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30 Nonprofit Leaders Who Will Impact the World in 2024

Within the impact sector, nonprofit leaders are instrumental in advancing economic growth by offering essential services that catalyze economic activity.

30 Nonprofit Leaders Who Will Impact the World in 2024

Within the impact sector, nonprofit leaders are instrumental in advancing economic growth by offering essential services that catalyze economic activity.

In 2023, the nonprofit sector faced several challenges and witnessed significant trends that shaped its operations and impact.

The sector experienced a 1.7% decline in donations, marking the first downward trend in donor dollars since 2012.

This reduction was attributed to economic conditions affecting major donors’ willingness to give, particularly in the fourth quarter of 2022​​.

Demographic trends in giving showed varying patterns: Millennials, who made up 5 to 10% of donors, favored online donations, with a significant percentage attending fundraising events and engaging in crowdfunding campaigns.

Gen X donors, while fewer, were more likely to volunteer and start fundraising campaigns, with an average annual donation higher than that of Millennials.

Baby Boomers remained a dominant force, contributing 43% of all donations, with high participation in annual giving and volunteering.

The Silent Generation, though smaller in population, also made significant contributions, with 88% giving to charity​​.

The nonprofit industry contributed significantly to the economy, accounting for 5.6% of the GDP in 2022, translating into $1.4 trillion.

However, the sector also faced challenges, including a 10% decrease in the number of donors and 59% of people not volunteering in 2022.

Trust in nonprofits declined, with only 52% of the U.S. public trusting these organizations in 2023, a 7% decrease from 2020.

Additionally, the sector saw a decrease in public policy and advocacy activities, with only 31% of nonprofits engaging in advocacy or lobbying, a significant drop from previous decades​​.

Looking ahead to 2024, the nonprofit sector must navigate these challenges while harnessing new opportunities.

Adaptation to changing donor demographics, leveraging online and mobile giving platforms, and rebuilding trust through transparency and engagement will be critical.

Nonprofit leaders will play essential roles in guiding their organizations through these changes, making an impact on the world in 2024 and beyond.

If you are interested in seeing the nonprofit leaders from previous years, check them out here: 2019 // 2020 // 2021 // 2022 // 2023.

Nonprofit Leaders 2024

Jean Paul Laurent – Unspoken Smiles

Nonprofit Leaders 2024 - Jean Paul Laurent - Unspoken Smiles

Jean Paul Laurent, a passionate leader, author, and speaker, stands out as a innovator in global oral health. As the founder and visionary behind UNSPOKEN SMILES, he dedicates his efforts to enhancing oral health and economic stability in underprivileged areas worldwide.

Currently pursuing a doctorate in education at the University of Pennsylvania, his research focuses on the effects of oral health initiatives on educational performance and personal well-being.

Holding consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the United Nations Department of Global Communications (UN DGC), Jean Paul uses his influence and connections to promote dental health as a fundamental human right, integral to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

His efforts have notably improved the dental health of over 7,000 children across eight countries on four continents, earning him numerous accolades for his innovative leadership and enduring optimism.

Allyn Rose Oertel // The Previvor Foundation

Allyn Rose Oertel // The Previvor Foundation

Allyn Rose Oertel, founder of The Previvor Foundation, also has a tremedous background as a marketing and communications executive in the Entertainment, Beauty, and Gaming sectors.

With expertise in PR, mass media, social media strategies, influencer marketing, legal writing, and both U.S. and European law, she combines her skills with public speaking prowess. Living as an American in Europe, she brings a diverse perspective to her work.

Motivated by personal loss, with her mother, grandmother, and great aunt all succumbing to breast cancer by her mid-teens, Allyn Rose has been on a mission to spread breast cancer prevention awareness.

Confronted with the absence of comprehensive resources during her own decision-making process for a prophylactic double mastectomy at 26, she garnered global media attention and subsequently dedicated years to compiling data and resources to assist others facing similar decisions.

This effort led to the creation of The Previvor Foundation, reflecting Allyn’s vision to empower women to advocate for their health and make well-informed healthcare decisions.

The Previvor Foundation stands as a collective of previvors, survivors, caretakers, entrepreneurs, and medical professionals committed to delivering extensive information and resources on mastectomy, reconstruction, genetic testing, and recovery essentials.

Its goal is to serve as a worldwide informational nexus for those navigating breast health choices, supporting previvors, survivors, caretakers, and their families.

Tonya Allen // McKnight Foundation

Tonya Allen // McKnight Foundation

Tonya Allen, a dedicated advocate for justice and sustainability, has been steering the McKnight Foundation as its president since 2021.

