclusion requirement, Egalite prepares, recruits and evaluates PWD candidates. The preparation occurs through free online courses adapted to PWD. The evaluation takes place through a behavioral profile test. With this assessment, Egalitê syncs the best job for the applicant with the appropriate job opportunity. An algorithm calculates the best opportunity for each candidate, based on geo-location, education, salary requirements, practice area and behavioral profile.
After graduating in 2009 with a Bachelor of Art in Political Science from UC Berkley, Marquett decided to join Teach For America’s Baltimore corp. While teaching full-time, he earned a masters degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Education. In 2011, Marquett was awarded a Mayoral Fellowship which made him the liaison between the Mayor’s Office and the CEO of Baltimore City Schools. In 2013, after visiting over 100 schools throughout Washington, Oregon and California he was confronted with the reality that 50% of America’s college students never graduate. Marquett founded Fletch to ensure every family has the honor of seeing one of their own graduate. Fletch is a college retention app that empowers students to get quick answers around the clock and invite any classmate to a study group. The app also uses an algorithm to target on campus resources to students who need them most.
LEAH FILLERLAVA MAE
Leah Filler is a founding team member and the Director of Global Community Engagement at Lava Mae, a mobile shower service for the homeless in San Francisco, CA. By re-purposing retired transportation buses into bathrooms on wheels, Lava Mae works to deliver dignity, unlock opportunity, and seed hope for people moving through homelessness. Leah was born and raised in Boston, MA, where she organized with the women’s rights, LGBT, and Occupy movements. Two weeks after moving to the Bay Area in 2013, she read an early article about Lava Mae and fell in love with the project. She is proud to have driven Lava Mae through the crowd funding campaigns that launched the first two mobile shower buses. She was a 2014 Google Bay Area Impact Challenge and was featured in a viral video that has touched 19+ million viewers via AJ+ and UpWorthy.
Rocío González is co-founder and CEO of Greca, a sustainable design company that makes objects and fashion accessories from discarded buttons. Products are sustainable and handmade in Greca’s workshop in collaboration with social cooperatives from vulnerable sectors. Today, Greca works with YoNoFui, a NGO that employs and empowers women from jails and RedActivos, an organization that works with people with disabilities. Greca also aims to create environmental consciousness. Rocío studied architecture when she started experimenting with resin. What began as a hobby became an everyday project when she met Lucas Campodónico. Greca's social impact is environmental through its use of up-cycled materials as well as impactful in terms of job creation for underserved communities.
Zhihan is the Co-founder and CEO of BagoSphere, which offers affordable, intensive job preparation boot camp, teaching practical communication and IT skills to previously unemployed persons. Since January 2013, BagoSphere has 551 graduates, of which 475 have been hired despite 40% having zero previous work experience. While trying to understand the human condition, Zhihan led volunteers to projects in rural Laos and Thailand. He spent a year in a medical-tech start-up in Stockholm in 2008 and studied entrepreneurship at the Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship & The Royal Institute of Technology. Thereafter, Zhihan ventured into rural India to work with a social enterprise involved in rural IT outsourcing and subsequently started BagoSphere in the Philippines. Zhihan graduated with an Engineering Science degree from the National university of Singapore.
JASON PANDAB HOLDING GROUP, LLC
Jason Panda, Esq. is the Founder of B Holding Group, LLC (BHG), a social enterprise that improves the health of underserved communities by focusing on challenges like family planning and HIV. Jason graduated from Morehouse College, where he was an Oprah Winfrey Scholar, and Georgetown University Law Center. An early career working at start-up companies and a prestigious law firm was interrupted by a deeply moving discussion with his mother regarding the disproportionate impact of HIV and teen pregnancy on underserved communities. Jason eventually left his firm to fill this void through BHG. BHG works with health departments to integrates traditional techniques that increases sales while leveraging market research and data to inform the branding, marketing, improve condom distribution efforts, and track impact. Jason is an Echoing Green Fellow, Huffington Post contributor and a member of the Strategic Leadership Council for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
NELSON REIYIAOLDARPOI MARA CAMP
Nelson Ole Reiyia, son of Maasai nomads, is the creative initiator and owner of the Oldarpoi Mara Camp with a visionary passion for his culture, people and community. His mission is to use business as a key driver of change particularly in sharing benefits with local communities. Nelson’s passion is to transform his local Maasai community socially and economically without changing their positive value systems. Nelson has worked extensively in the tourism and Hospitality industry where he has been a college lecturer, hotel manager and currently owns his own lodge in the Maasai Mara National Reserve. Apart from the Tourism and Hospitality ventures which are associated with him, Nelson has established a community based organization by the name of I SEE MAASAI DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE (ISMDI), which works with the local community in the Mara, particularly in promoting educational opportunities. The organization together with the safari lodge has so far been able to establish three schools and a library for the community. In his free time, Nelson enjoys walking in nature, as he is very keen in studying medicinal plants. He enjoys reading as well as connecting with friends in social media.
