It’s not easy being a girl.
From the moment they’re born, girls experience gender inequality and are treated differently from boys in their communities, homes, and schools. On a global scale, girls are often denied an education, told who and when to marry (one girl under the age of 18 is married every two seconds), and even spend 40% more time on chores than boys do.
We want to introduce you to an organization dedicated to setting girls up for lifelong success: She’s the First. This nonprofit organization teams up with women-led, grassroots organizations to ensure girls everywhere have access to quality education and are heard and respected.
What is She’s the First?
She’s the First (STF) is a New York City-based 501(c)(3) global nonprofit organization fighting gender inequality through education, advocacy, and leadership development.
Their vision: a world where every girl chooses her own future.
She’s the First History
She’s the First launched on November 1, 2009, as a YouTube video using the star power of singer-songwriter JoJo to inspire and motivate millennials to help sponsor girls’ education.
It all started with Tammy Tibbetts putting out a call to action on Facebook to raise awareness and funds for the millions of girls lacking access to education worldwide. Christen Brandt responded to her message, the two joined forces, and She’s the First was born.
What began as a simple social media campaign to increase girls’ access to school globally (so they could become the first in their families to graduate) blossomed into a powerful movement within three years. Soon after, She’s the First expanded their initial goals after learning “it takes more than a classroom and books to set girls up for success.”
In revising their end goal, STF now fights for girls’ rights and breaking down the barriers—like patriarchy, racism, and poverty—that often prevent women from reaching their full potential.
She’s the First is fueled by student advocates, community-based organizations, girls’ rights advocates, and the girls themselves, who set the agenda for STF campaigns and even have student representatives sitting on STF’s Board of Directors!
Since its founding, She’s the First has local partnerships in 11 countries throughout Latin America, West Africa, East Africa, and South Asia, which implement programs that ensure each girl served is “equipped with the skills she needs to survive and thrive in her environment.”
How She’s the First Gives Back
1. STF Partner Coalition
She’s the First uses a rights-based approach to support and advocate for girls worldwide through its STF Partner Coalition.
STF invests in locally-led leadership through:
- Flexible, unrestricted funding
- Direct and on-site training
- Annual conferences
- Practical toolkits and girl-centered resources
She’s the First provides long-term funding to high-impact partnerships so they can develop programs that focus on empowering women and girls in the following areas:
- Sexual and reproductive health and rights
- Feminist mentorship
- Leadership training
- Life skills
2. COVID-19 Response Fund
Poverty magnifies COVID-19’s detrimental effects on education in underserved communities.
Pre-pandemic statistics show that 130 million girls worldwide did not attend school. With global poverty increasing for the first time in two decades, there’s a prediction that post-COVID-19 classrooms will lose another 20 million girls.
She’s the First focuses on three critical interventions to prevent girls from dropping out:
- Provide basic needs to girls and their families
- Access to technology for remote education
- Feminist mentorship
Local organizations that provide families with food, water, and hygiene supplies during the pandemic, in exchange for their girls staying in the program, have reported great success.
3. Signature Grassroots Campaigns
She’s the First raises awareness and money for girls’ education through numerous signature grassroots campaigns that include:
- #BakeAChange!: an annual fundraiser centered on a tie-dye cupcake bake sale that has raised more than $250,000 for girls’ education to date
- #GirlsGetLoud, a social media challenge that celebrates International Day of the Girl (every October 11)
- #SweatforSTF, a movement that increases participation in race and fitness events to raise money for girls’ education programs
- #MentorsMakeItHappen, a campaign that focuses on celebrating feminist mentorship
4. Global Girls’ Bill of Rights
She’s the First is a co-organizer of the Girls’ Bill of Rights, “a declaration of the rights all girls are entitled to, written by girls, for girls.” It was created to celebrate the 2019 International Day of the Girl and presented to the United Nations, reaching over 150 million people worldwide. STF also provides toolkits and resources to help communities start their own local bills.
Impact and Future Plans for She’s the First
She’s the First reaches more than 138,000 girls across 26 countries annually.
They’ve provided more than 7,500 scholarships to girls worldwide, and since 2010, have built a growing campus chapter community across the world for the next generation of women leaders.
STF’s annual impact also includes:
- 102,000+ girls engaging with STF’s campus community and advocacy toolkits
- 25,000+ girls reached through 165 trained practitioners
- Nearly 10,000 girls reached through partner programs
In 2020, She’s the First’s COVID-19 Response Fund:
- Delivered food, water, and menstrual supplies to 1,000+ girls and families
- Taught sexual health and reproductive rights classes to 6,780 girls
- Improved technology access for 1,340 girls
- Trained 75 practitioners to assist girls in their post-pandemic return to school
- Reached 60+ communities
As She’s the First looks towards future partnerships, the nonprofit will prioritize funding organizations and grassroots projects that create maximum impact while ensuring their toolkits and training programs remain open and free to girls and local organizations.
STF also plans to grow their training and advocacy programs while implementing tools that better track their impact on the girls they help, plus expand and strengthen some of their global offices and the leadership role of their Girls’ Advisory Council.
How to Support She’s the First
A few ways you can show support:
- Donate directly to She’s the First through their website.
- Select She’s the First as your nonprofit when shopping with Giving Assistant.
- Start your own fundraiser or participate in any of STF’s grassroots campaigns.
- Engage in social media campaigns using STF hashtags on Instagram and Twitter.
Anthropologie x She’s the First Nonprofit
In March 2021, Anthropologie advanced its commitment to “nurture the next generation of women leaders” by choosing She’s the First as their first year-long philanthropic partner.
Anthropologie will highlight She’s the First throughout 2021 and provide opportunities for shoppers like you to support the organization’s mission through charitable donations.
In March, Anthropologie donated $100,000 to She’s the First. During Earth Month 2021, they will donate 100% of net proceeds from the full-price purchase of their exclusive reusable tote bag to She’s the First. They will continue donating 1% of dress purchases in May 2021.
What is Giving Assistant?
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