Under her guidance, the Foundation disperses around $100 million yearly to support diverse initiatives including equitable community development, sustainable energy solutions, global food security, cultural expression, and groundbreaking neuroscience research.

Tonya has been instrumental in aligning the Foundation’s investments with net zero objectives and has played a pivotal role in revitalizing communities and small businesses in the Twin Cities affected by the recent pandemic and civil unrest.

Her efforts in 2022 led to the inception of the GroundBreak Coalition, aiming to mitigate wealth disparities in Minneapolis-St. Paul, which has since secured nearly $1 billion in pledges.

With over 25 years of experience, Tonya has cultivated impactful collaborations across philanthropy, business, and community spheres, earning accolades for her innovative and result-oriented methods.

Before her tenure at McKnight, she significantly impacted the Skillman Foundation as its president and CEO and has contributed to the landscape of philanthropy as a program officer at notable foundations.

A champion for diversity and inclusion in philanthropy, Tonya holds influential positions on various boards and advises corporations on inclusivity strategies.

Her commitment extends into the public sector, where she has been a voice for bipartisan policies and community-based solutions, reflecting her roots in community organizing and her enduring commitment to societal and environmental well-being.

Hayes Barnard // GivePower

Hayes Barnard // GivePower

Hayes Barnard is an American entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of GoodLeap, a U.S.-based fintech company emphasizing sustainability.

Additionally, he leads as the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of GivePower, a celebrated nonprofit dedicated to delivering essential services like clean electricity and potable water to global communities in need.

His entrepreneurial spirit also led to the creation of GoodFinch in 2020, focusing on investments in sustainability.

Under Hayes’s leadership, GoodLeap has significantly impacted the green finance sector, facilitating over $50 billion in loans and achieving a private valuation of $12 billion.

The company, renowned for its innovative software, aids countless U.S. contractors and manufacturers in supplying sustainable home solutions.

This contribution to environmental sustainability earned GoodLeap recognition from Fast Company and Forbes.

GivePower, since its inception by Hayes in 2013, has made a profound difference in the lives of over 700,000 people across 24 countries, leveraging partnerships to implement renewable energy solutions.

The organization’s groundbreaking Solar Water Farm technology has received global accolades, including awards from Dubai and Kenya.

Before his ventures in sustainable financing, Hayes’s entrepreneurial journey included founding and scaling businesses like Paramount Solar, which merged into SolarCity, later acquired by Tesla.

His tenure at SolarCity marked significant industry milestones. Hayes’s foundational years at Oracle equipped him with a deep understanding of the transformative potential of software.

Osei Kwadwo Boateng // OKB Hope Foundation

Osei Kwadwo Boateng // OKB Hope

Osei Kwado Boateng has dedicated his career to ensuring that quality healthcare is available to all, regardless of their socio-economic status.

Born and raised in Kumasi, Ghana, where he spent the first 19 years of his life, Boateng pursued higher education with a strong focus on healthcare.

He graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology, Health, and Society, complemented by minors in Business and Gerontology.

He further advanced his education by obtaining a Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration from the same institution.

As a distinguished Cornell Tradition Fellow alum, Boateng has been recognized for his academic and community engagement efforts, receiving the Cornell Senior Recognition Award and the Student Excellence Award in Community Engagement and Honorarium from the Maribel Garcia Community Spirit in 2017.

This was in acknowledgment of his significant service contributions in Ghana.

His commitment and innovative approaches in the healthcare field led to his selection as an Echoing Green finalist in 2022 and being named a Young Global Changer in 2023.

The OKB Hope Foundation, founded by Boateng, aims to reduce health disparities in developing countries.

It focuses on educating low-income communities about preventable health conditions such as hypertension and diabetes, emphasizing lifestyle changes to avert these diseases.

The foundation collaborates with physicians and medical students to provide free education and screening in underserved areas.

Additionally, it offers practical experience opportunities for students interested in the healthcare sector.

The ultimate goal of the OKB Hope Foundation is to lessen health inequities by promoting healthier living standards among low-income populations.

Allyson Kapin // Women Who Tech

Allyson Kapin is the founder of Women Who Tech, a vibrant community she founded, which now encompasses over 65,000 professionals including engineers, entrepreneurs, investors, and industry leaders.

She has orchestrated numerous TeleSummits under Women Who Tech, featuring esteemed figures like Arianna Huffington and Rashmi Sinha, designed to inspire and connect women in the tech landscape.

In a bid to bridge the funding gap for women-led startups, Allyson initiated the Women Startup Challenge in 2015 alongside Craig Newmark of craigslist fame.

This initiative spotlights and supports startups dedicated to innovating for society, businesses, and the environment.

