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Who: Tammy Tibbetts, Cofounder and President, She's the First,
Passion Project: In 2009, Tibbetts founded She's the First, a nonprofit that sponsors girls' education in developing countries, enabling them to become the first in their families to graduate from secondary school.
Proof Positive: She's since awarded more than 900 scholarships to 368 girls in 10 countries, thanks in large part to fundraising efforts by some 400,000 members of the 100-plus chapters on high school and college campuses across the U.S. "It's not me changing the world," insists Tibbetts, 28, herself the first in her family to finish college. "It's the thousands of members of the She's the First community who realize that even small contributions can have a huge impact and who are not afraid to be the ones to take the first step."
Affecting Moment: The course of 20-year-old Maheshwari's life had been set from birth. An untouchable, India's lowest caste, she was assumed to have no chance of completing high school—no one in her family ever had. But, for what amounted to $4.38 a day in scholarships, Maheshwari did finish high school and is now studying biotechnology and genetics at a university in Bangalore, with plans to attend medical school—a far more hopeful fate than marrying, having children young, and never improving her lot in life.
The Vision: "Hopefully in my lifetime, there won't be a need for She's the First," Tibbetts says, "because all girls will have access to education."
Photo via Peter Hapak
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