This year marked the launch of Ladies First, an initiative of the Do Good Challenge Accelerator, to inspire female students to lead teams and compete in the 2016 Do Good Challenge. 14 student teams were awarded Ladies First Accelerator funds this year.
Last month, the Do Good Challenge planning committee held an opening event for Ladies First featuring a panel of four women involved in social impact. The event drew a crowd of more than 100 women who listened to philanthropists and panelists Carla Decker, Jennifer Lockwood-Shabat, Pamela Rothenberg and Tonia Wellons. SPP graduate student and former Do Good Challenge winner Kirsten Craft moderated the discussion. The Ladies First Fund was announced at the event.
The teams awarded Ladies First Accelerator Funds come from a diverse background and a wide range of topics. Brown Sugar Hair Care and Extensions uses hair care products as a platform to increase awareness of breast cancer prevention strategies, specifically for African-American women. “We started this team because we realized that we share a passion for hair care and promoting breast cancer awareness,” says Alexis Carson. “We want to combine our efforts to make an impact.”
Dream Weavers collects plastic bags and converts them into sleeping mats for the homeless. The team plans to use the accelerator funds to purchase basic supplies to create the mats in addition to hosting an educational event for those interested in replicating their efforts.
Another team, Save the Music, aims to promote awareness of music education programs in Prince George’s County. The team will host an on-campus benefit concert to raise funds to help build the music programs in the county. Accelerator funds will be used for the planning and implementation of the concert.
“I am inspired by the idea that one person can create change in the world,” says Alayna Abel with the team Gift to Uplift. “A small group of people can work together and impact even more people.” Gift to Uplift is a student-run organization that works to bring hope and positivity to children with life-altering illnesses by providing them with a personalized book.
These Ladies First awardees will join other student-run teams to complete in the 2016 Do Good Challenge this spring. The Do Good Challenge is founded by the School of Public Policy Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership and is run in partnership with the Robert H. Smith School of Business Center for Social Value Creation, and sponsored by Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management.