Speirs is a social entrepreneur and community builder with eight years of experience in the U.S., Middle East, and South Asia. She is co-founder and president of Solstice Initiative, a first-of-its-kind company that deploys community solar power to underserved Americans. She previously worked as the Innovation Manager at d.light India, spearheaded Acumen’s renewable energy sector investment strategy in Pakistan, developed Middle East policy as the youngest Director at the White House National Security Council, and managed field operations in seven states for the first Obama presidential campaign. Speirs holds a B.A. from Yale and a Master in Public Affairs (MPA) with distinction from Princeton. She was selected as an Echoing Green Climate Fellow, an Acumen Global Fellow and is a recipient of the Diplomatic Courier/Young Professionals in Foreign Policy Top 99 Under 33 Award.
JULIA STEWARTMOTHER MIRACLE
Julia Stewart is the Director of Programs for Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation, a New Orleans-based non-profit that helps to launch social and environmental ventures to address local challenges within the areas of food security, healthcare, educational equity, and water management. Julia oversees all of Propeller’s social entrepreneurship programming. Since 2012, Julia has supported 90 Ventures that have collectively generated 120 full- and part-time jobs and $35 million in external financing, revenues, and grants. Julia has served on judging panels for the International Fulbright Seminar, Junior Achievement of Greater New Orleans, on the Advisory Board for Tulane’s Changemaker Institute, and was a speaker at the 2015 Detroit Policy Conference. Julia graduated with a B.A. in International Relations from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.
Prior to establishing Lighting Engineering Solutions (LES), Sokun worked in the private and development sectors. This experience gave him the opportunity to hone skills in business development, marketing and product development. Sokun focused on his interest to engage in social enterprise work during his stints as Country Manager of the World Toilet Organization and as Business Development Specialist in Cambodia for DuPont. Sokun witnessed firsthand tremendous challenges regarding lack of reliable access to electricity for more than 2 million households. That problem motivated Sokun to establish LES in 2013 to provide sustainable electricity solutions for rural communities in Cambodia.
KARIM ABOUELNAGAPractice Makes Perfect
Karim Abouelnaga is the founder and CEO of Practice Makes Perfect, a nonprofit organization conceived on the premise that all children, regardless of race or socioeconomic status, have equal potential to compete intellectually in our society. After learning about the achievement gap and its personal impact on his life in 2010, Karim set out to create a program that addressed three critical pain points: lack of engagement in middle school, especially in low income neighborhoods like the one in which he was raised; summer opportunities and graduation rates for high school students, especially for those attending inner-city high schools like the one Karim attended; and college readiness and matriculation into selective universities. Since graduating from the New York City public school system, Karim secured over $300,000 in scholarships and aid to make his college education possible. For his work with Practice Makes Perfect, Karim has been featured in the New York Times and awarded several distinctions, including the Echoing Green Fellowship, Robinson Appel Humanitarian Award, Newman Civic Fellowship, Pearson Prize National Fellowship, Cornell’s Distinguished Leadership Award and the Cornell Class of 1964 John F. Kennedy Memorial Award. Karim is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, where he served as a student assistant to the Dean and was a Presidential Research Scholar.