Expanding her influence in the tech startup ecosystem, Allyson co-founded the W Fund, a venture capital firm committed to investing in tech startups helmed by diverse and groundbreaking founders.

Beyond her entrepreneurial endeavors, Allyson serves on the Board of Directors for the League of Women Voters and has contributed her expertise to advisory boards including the Anita Borg Institute and Tim O’Reilly’s Gov 2.0 Expo.

A recognized speaker, she has shared her insights at global conferences such as SXSW and Personal Democracy Forum and is a regular contributor to leading publications like Forbes and Fast Company.

Allyson has earned accolades such as being named one of Fast Company’s “Most Influential Women in Tech,” the Washingtonian’s “Tech Titan,” and Forbes’ “top 30 women entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter.”

Her commitment extends beyond technology to social change, particularly at the intersection with online technologies and communities.

This passion is reflected in her co-authored bestselling book, “Social Change Anytime Everywhere,” with Amy Sample Ward, offering strategies for nonprofits to engage communities and spearhead change using a blend of online and offline tactics.

Eliza Pesuit // Global Glimpse

Eliza Pesuit // Global Glimpse

Eliza Pesuit is the dynamic Executive Director behind Global Glimpse, a nonprofit organization in the U.S. that revolutionizes youth travel for educational purposes.

She leads with an entrepreneurial spirit, focused on growth, equity, and justice.

Her expertise spans strategic planning, partnership development, fundraising, leadership, and financial management, complemented by her proficiency in people development and cross-cultural collaboration.

With extensive experience across Latin America and the United States, Pesuit is deeply committed to youth development, cross-cultural understanding, and experiential learning.

Global Glimpse stands out for its commitment to diversity and equity, offering transformative travel and leadership opportunities to high school students from varied backgrounds.

The organization emphasizes empathy, personal agency, and a global outlook.

Unique in its approach, Global Glimpse ensures accessibility through need-based scholarships, having provided over $2 million in support last year alone, allowing students from all socio-economic backgrounds to participate.

The students of Global Glimpse engage in comprehensive pre-trip workshops, gearing up for a 14-day international journey that encompasses service-learning, cultural immersion, and leadership development in destinations such as Ecuador, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic.

These experiences are designed to foster empathy, empower agency, and expand global perspectives, equipping students to excel in higher education and become proactive global citizens.

Since its inception in 2007, Global Glimpse has significantly impacted over 8,000 students and 500 educators through its programs.

The organization collaborates with 75 high schools and six college preparatory organizations across various regions, including the SF Bay Area, New York Tri-State Area, Greater Chicago, Massachusetts, and Los Angeles.

Briana Marbury // Interledger Foundation

Briana Marbury // Interledger Foundation

Briana Marbury serves as the Chief Executive Officer at the Interledger Foundation (ILF), a nonprofit dedicated to advancing digital financial inclusion for underserved communities.

Under her leadership, the ILF has seen substantial growth, evolving from a modest team into a worldwide collective of innovators focused on creating seamless and accessible financial systems globally.

Marbury’s journey to the ILF was marked by her extensive experience in finance and operations within several mission-driven organizations.

She has significantly contributed to the success of 350.org, Repair the World, Uncommon Schools, and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation by enhancing their financial and operational frameworks.

Her role as an Education Pioneer Graduate Fellow also underscores her commitment to educational equity, specifically aiming to uplift America’s underprivileged educational institutions.

A University of Michigan alumna, Marbury holds a BA in Accounting and an MBA from Wayne State University. She has furthered her leadership skills through post-graduate studies in strategic leadership at Stanford University.

Lillian Kuri // The Cleveland Foundation

Lillian Kuri // The Cleveland Foundation

On August 1, 2023, Lillian Kuri became the first female President & CEO of the Cleveland Foundation, the oldest and one of the largest community foundations globally, boasting assets of $3 billion.

Boasting over a quarter-century of leadership and community engagement, Kuri is celebrated for her innovative, advocacy-driven, and collaborative approach towards transformative strategic initiatives.

In her role as President & CEO, Kuri is at the forefront of reimagining the Cleveland Foundation, crafting a forward-thinking strategic plan dubbed the “Community Foundation of the Future.”

Her tenure as Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer saw her leading the foundation’s significant relocation to the Midtown/Hough area of Cleveland, marking a pivotal moment in the foundation’s history.

Since joining the foundation in 2005, Kuri has been instrumental in launching and guiding initiatives that have significantly impacted the Greater Cleveland community.

She played a pivotal role in the revitalization of the Greater University Circle district, turning it into a benchmark for urban development across the nation. Kuri also co-initiated the Evergreen Cooperatives, pioneering a community wealth-building model through a network of worker-owned enterprises.

