What will you be doing in 2016? Expanding your wardrobe? Exercising more? We’re welcoming the New Year by asking ourselves what we can do to empower and support others.We took up the conversation with our President, Suzanne Lerner, who devotes her time, energy and resources towards organizations that empower women and girls to build a better world. We’ve rounded up a list of causes that are near and dear to her heart. Maybe you’ll find one that resonates with you too.
In the words of Suzanne, “Choose your cause. You will love the happiness that you’ll receive in giving. There’s nothing quite like it.”
From the Desk of President Suzanne Lerner:
Women Thrive Worldwide
Women Thrive strengthens women’s advocacy capacity to shape the local, national and global policies that help women break free from poverty, violence and inequality.
They connect members from more than 200 women’s rights organizations in 50 countries to create a movement to end violence against women and girls, promote equitable girls education, and advance women’s economic empowerment. Women Thrive’s 17 years of work with grassroots women has shown that local women are best positioned to identify solutions to these development challenges.We know that one woman’s voice can change the lives of many, and multiple women’s voices can change the lives of millions.
Ms. Foundation for Women
The Ms. Foundation has been a huge part of my life. The foundation is a forceful voice and champion for women’s progressive causes that work towards empowering females, especially those in marginalized communities. I am so honored to support this group that is also helping fund over 100 domestic organizations and working to eliminate barriers for all women.
Prosperity Catalyst provides tools for women in distressed regions around the world so that they can be empowered to become skilled entrepreneurs and leaders. Having been on the board of Prosperity Catalyst for two years, I’ve seen firsthand the importance of training women so they can create their own opportunities.
We recently launched candle-making enterprises in both Iraq and Haiti providing women with a business model and allowing them to create a path to entrepreneurship and independence. Be sure to check out their beautiful handmade candles at Michael Stars retail stores!
We Advance is a non-profit co-founded by my dear friend Maria Bello to advance the health and well being of women throughout Haiti. I partnered with Maria in founding We Advance University. The University is an online library with specific playlists that are both educational and entertaining.
PRODEV is an organization close to my heart. I’m good friends with Maryse Pénette-Kedar and Caroline Sada, founders of this organization that provide free education to Haitian children. I’ve been visiting these schools from the very beginning. I remember when they were simply on bare ground with handmade desks and a tarp covering in the poorest slum of Haiti, Cité Soleil. I’m continuously amazed by Maryse and Caroline’s dedication to proving accessible education to these underserved communities.
Children Mending Hearts
I became friends with Lysa Heslov, founder of Children Mending Hearts, a few years back and was immediately drawn to her cause. Today, I am a board member and proud to support this amazing organization that positively impacts youth through education and the arts. By empowering disadvantaged youth, we’ll ultimately effect change in their lives and communities.
Consider these incredible organizations as your inspiration to start off 2016 by finding a cause you are passionate about and taking action to make a difference.