SHILSHILA ACHARYAHimalayan Climate Initiative
Acharya, was born and raised in a small town in western Nepal. She completed her schooling at a small school in Myagdi where she realized that the number of girls in her class decreased every year. This led her to delve into the issue. She was saddened to discover that thousands of poor Nepali girls were being sold to brothels in India, and exploited in other countries.
During the course of her studies, Shilshila was awarded a full scholarship in 2005 from the Government of Nepal to study medicine. However, realizing the pressing environmental challenges across the globe, she chose to study Environmental Studies at Kathmandu University, Nepal so she could address this problem. Through a Fellowship from World Wild Life Fund Nepal, she went on to complete her Masters in Biodiversity and Environment Management from Norway and Nepal. In 2013. Shilshila joined Himalayan Climate Initiative and married her interest to promote environmentalism and support vulnerable women. She co-founded "Hamri Bahini- The Green Angel, a social enterprise that provides “green” jobs to poor girls through green enterprise activities. Today, she has created employment for more than 150 less educated women. She has received numerous fellowships and national awards, as a promising young leader of Nepal, and has been repeatedly featured in national news and Television in recognition of her work.
Mene Blessing is a visionary leader who is deeply passionate about making a difference in the food security and agriculture space in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa. He founded Aleph Tav Limited, a company focused on producing alternative low-cost animal feed derived from agricultural waste. He serves as the CEO. Mene believes in the power of integrity, wisdom, honor and grace as the key to outstanding living, unlimited impact and business endeavors. Some legends who have influenced him the include: John C. Maxwell, Bill Drayton, Howard Schultz, David Oyedepo, Stephen R. Covey, Myles Munroe, Nick Fellers, Sam Adeyemi, Kevin Starr, Mike Murdock and Andrew Youn. His greatest passion is the pursuit of wisdom, especially related to leadership, social entrepreneurship, business innovation and the prosperity of nations.
IRINA GHAPLANYANThe Green Bean
Irina Ghaplayan is a Doctoral graduate from the University of Cambridge. Her academic research and civic activism, combined with her being a long-time hobby environmentalist, were the driving factors behind her active participation in co-founding and running of The Green Bean Coffee Shop – Armenia’s first sustainable coffee shop.
Irina holds a BA from Russian-Armenian State (Slavonic) University in International Relations and a MA from the Diplomatic Academy of London. She has extensive work and academic experience including but not limited to engagements at the UNDP, German Council for Foreign Relations, and ISIS Center at Georgetown University.
A certified wine expert, Irina finds refuge from her academic and green challenges in discovering the world of wine and promoting wine-appreciation in Armenia. Irina currently resides in Yerevan with her husband, David, and their three children, David Areg.
ANGE M. MUYUBIRAKaz'O'zah
Since childhood, Ange M. Muyubira was interested in learning about style, fashion, art and craft. Although this was her passion, Ange moved to England to pursue a degree in interpreting/translating. A few years after moving to England, Ange worked for Chanel. This renewed her interest in fashion and helped Ange to realize her talents in design, and her joy in working with people.
After living in England for 10 years, Ange returned to Burundi to use her creativity to help grow Burundi’s cultural and artistic industries. Ange began her entrepreneurial endeavors in 2010 by creating the company Burundi Tours and Events, a tour operator that specializes in Burundian cultural tours. While working in this business, Ange consistently received requests from foreign visitors to see the production of art and craft items, and this is how she discovered the lack of authentic Burundian souvenirs. She also found that Burundian artisans were making archaic craft items that were not of interest to today’s modern market.
Motivated by her desire to empower and support Burundian artisans, Ange founded Kaz’O’zah Art in 2012. Kaz’O’zah Art is a social enterprise that trains and employs artisans and provides them with a platform to improve their skills and earn a fair wage. Kaz’O’zah Art also offers urban and rural poor Burundians, especially women, an opportunity to become artisans and learn new skills to produce art, jewelry, and textile products. All products are made using traditional Burundian craft techniques, but the designs have been modernized to fit with the current fashion scene. Kaz’O’zah Art currently works with over 102 Burundian artisans, 28 of whom are full-time employees.