Additionally, her tenure as Vice President of Strategic Grantmaking, Arts & Urban Design saw her promoting arts and culture, notably through the foundation’s arts mastery program benefiting thousands of underserved youth.

Before her impactful work at the foundation, Kuri directed Cleveland Public Art from 2000 to 2004 and was integral in citywide planning efforts under Mayor Michael R. White.

Her contributions to urban design and planning have not gone unnoticed, earning her the historic position of chairing the Cleveland Planning Commission in 2022, appointed by Mayor Justin Bibb, marking her as the first woman to hold the role in the commission’s long history.

Kuri’s career is adorned with numerous accolades acknowledging her commitment to community development, including recognitions from Cleveland Magazine, YWCA Greater Cleveland, and Crain’s Cleveland Business.

Her educational credentials are equally impressive, holding a Master of Architecture in Urban Design from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Architecture from Kent State University.

A licensed architect in Ohio and a LEED-accredited professional, Kuri’s profound impact on Cleveland’s landscape is undeniable.

Gideon Maltz // tent.org

Gideon Maltz // tent.org

Gideon Maltz currently holds the position of Chief Executive Officer at the Tent Partnership for Refugees, having initially joined the organization as Executive Director between 2017 and 2021.

His prior roles include serving as Chief of Staff to Samantha Power at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) from 2021 to 2022, and various significant positions within the Obama Administration from 2010 to 2017.

These positions include Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, Director of Human Rights and Multilateral Affairs at the White House’s National Security Council, and Senior Advisor to the Administrator of USAID.

Before his governmental service, Maltz practiced law in the international trade sector at Hogan Lovells and consulted at McKinsey & Company.

His academic pursuits led him to be a Junior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a Predoctoral Fellow at Stanford’s Center for Democracy, Development, & Rule of Law.

Maltz is a noted contributor to discussions on refugees, human rights, and business, with his insights featured in media outlets such as CNN, Fortune, and Business Insider.

Born in South Africa, he moved to the United States in 1996. Maltz is an alumnus of Yale University, where he completed his Bachelor of Arts, and Stanford University Law School, where he received his Juris Doctor.

Joanna Ewart-James // Freedom United

Joanna Ewart-James // Freedom United

Joanna Ewart-James is a founding member and serves on the Board of Directors of Freedom United, where she plays a pivotal role in energizing the community towards bolstering global anti-slavery initiatives and fostering substantial change.

Additionally, she is actively involved as a trustee with the Labour Behind the Label Trust, an organization dedicated to advocating for workers’ rights within the clothing industry.

Joanna completed her tenure as Chair of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative UK at the end of 2021, during which she was recognized with an innovation award for establishing the Commonwealth 8.7 Network, focusing on modern slavery issues.

Her earlier career includes significant roles at Walk Free and Anti-Slavery International, particularly focusing on business engagement and leading the Cotton Campaign in Europe.

Joanna has contributed her expertise to notable publications such as “Vulnerability, exploitation and migrants: Insecure work in a globalised economy” and “The SAGE Handbook of Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery.”

Her extensive experience in international human rights has been applied across diverse sectors including the UK diplomatic service, academic research, and philanthropic endeavors, managing substantial project budgets.

Joanna is academically equipped with a Masters in Understanding and Securing Human Rights from the University of London, underpinning her practical experience with a strong theoretical foundation in human rights issues.

Amel Najjar // Children of War

Amel Najjar // Children of War

Amel Najjar is the dedicated Founding Executive Director of the Children of War Foundation(COWF), established in 2010. She has committed herself as an unpaid volunteer to lead the organization, setting strategic directions and ensuring the fulfillment of its mission, goals, and vision.

Beyond her role at COWF, Amel is actively involved with various international boards, providing her expertise in social and international development across both public and private sectors.

She is a prominent advocate for the Children’s Hospital L.A. Division of Pediatric Plastic Surgery, supporting transformative research and innovations in neonatal and pediatric surgery.

Her collaborations extend to numerous NGOs, and public and private institutions, including the International Rescue Committee, U.N. agencies, and several medical and educational establishments globally.

With a fervent commitment to human rights, Amel champions initiatives aimed at providing global development opportunities, advocating for children’s welfare, promoting secular education, and fostering inclusive empowerment.

With nearly two decades of experience working with displaced and marginalized communities in over 100 countries, her expertise spans post-conflict development, economic growth in developing markets, and integrating refugee populations.

Amel envisions a world free from needless suffering, advocating for universal access to healthcare, education, and economic opportunities, driving change through global connectivity and innovative solutions.

Nisha Anand // Dream.org

Nisha Anand // Dream.org

Nisha Anand is a committed Indian-American activist, a mother to two teenagers, and a proponent of racial justice.

