Making a difference is never easy, and it can be particularly difficult for women to stand out. Even amongst all the obstacles and challenges, these five nonprofits have had a significant positive impact on the world. What’s more, they’re headed by innovative, powerful women who have what it takes to make the change they want to see.
1. Natalie Hummel, Kids in the Game
Kids in the Game is a national nonprofit with a mission of getting kids into the habit of regular exercise and making recreational sports more accessible for everyone. They provide two main programs: the “Pass Program” provides direct financial assistance to families, and their “GO! Grants” help to restore or start school P.E. programs for elementary school students. Natalie Hummel is the organization’s Founder and Executive Director. She is a lifelong athlete, and has more than 25 years’ experience leading and consulting CEOs and Senior Executives ranging from Fortune 500 companies to small entrepreneurial start-ups.
2. Elizabeth Kunz, Girls on the Run International
Girls on the Run International does exactly what it sounds like. They’re an international organization that uses a running-based curriculum to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident. They work with elementary-school aged girls to teach life skills that “celebrate the joy of movement.” Their CEO, Elizabeth Kunz met Founder, Molly Baker, while working for the YMCA of Greater Charlotte. Elizabeth started volunteering with Girls on the Run in 2002 and has served as CEO since 2008.
3. Jennifer Smith, Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative
The Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative (BAWSI) is a local nonprofit helping children in vulnerable communities. They focus on values through a program called, “ACCESS”: Activity, Connection, Contribution, Expectations, Skills for Life, and Sense of Belonging. Their programs encourage physical activity among girls and students with special needs. Jennifer Smith is BAWSI’s CEO. She was highly involved in high school sports, and was able to become a Hall of Fame college athlete thanks to the pioneers behind Title IX. She maintains 24 years of coaching and corporate experience.
4. Erin Loos Cutraro, She Should Run
While not literally concentrated on running, She Should Run maintains the equally important vision of expanding the talent pool of future elected females. They believe that women from all backgrounds deserve an equal opportunity to succeed in elected positions, and that everyone would benefit from a government with more perspective and experience. Erin Loos Cutraro is the foundation’s Co-Founder and CEO. She has a longstanding advisory career having worked with national, state, and local candidates, as well as experience in the educational field.
5. Jenny Gaither, Movemeant
Movemeant is a nonprofit dedicated to enabling women to feel confident about their bodies by “empowering them with the tools to be active.” They recognize that negative body image and physical inactivity has grown significantly over the past 20 years and are determined to provide women of all ages the tools they need to overcome. Movemeant’s “DARE to BARE” campaign “dares” women to overcome their insecurities and “bare” their vulnerabilities to set goals and shed unrealistic expectations. Jenny Gaither founded Movemeant after struggling herself with years of negative body image issues. She also serves as the company’s CEO.