Diana Quintero is the cofounder of Bive, a healthcare social business that facilitates access to high quality healthcare services for low and medium income families in Colombia. Through an annual family membership, Bive provides access to a network of private healthcare providers that offer high quality and timely health services, receiving a discount of up to 70% on the actual price of the service. Established in 2012, Bive has reached approximately ten thousand people.
Diana was born and raised in Colombia. She graduated from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia with a degree in business and corporate finance. Diana is passionate about social equity and sustainable poverty reduction. As a result, she has volunteered with several organizations in Colombia that promote Nobel peace prize Prof. Muhammad Yunus’ social business philosophy such as The Grameen Creative Lab and Yunus Social Business Colombia, and for local NGOs, helping them create sustainable business models. She also enjoys engaging young people in leadership, entrepreneurship and social change.
Diana is actively engaged in the arts such as music, dancing and theater. She also loves outdoor activities, spending time with her family and traveling. She’s also developed a passion for speaking at both national and international conferences about poverty reduction and social inclusion in Austria, Brazil, Malaysia and Mexico.
AMECA REALIJustice and Acountability Center of Louisiana
Ameca Reali is the Co-Founder and Executive Director at the Justice and Accountability Center of Louisiana. As JAC’s Executive Director, Ameca helped to create and oversees the delivery of the mobile legal clinics, which provide free legal services to thousands of people in Louisiana and community education programs aimed at increasing community members knowledge of the criminal justice system and law. She’s responsible for the development and delivery of new programs, as well as the recruitment, development, and ongoing management of relationships with community partners.
A native of New York, Ameca graduated cum laude from of the State University of New York at Buffalo with a degree in Communication and moved to New Orleans to attend Loyola University School of Law. Ameca grew up as one of three children, raised by a mother and aunts who spent time advocating for others in their community and fighting to end injustice. Realizing the connection between the issues faced by people in her hometown and people in New Orleans, Ameca spent her first few years in New Orleans working on a range of legal issues effecting marginalized communities such as capital appeals, access to courts and justice housing discrimination, housing voucher termination, landlord tenant and security deposit retrieval for people receiving public assistance, first amendment violations, voter protection and elections and education reform in Post Katrina New Orleans. She has worked closely with the Loyola Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild as a legal observer. In 2011, after securing an Echoing Green Fellowship, Ameca and her partner founded the Justice and Accountability Center of Louisiana.
Ameca is passionate about mentoring young people and has worked for and volunteered for youth based organizations such as Urban League College Track, Youth Run Nola and Project Butterfly Nola.
Angelica Towne is motivated by the belief that the development of African nations is a necessary step to ending racism globally. As an African American growing up in New York City, she has experienced the positive exchange of resources, support, and skills between communities of the global African diaspora. Angelica would travel to high school everyday from the family shelter where she lived among many immigrants. Her only dream was to attend college because higher education was the promise of a better future. She was awarded a full-tuition merit scholarship to attend college that included one year of youth leadership training. At Middlebury College, her Pan-African passion turned into transformative action as Angelica began to pilot youth programs in Jamaica and Ethiopia. She witnessed first-hand the low quality, factory-style schools in these communities and couldn’t ignore her call to action. All over the African diaspora, the promise of education was being broken by low quality standards and a focus on examinations. She wrote her senior thesis on defining a life-changing education that provides students and their communities the skills to end poverty. Angelica started Educate! with her co-founders based on the shared values of scale, sustainability, and the power of young people to change the world. Educate! program is now operating in over 250 schools and growing quickly. She also adapted Educate!’s curriculum for use in the Uganda national curriculum and designed a new practical standardized examination, reaching 25,000 young people annually. Angelica is committed to living and working in Africa, starting with building Educate! for over 6 years in Uganda, as she works for the dream of bringing a life-changing education to one million children.
MARINA MANSILLA HERMANNTierraVida
Marina Mansilla Hermann is President and Founder of Fundación TierraVida, an Argentinean-based NGO working to educate, mobilize and promote citizen participation to achieve sustainable development in Latin America. Marina has 20 years of experience inspiring, supporting and mobilizing youth to address the challenges of sustainable development. In 2007 Marina joined Ashoka’s Youth Venture international team to help identify, support and mentor a new generation of 3,000+ young social entrepreneurs.
