Top Women in Philanthropy

Top 11 Women in Philanthropy

Top Women in Philanthropy 2012

VOTE for your top woman in philanthropy — the winner’s organization will be the featured nonprofit at Little PINK Book’s 3rd annual Spring into Ownership event! Voting is open from Jan. 23 to Feb 3.

By Caroline Cox

It’s one thing to give to charity or volunteer on weekends. But it’s entirely another to dedicate your life to assisting those in need and improving people’s lives.

Welcome to Little PINK Book’s list of . These inspiring women are volunteers, advocates and caretakers for those suffering from disease, famine, poverty and lack of access to education.

Though experts say female philanthropists often get “less recognition than men,” they give nearly twice as much of their income to charity as men do – 3.8 percent vs. 1.8 percent – according to a Barclay’s Wealth study.

Plus, gift values donated by women-led organizations have increased by 25 percent in the past few years, according to the Women’s Funding Network.

The women and their organizations provide medical aid, education, electricity, jobs and more to communities across the globe in places like Uganda, Haiti, China, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The featured women were selected based on their position at the nonprofit, the scope of the organization and their tireless level of commitment and passion for helping others.

They are: MedRebels Foundation’s Shay McBurney, Dove Missions’ Liz Sunel, Do Something’s Nancy Lublin, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Inc.’s Melissa Berman, Solar Sister’s Katherine Lucey, One Hundred Days’ Kelli Sasser, Sow Hope’s Mary Dailey Brown, Itsatwist’s Isabel Garreton, CASA’s Dilys Garcia and the Eating Disorder Information Network’s Lisbeth Rhine.

“When times are tough,” says Lucey, “give yourself away and lose yourself in purpose.” We asked these women what inspires them, how they got started, where they turn when times get tough and their goals for the future.

Melissa Berman


Melissa Berman, President & CEO, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Inc.

As one of the largest philanthropic service organizations, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors has reportedly overseen more than $3 billion in donations and grant-making globally. Today, it is the leading advisory and management service connecting donors to charities around the world.  Click here for the rest of the profile >>

Mary Dailey Brown


Mary Dailey Brown, President & CEO, SowHope

SowHope is a nonprofit for women, by women. They target the 1.5 billion females around the globe who make “less than $2 a day.” Since forming in 2006, they’ve helped more than 20,000 women and children in nine countries by providing them with wellness, education and economic programs.  Click here for the rest of the profile >>


Dilys Garcia, Executive Director, CASA of Los Angeles

It’s safe to say Dilys Tosteson Garcia didn’t quite know what she was getting into when she stepped up as head of CASA Los Angeles. The nonprofit helps abused and neglected children who have been removed from their homes by social services. After taking the position in 2010, CASA LA lost its funding  Click here for the rest of the profile >>

Isabel Garreton


Isabel Garreton, Founder, Itsatwist

Garreton has used her passion for fashion to help underprivileged women. In doing so, she supplies them with “a dignified work opportunity.” After facing challenges balancing work and motherhood, she realized how hard it must be for women without the advantages she had.  Click here for the rest of the profile >>

Nancy Lublin


Nancy Lublin, CEO, Do Something

Do Something boasts that it’s “one of the largest organizations in the U.S. for teens and social change.” They have the largest database of teen volunteer opportunities in the U.S. with more than a million youths involved. Last year, they reached more than $8 million in total revenue.  Click here for the rest of the profile >>

Katherine Lucey


Katherine Lucey, Founder, Solar Sister

More than 1.5 billion people in the world live without access to electricity – 70 percent of them are women and girls. It’s called energy poverty. It’s responsible for poor air quality, burn injuries and up to 40 percent of family income spent in sub-Saharan Africa.  Click here for the rest of the profile >>

Shay McBurney


Shay McBurney, Executive Director, MedRebels Foundation

The nonprofit MedRebels Foundation brings awareness to the benefits of regenerative medicine and adult stem cell therapies. As executive director, McBurney works to lead a “health-focused revolution” showing the immediate benefits of adult stem cell therapy with minimal risks.  Click here for the rest of the profile >>

Janice McKenzie-Crayton


Janice McKenzie-Crayton, President and CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta

For 20 years, Janice McKenzie-Crayton has led Metro Atlanta’s Big Brothers Big Sisters, “one of the largest and oldest mentoring programs in the South.” The program, which celebrated its 50th year in 2010, connects mentors with  children facing adversity to guide them toward lifelong success.  Click here for the rest of the profile >>

Lisbeth Rhine


Lisbeth Rhine, Executive Director, Eating Disorders Information Network

Lisbeth Rhine developed an eating disorder at age 15. Though she’s been in recovery for more than 10 years now, the cause is still very close to her heart. As Executive Director of the EDIN, she works to aid in prevention and bring awareness to disordered eating.  Click here for the rest of the profile >>

Kelli Sasser


Kelli Sasser, Co-Founder, One Hundred Days

Kelli Sasser says she felt “compelled by Christ” to help the people of Rwanda rebuild their lives. During the Rwandan genocide, nearly one million people were killed in one hundred days – nearly 20 percent of the country’s population. The small African nation was left in shambles.  Click here for the rest of the profile >>

Liz Sunel


Liz Sunel, Founder, Dove Missions

As a long-time mission trip leader and youth director for her local church in Minneapolis, Liz Sunel has seen her fair share of impoverished cities and people facing hardships. But it was a particular trip she took to the Dominican Republic’s barrios with her 12-year-old son that truly changed her life forever.  Click here for the rest of the profile >>


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