Starting her journey as a radical grassroots activist, she was once arrested in Burma for distributing pro-democracy materials.

Under the mentorship of figures like Van Jones, Nisha has grown to appreciate the importance of forming unlikely alliances to unearth genuine solutions.

As the CEO of Dream.Org, she guides a team united by the mission of discovering the strength in unconventional partnerships.

Her transition from a punk-rock protester to an advocate for mutual understanding is shared in her TED talk, highlighting her focus on finding common ground, engaging with unexpected allies, and embodying servant leadership, particularly in nonprofit fundraising.

Dream.org focuses on dismantling barriers within the prison system and fostering opportunities for all, striving to bridge divides across racial, social, and political spectrums to ensure a society marked by freedom, dignity, and opportunity for everyone.

Mabel van Oranje // VOW for Girls

Mabel van Oranje // VOW for Girls

Mabel van Oranje is known for her global social entrepreneurship, focusing on promoting equality, freedom, and justice.

Over the past decade, she has been instrumental in the global campaign against child marriage, contributing significantly to the establishment and growth of key organizations such as Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage in 2011, the Girls First Fund in 2018, and VOW for Girls in 2018.

Transitioning from Board Chair to Girls Not Brides Global Champion in 2021, Mabel leverages her three decades of advocacy and movement-building expertise to further international efforts to eliminate child marriage.

In addition to her advocacy work, Mabel serves on the boards of several organizations, including Fondation Chanel, the Sigrid Rausing Trust, and she chairs VOW for Girls. She also provides guidance to Apolitical Academy Global, Co-Impact’s Gender Fund, Global Witness, and The Elders.

Mabel’s career began with the European Action Council for Peace in the Balkans in 1993, followed by significant roles at the Open Society Foundations and as the inaugural CEO of The Elders.

She has been instrumental in founding several impactful organizations, including War Child, “Publish What You Pay”, and the Independent Commission on Turkey.

Acknowledged globally for her contributions, Mabel has been honored with numerous awards, including recognition from the World Economic Forum, the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, the John Diefenbaker Defender of Human Rights and Freedom Award, and the ICRW Champions for Change Award for Innovation.

She has been recognized by Apolitical’s Gender Equality Top 100 in 2018 and 2019, underlining her significant contributions to social change and gender equality.

Michelle Ng // Project Alpaca

Michelle Ng // Project Alpaca

Michelle Ng is a mission-driven product designer based in New York, who is leveraging her personal experiences with endometriosis and fibroids to empower women through her initiative, Neuemoon Health.

As a native of Hong Kong, Ng is deeply invested in the well-being of her homeland and the broader cause of democracy.

Alongside her friends and partners, Catherine and Claire, Ng co-founded Project Alpaca, a nonprofit aimed at addressing the underemployment issue among underserved minority college students in the tech industry within New York City.

Project Alpaca endeavors to bridge the resource gap for these students, facilitating their entry into STEM careers by mobilizing a community of advocates who are passionate and driven by a shared purpose.

The nonprofit offers a comprehensive nine-month career mentorship program tailored to each cohort, providing multilayered support through professional development workshops, networking events, and industry event participation.

In its inaugural year, mentees had the opportunity to develop and showcase a game at the Global Game Jam at Microsoft, exemplifying the practical and impactful nature of Project Alpaca’s support system.

This initiative underscores Ng’s commitment to creating pathways for success for students from backgrounds lacking in resources and opportunities, supported by a dedicated community of mentors, affectionately referred to as “Alpacas.”

Pete Dupuis // World Housing

Pete Dupuis // World Housing

Before co-founding World Housing, Peter Dupuis had established himself as a distinguished real estate entrepreneur and marketer. In 2009, Peter embarked on a three-year graduate study focused on social entrepreneurship, modern philanthropy, and the challenges of slum and landfill community housing.

His academic journey culminated in a master’s thesis titled “World Housing: A Blueprint for Creating Third World Bottom of the Pyramid Housing Supply Through a First World One-for-One Real Estate Gifting Model.”

In 2013, leveraging thirty-two years of partnership with Sid Landolt, Peter co-founded World Housing based on a unique one-for-one real estate gifting model.

Under their leadership, World Housing engages Impact Investors to fund operational costs, ensuring that all public donations directly contribute to building and providing homes for families in extreme need.

This approach maintains World Housing’s commitment to their 100% Promise, ensuring total transparency and efficiency in aiding those most in need.

Becca Stevens // Thistle Farms

Becca Stevens // Thistle Farms

Becca Stevens is an author, speaker, priest, and social entrepreneur. She is best known as the founder and president of Thistle Farms, an organization that represents her vision for a global movement toward women’s freedom.