Marina was elected Climate Champion by the British Council and Fundación Vida Silvestre Argentina in 2011. In 2013, she was named a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum. Between 2011 and 2012, Marina was an International Facilitator for the Rio+YOU Campaign, a global youth mobilization towards the Rio+20 Earth Summit that reached over +2,000,000 in less than two months.
Previously, Marina served as Youth Advisor for Latin America and the Caribbean at UNEP´s Youth Advisory Council. Marina has also been involved in the UN-CSD process and the UN Climate Negotiations since 2004. Marina holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences from the Universidad Católica de Salta and a Master’s Degree in Environment and Development from King´s College London.
SARA POTLER LAHAYNEMove This World
A life-long dancer and previous professional performer, Sara Potler LaHayne was a Fulbright Scholar in Bogotá, Colombia when she authored, implemented, and evaluated the original Move This World curriculum with third graders in Colombian public elementary schools. Today she is the CEO of Move This World, an educational program that has worked with over 10,000 individuals across 22 cities in four continents to address and transform conflict, violence and bullying.
A graduate of the University of Virginia, Sara is a Global Shaper with the World Economic Forum, an American Express Ashoka Emerging Innovator, a Cordes Fellow with the Opportunity Collaboration, a Peace X Peace 2012 Women, Power, & Peace Award Winner, a StartingBloc Fellow, and the only U.S. recipient of the Youth Leader Award in the Americas given by the Inter-American Development Bank. She has presented at conferences across 5 continents and been featured in Forbes, The Washington Post, The Guardian, El Tiempo, Martha Stewart Radio on SiriusXM, the International Platform on Sport and Peace, and El Espectador, among others.
MARIANA ASTRID GONZALEZ PACHECODiyalo Foundation
Mariana Gonzalez Pacheco is the Co-Founder and Director of Institutional Development, ILUMEXICO Co. Iluméxico is a social venture that achieves rural community development through clean energy access with photovoltaic home systems. Mariana was one of the eight engineers who founded Iluméxico in August 2009. The business was designed to prove that Mexican technology can be a platform for local economic development while achieving positive social impact targeted at the bottom of the pyramid. Mariana’s current work with Iluméxico focuses on the development of the business sales and marketing strategies.
In 2008, Mariana co-founded her first company, Tecsus, a sustainable technology company focused in experience design. She worked in the Oil Exploration and Production Department in the Ministry of Energy and is also cofounder of SVE, a student organization in the Engineering Faculty, which encourages entrepreneurship.
In 2013, Mariana was the first Mexican woman to be selected as participant in the Fortune/U.S. Department Global Women Mentoring Partnership Program. She was also selected to participate in the Social Innovators Program of the International Development Bank. In 2012 she won the UVM Social Entrepreneur award. Mariana holds a Bachelor’s of Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Her hobbies include Mexican history, dancing and writing.
ERIC GOLDSTEINOne World Education
Eric Goldstein is the Executive Director and Founder of One World Education. The nonprofit organization leads middle and high school Common Core literacy programs and publishes student essays about cultural and global issues, promoting peer-to-peer learning and building the skills necessary for college and career writing.
Eric has been an educator in public, charter and independent schools, and earned a United States Department of the Interior Partners in Education Award while teaching in a charter school in Southeast Washington DC in 2006. Eric holds a Master’s in Education from the University of Vermont and a Master’s of International Policy Program from George Washington University.
Eric is the father of three young children. His career in education started after a solo, 5,000-mile bicycle trip across the United States in 1999.
VICTOR GUTIERREZFutbol Mas
Victor Gutierrez was born in Santiago, Chile. Victor has been involved in social activities from a young age, both as a participant and as an organizer. Deeply passionate about community development, Victor decided to study psychology at the Catholic University of Chile where he was involved with several community programs.
In 2008, Victor met Guillermo Rolando, with whom he founded Fútbol Más. Fútbol Más aims to increase the resilience and development of children ages 7 to 14 years old in Chile’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. The organization is designed as a sustainable community initiative and directly connects with the individual child, the child’s family, and the broader community. Fútbol Más has programs in Haiti, Ecuador and Chile benefiting approximately 4,000 children in 50 districts.
Victor is passionate about sports, especially diving. He loves traveling and discovering different cultures around the world, and has a deep love of music, especially salsa, which he has danced for several years.
LIZIANE SILVAGlobal Shapers
Liziane Silva co-founded and led INK, a social venture that inspires, trains and connects people and organizations to transform their realities through entrepreneurial action. INK’s focus is to inspire and support change in NGOs and social businesses, providing professional training, consulting services and ideas to expand impact and relevance. Established in 2012, INK has reached approximately 2,000 people and has trained over 500 people in Brazil.
Liziane graduated in Economics and is certified in the Innovation Master Series Professional Development Program at Stanford University. She also holds a certification in Social Programs Evaluation by PUC-Rio and the MIT Poverty Action Lab. Liziane has almost 8 years of experience in social organizations management and was selected to be a co-founding curator of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers hub in Curitiba.
Before INK, Liziane worked from 2008 to 2011 for Aliança Empreendedora, a Brazilian NGO focused on training and supporting low-income entrepreneurs with knowledge, microcredit and access to sales channels. In 2007, she worked in Colombia with Amichocó, the first organization to create and validate a fair trade criteria focused in sustainable artisan mining of gold and platinum. From 2004 to 2008, Liziane was heavily involved with AIESEC, the world's largest student-run organization.
AUTUMN ADEIGBOAutumn Adeigbo Fashion
The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, Adeigbo developed her love for fashion as a young girl watching her mother sew many of the dresses she wore to school. The Autumn Adeigbo Collection is inspired by Nigerian cultural designs, and utilizes a portion of all sales to fund microloans to women in Africa. Autumn worked previously alongside several fashion icons, including Betsey Johnson. After graduating from Spelman College with a bachelor of arts in economics, Autumn studied fashion design at Parsons.
MADHURA BHATHealth For America
Madhura co-founded Health for American with Johns Hopkins cardiologist Kapil Parakh while driving to a public health conference. Health for America enables young leaders to enhance community health through technology and innovation. Previously, Madhura served as deputy director of mHealth Alliance at the United Nations. She also holds several degrees from the University of Pittsburg, Boston University School of Public Health, Carey School for Business at Johns Hopkins University, and Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University.
GENE GURKOFFCharity Miles
Inspired by his grandfather’s struggle against Parkinson’s Disease, Gene Gurkoff founded Charity Miles to raise money for various health-related charities by providing 10¢ for every mile biked and 25¢ for every mile ran by users of the Charity Miles mobile application. Previously Gurkoff worked in several well-respected legal firms and served as pro-bono General Counsel for The Michael J. Fox foundation. Gene graduated magna cum laude from Northwestern University before attending Harvard Law School.
REESE FERNANDEZ-RUIZRags 2 Riches
The winner of several awards, including the Rolex Young Laureate title, Fernandez-Ruiz founded Rags 2 Riches to provide access to the international market for low-income Filipino artisans. Rags 2 Riches provides fair pay to Filipino women who recycle waste textiles collected from garbage dumps into high-end handbags. Previously, Fernandez-Ruiz served as a program fellow in the Youth Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship department at the Ateneo School of Government. Fernandez-Ruiz holds a bachelors of science from the University of the Philippines.
REID SAARISEqual Opportunity Schools
Reid founded Equal Opportunity Schools to increase the enrollment of capable, low-income, minority students in advanced coursework at local high schools. The organization is inspired by the story of Reid’s childhood best friend, who failed to receive equal educational opportunities as a consequence of being enrolled in lower level courses in high school. Previously, Reid taught in a rural South Carolina high school, where he led the Advanced Placement / International Baccalaureate program. Reid holds a bachelor of arts in government from Harvard University, as well as a master’s degree in business and education from Stanford University.
SASHA FISHERSpark Microgrants
Sasha created Spark Microgrants to support poverty-stricken communities in East Africa. Spark Microgrants offers small grants to rural villages in order to carry out community-organized and designed development projects. Previous work in South Sudan, South Africa, India, and Uganda helped Sasha envision and create her unusual model of community-led development. Sasha holds a bachelor of arts in studio art and human security from the University of Vermont.