Her journey began from personal tragedy; after losing her father and suffering abuse at a young age, Becca was driven to create a sanctuary for survivors like herself.

This vision materialized in 1997 when Thistle Farms opened its doors to five women escaping trafficking, violence, and addiction.

Becca stands as a beacon of hope, advocating for a world filled with love, compassion, and justice.

She is fearless in facing the challenges of expanding her mission and continues to inspire women to support one another with grace and generosity.

Her educational background includes degrees from the University of the South and Vanderbilt Divinity School, and her impactful work has been recognized with four honorary doctorates.

Becca’s life and work embody the balance between practical action and poetic vision, making her a distinguished figure in her field.

Quilen & Hannah Blackwell // Chicago Eco House

Quilen Blackwell is the President and Co-Founder of the Chicago Eco House, aimed at training inner-city youth in sustainable social enterprises to combat poverty.

Their main project, Southside Blooms, transforms vacant lots into off-grid flower farms, providing jobs in Chicago’s south and west sides.

The initiative has earned multiple awards, including the UL Innovation Education Award. Originally from Madison, WI, Quilen moved to Chicago for ministry school, where he began his commitment to supporting inner-city youth.

He has a BA in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MA in Environmental Policy and Sustainability from the University of Denver.

Before founding the Eco House, he worked in the biodiesel industry and was a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand. Quilen lives in Chicago with his wife Hannah and their three young children.

Hannah Bonham Blackwell is the Lead Creative and Co-Founder of Southside Blooms, responsible for the company’s design and style.

With a background marked by creativity and service, she grew up making natural crafts and engaged in community service from a young age.

After moving to Chicago, Hannah’s commitment to the city deepened through her work in the hair industry and volunteer efforts, leading her to eventually settle in East Garfield Park.

Meeting her future husband, Quilen, she shifted her focus from hairstyling to floral design, contributing to the establishment of Chicago Eco House and later Southside Blooms.

Patrick Mccabe & Romi Lassally // Ready to Succeed

Patrick Mccabe & Romi Lassally // Ready to Succeed

In January 2016, non-profit veterans Romi Lassally and Patrick McCabe identified a gap in support for foster youth attending college.

They recognized that these motivated, ambitious, and resilient students lacked critical resources, relationships, and opportunities essential for their success both academically and in life.

With a firm belief in the transformative power of adequate support, Romi and Pat started Ready to Succeed, for college students affected by foster care, aiming to offer them a chance at a future surpassing their past challenges.

By tapping into their personal and professional networks, they began addressing the disparities in opportunities and connections these students faced.

Their efforts led to the rapid expansion of the RTS network, attracting a wide array of committed and connected professionals across various industries and career stages, all willing to open their networks to these students.

By January 2022, the program widened its scope to include low-income, first-generation college students alongside those impacted by foster care.

These “first-gen Scholars” gained unprecedented access to a diverse community of thought leaders, innovators, and dedicated professionals ready to provide guidance, opportunities, and unwavering support, thereby fostering a nurturing and empowering environment for these ambitious students.

Jessica Minhas // I’ll Go First

Jessica Minhas // I'll Go First

Jessica Minhas is a dedicated advocate for human rights and mental health, a television host, public speaker, and the visionary Founder and CEO of the nonprofit, I’ll Go First.

Her non-profit organization focuses on the innovative use of storytelling and mobile technology to deliver essential mental health and trauma recovery resources to marginalized communities globally.

With two decades of experience in digital media, Jessica has been at the forefront of producing content that tackles complex social issues while also working in the survivor advocacy realm to develop economic empowerment programs and lead investigations for sex trafficking victims.

She inspires her audiences to adopt a global perspective, to identify and pursue their purpose, and to use their distinct voices for the betterment of society.

Her work is driven by a profound commitment to addressing issues often mired in stigma and providing a beacon of hope for the disenfranchised.

I’ll Go First stands as a testament to the power of storytelling in the journey towards healing and a purpose-driven life. The organization operates on the principle that sharing personal stories can catalyze healing and lead to a more profound sense of life purpose.

It aims to rewrite narratives of despair into ones of hope and transformation, offering access to local healing resources and supporting individuals in their quest for a life marked by vision and purpose.

Jamie Merisotis // Lumina Foundation

Jamie Merisotis is a globally renowned figure in the sector of higher education, the future of work, philanthropy, and public policy, leading the Lumina Foundation as its President and CEO since 2008.

He is a well-regarded voice in the media, contributing to major publications such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal, and maintains a regular column in Forbes.

Before his tenure at Lumina, Merisotis co-founded and led the Institute for Higher Education Policy in Washington, D.C., and served as the executive director for a bipartisan commission on college affordability appointed by U.S. political leaders.

He is the author of notable works including “America Needs Talent,” hailed as a significant business book in 2016, and “Human Work in the Age of Smart Machines,” a bestseller published in 2020.

An accomplished board leader, Merisotis holds positions with several distinguished organizations, including The Ditchley Foundation, the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, and ACT, among others.

He is actively involved in advising companies that incorporate artificial intelligence and machine learning to navigate the evolving landscapes of work and education.

Merisotis has previously served as chairman of the Council on Foundations and as an investment committee chair for The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

He is a recognized graduate and trustee emeritus of Bates College and has received honorary degrees from various global institutions.

Sarabeth Berman // American Journalism Project

Sarabeth Berman // American Journalism Project

Sarabeth Berman is currently the CEO of the American Journalism Project (AJP), venture philanthropy focused on revitalizing local news.

Since its inception in 2019, under her leadership, AJP has allocated over $55 million to support both new and existing nonprofit local news outlets across the United States, totaling 44 organizations.

This commitment has earned AJP recognition from Fast Company as one of 2023’s most innovative companies for its contributions to the local news landscape.

Before her tenure at AJP beginning in 2020, Berman played a pivotal role at Teach For All as the Global Head of Public Affairs, enhancing the organization’s communications, marketing, and public-sector engagement across over 50 countries.

Michael Thatcher // Charity Navigator

Michael Thatcher // Charity Navigator

Michael Thatcher leads the mission at Charity Navigator, working tirelessly to simplify impactful giving for everyone.

Under his leadership, the organization is expanding its evaluation methods to rate a wider array of charities, thereby reaching a broader audience.

Before his tenure at Charity Navigator, Thatcher dedicated over fifteen years to Microsoft, serving as the Public-Sector Chief Technology Officer.

In this role, he focused on technology policy and collaborated with government and academic figures across Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

Thatcher’s diverse background is not just limited to technology; he has also spent significant time at sea with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, engaged in oceanographic research.

Additionally, he co-founded and directed Dance Music Light, showcasing his talents in music composition and dance on international platforms. Michael has been an active board member in both the nonprofit and technology sectors and is an inventor with multiple patents in systems management.

Andrea Chen // Propeller

Andrea Chen // Propeller

Andrea Chen’s journey in the education and nonprofit sectors began as an English teacher at John McDonogh Sr. High School, after which she played a significant role in teacher training programs at the University of New Orleans and The New Teacher Project.

Her commitment to education extended to her work with the Louisiana Association of Charter Schools, where she was instrumental in managing over $5 million for charter school startups and initiating a $1.5 million Bridge Loan Fund to support them further.

Her contributions have not gone unnoticed, earning her recognition as one of Gambit Magazine’s “40 Under 40,” City Business “Women of the Year” in 2010, and a World Economic Forum Young Global Shaper.

Additionally, she holds a board position with the New Orleans Business Alliance, which plays a crucial role in the city’s economic development.

Andrea’s educational background is as diverse as her career, with a degree from Stanford University, further studies at Harvard Graduate School of Education and the University of New Orleans, and business training at Dartmouth University’s Tuck School of Business.

These experiences have shaped her into a leading figure in social entrepreneurship and education reform.

At Propeller, where she is the Executive Director, Andrea continues to drive social and environmental change.

The organization is committed to nurturing entrepreneurs to address social and environmental disparities.

Propeller focuses on building a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in New Orleans that tackles disparities in key areas like community economic development, education, food, health, and water.

Through its Impact Accelerator, Propeller supports startups and growth-stage entrepreneurs to develop their businesses significantly. Since its inception, the accelerator has supported over 300 entrepreneurs, contributing significantly to local revenue and job creation.

Additionally, Propeller provides a collaborative coworking space for small business owners, nonprofit leaders, and community members, fostering a supportive environment for local ventures.

Chad Bernstein // Guitars Over Guns

Chad Bernstein // Guitars Over Guns

Chad Bernstein is the co-founder of Guitars Over Guns and a notable figure in Miami’s music scene, particularly known for his contribution to the “Latin Funk” genre.

His initiative, using music to connect and uplift the youth has turned the artistic community into a force for social change.

Earning his Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Miami in 2012, Chad focused his academic research on the impact of music mentoring, which became the foundation for Guitars Over Guns’ methodology.

He founded the organization with his father, Bob, in 2008, combining their passions and expertise to serve at-risk youth.

Since taking the helm as CEO in 2012, Chad has overseen the organization’s growth to a $5 million budget, impacting nearly 1,500 students annually(10,000 students since inception) across 30 sites in Miami, NYC, Los Angelas, and Chicago.