ANNIE RYUGlobal Village Fruit
Global Village Fruits is a company on a mission to bring the world’s best fruits to the palm of your hand and to help thousands of farmers rise out of poverty. Global Village Fruits operates on organic and fair trade principles; it sources its jackfruit products directly from a farmers’ cooperative whose members they befriended in India. Global Village Fruit has brought jackfruit products to small gourmet organic and specialty food stores on the East Coast, primarily in Boston, but also sells its goods online. Once the company becomes profitable, it plans to give interest-free loans to jackfruit processing groups they’ve screened.
BRUKTI TIGABUWhiz Kids Workshop
Whiz Kids Workshop believe that mass-media can be the most cost-effective and immediate way to make an impact on large educational gaps in the developing world, particularly at the preschool level. To put that belief into practice, Whiz Kids Workshop uses existing research on mass-media education, new lower-cost technologies for media creation and booming growth in reach of television. Whiz Kids Workshop is best known for the award winning, early-childhood educational television show ‘Tsehai Loves Learning,’ which won two prestigious international children’s media awards in 2008. The “Next Generation Prize” was awarded at the Prix Jeunesse International Children’s Television Festival in Munich, Germany in May of 2008, recognizing ‘Tsehai Loves Learning’ for social impact, and high production quality relative to its small budget. ‘Tsehai Loves Learning’ also won the Preschool category at the 2008 Japan Prize for Educational Media in October, beating out many great educational television programs, games, websites, and toys from all over Asia, Europe, and North America. Whiz Kids Workshop was established in the living room of husband and wife team Shane Etzenhouser and Bruktawit Tigabu in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2005.
CHRISTI ADAMSRoot Cause
After surviving years of mental and physical abuse, Christi Adams and her children were able to escape the violence they grew to know as normal. It was not until her escape that Christi realized the true uphill battle it takes to break the chain of abuse in families. Living in Fairfax County, Virginia, one of the most affluent counties in the United States, posed a difficult and almost impossible feat to overcome on her own. With the help of her family, her faith in God, and a very dedicated victim advocate, she was able to put together a successful combination to build a new life for her and her children.
Christi has since committed herself to being a catalyst for change in her community and others like it across the United States. With 1 in 4 women experiencing domestic abuse in their lifetime, she soon realized that domestic violence was an epidemic damaging lives and families across the country and the world. In December of 2011, Christi founded Stop Abuse, Victim Empowerment (SAVE) which provides a sustained effort in preventing domestic violence and builds momentum for social change. Through Christi’s work with SAVE, she provides a collaborative structure and focus which is needed to transform individual intentions into collective actions that can change a culture. Utilizing established businesses, groups and events already in communities, SAVE reaches those in need with education and prevention programs which are led by other survivors of domestic violence. SAVE harnesses the power of community to work towards a future without violence.
MELISSA KUSHNERGoods For Good
In 2006, Melissa Kushner founded goods for good (GFG) with a firm belief that every child in the world deserves the opportunity to achieve. Since then, through the strategic provision of goods to African community centers, GFG has reached over 70,000 orphans and vulnerable children. To date, GFG has distributed 1.4 million pens, 116,200 shoes, and 23,000 school uniforms and garments. Now GFG is making those same community centers financially sustainable, by launching small on-site businesses that generate income and fund orphan care programs for education, health, and nutrition. These businesses, which include chicken farms, agriculture enterprises, and tailoring co-ops, create jobs, stimulate the local economy, and ensure Malawi’s children have every opportunity to thrive.
Jay KloppenbergAfrican School of Excellence
At African School for Excellence, we believe that a great education need not be reserved for a small elite. We believe that every young person with the talent, drive, and desire to succeed deserves an education worthy of his or her potential. Our scholars are as bright and capable as students anywhere in the world, and we expect them to achieve results commensurate with that ability. Our graduates will leave African School for Excellence with the skills to succeed at the world’s best universities, and with the character and leadership to transform their communities.
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