Chad’s commitment to community and music has been recognized widely, earning him the CNN Hero award in April 2015, and he has been featured on platforms like the Steve Harvey Show and in People Magazine.

Furthermore, his contributions to the local community were acknowledged when he received Miami’s prestigious Ruth Shack Leadership Award.

Beyond his philanthropic efforts, Chad is a celebrated musician, performing primarily on the trombone but also skilled with conch shells, sousaphone, and keyboards.

He plays with the Latin Grammy-nominated Spam Allstars and the popular Miami-based band ¡Suénalo!, both of which have greatly influenced Guitars Over Guns. His talents have led him to work with international stars like Pitbull and Shakira, among others.

Currently, Chad is contributing his expertise to the music industry as a Governor on the board of the Recording Academy (GRAMMYs), where he co-chairs the Education Committee.

His collaborations continue with notable artists such as Pee Wee Ellis and Jencarlos Canela, further cementing his status in the Latin, jazz, and funk music scenes.

Sara Royf // Student Organ Donation Advocates

Sara Royf // Student Organ Donation Advocates

Sara Royf became intimately aware of the impact of organ donation when her sister passed away and donated her liver to save a life in 2009.

Motivated by this personal experience, Sara established Student Organ Donation Advocates (SODA) in 2014 with a mission to mobilize students to champion organ donation and contribute to saving lives.

Over the past 10 years, Sara has scaled the organization from 1 chapter to 75 chapters. Today, the organization has a yearly budget of >$250K and 2 full-time employees.

They have educated well over 100,000 students about organ donation. Beyond her commitment to SODA, she applies her marketing expertise as a LinkedIn Coach for small business owners.

As an entrepreneur, she loves helping her clients find leads and grow their businesses, further showcasing her dedication to making a significant impact in both her professional and volunteer endeavors.

Dina Samson // RE:Her

Dina Samson // RE:Her

Dina Samson transitioned from a successful career in investment banking and the entertainment industry to become an unexpected yet influential figure in the restaurant world.

Alongside her husband, chef Steve Samson, she opened their first culinary venture, Sotto, in 2011. Today, Dina is the driving force behind the beloved Los Angeles eateries Rossoblu and Superfine Pizza, where she applies her sharp business skills to the operations and development of these distinct dining concepts.

Her journey into the restaurant business began when she applied her financial expertise to assist her husband in launching his first restaurant.

Her initial role evolved from securing investors to becoming the foundational element of the restaurant’s day-to-day management.

The pair’s collaborative efforts have since flourished into the establishment of Rossoblu, celebrating Bologna-inspired cuisine, and Superfine Pizza, which combines the best elements of Neapolitan and New York-style pizzas.

Beyond her entrepreneurial endeavors, Dina is deeply committed to supporting the Los Angeles restaurant community.

She is a co-founder of the Independent Hospitality Coalition and RE:Her, both aimed at nurturing and advocating for local restaurant owners.

Additionally, her philanthropic efforts include founding the Rossoblu Restaurant Relief Fund, Feeling Superfine Program, and FeedLoveLA, initiatives designed to combat food insecurity within the community.

Dina’s contributions to the industry have been recognized through her selection as a fellow in both the James Beard Foundation Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership program and C200 WinLab.

Amidst her professional achievements, she also dedicates herself to raising her young twins, showcasing her remarkable ability to balance a demanding career with family life.

Jeff Shinabarger // Plywood People

Jeff Shinabarger // Plywood People

Jeff Shinabarger is the Founder and Executive Director of Plywood People, bringing his extensive experience as a social entrepreneur and best-selling author to the forefront.

His books, “More or Less” and “Yes or No,” reflect his deep engagement with ethical living and decision-making.

Additionally, Jeff has developed “Path by Plywood,” a six-week program designed to transform ideas into action within a community setting.

He is dedicated to positioning Atlanta as a hub for social innovation and has contributed to the launch of more than 240 startups addressing various societal issues.

Jeff’s initiatives and thoughts have been recognized and featured by prominent platforms and publications such as CNN, USA Weekend, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution, among others.

Beyond Plywood People, he co-founded Q and played a creative role at Catalyst for eight years. Residing in East Atlanta Village with his wife, André, and their two children, Jada and Neko, Jeff is committed to balancing family life with his ambitions to create global change.

Highlighted by Forbes in 2017 as a must-see speaker, Jeff Shinabarger delivers compelling keynotes, such as “Dreaming to Doing: 6 Actions for Entrepreneurial Endeavors,” sharing insights that inspire action among entrepreneurs and change-makers alike.

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