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A message from Denise Raquel Dunning, Founder + Executive Director

Dear Friend,

Like many of you, the Rise Up Team is still celebrating the recent election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. The historic election of Senator Harris as the next Vice President of the United States is deeply important for girls and women in the U.S. and around the world.

Yet despite this crucial advancement for girls and women, the collective problems we still face are fierce and require urgent action. And the COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened these challenges for far too many girls, youth, and women.

But the good news is that Rise Up Leaders are up to the task. Faced with unprecedented challenges, Rise Up Leaders have continued their powerful work to improve the lives of girls and women in their communities and countries. And Rise Up has adapted our own work to continue supporting these incredible leaders.

Leaders like Anuradha, who is protecting women waste pickers in India from COVID-19, fighting to ensure they have the personal protective equipment they need so they can safely continue to earn a living; leaders like Nakita, who is supporting Black girls in New Orleans to become leaders in their communities, while also teaching them to take care of their mental health during the pandemic; and girl leaders like Eyleen in Guatemala and Lucy in Kenya, who are working hard to ensure that lockdowns and school closures don’t result in increased rates of child marriage in their communities. 

As we noted in 2016, Rise Up’s work did not begin or end with a presidential election. Our commitment to fight for girls, youth, and women, everywhere remains steadfast, and with your support, we can create transformational change. 

We hope you’ll join us on December 10th as we come together at our Virtual Breakfast Gala in celebration of hope and collective strength to raise crucial funds for Rise Up Leaders like Anuradha, Nakita, Eyleen, and Lucy.

Learn more about this inspiring event below and be sure to follow us on social media to hear about all of our exciting speakers! 

In solidarity,

Denise Raquel Dunning, PhD
We are thrilled to invite you to Rise Up's virtual Breakfast Gala on December 10!

Our 6th Annual Breakfast Gala will feature the powerful voices and incredible work of Rise Up Leaders who are leading the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and advancing gender equity and racial justice here in the U.S. and around the world.  We will also hear from powerful speakers in politics, philanthropy, and social justice. 

Join Rise Up to be inspired and raise crucial funds for Rise Up Leaders, who are improving the health, education, rights, and well-being of girls, youth, and women globally. Click here or on the button below to get tickets. And click here to see our exciting new speaker announcements!
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Meet Benjamin Maigari, a Rise Up Leader from Kaduna State in Nigeria. With support from Rise Up, Benjamin is improving girls’ access to education in his community, so that girls in Kaduna State and throughout Nigeria can fulfill their potential.

“I was in class with a girl who was clearly much smarter than me but was never given the opportunity to thrive. By high school, she had been married off, and a year later she passed away during childbirth. I promised then to fight for the education and future of girls,” said Benjamin. 

Read the Blog



We’re proud to share that Rise Up Leader Jamela Robertson (right) was recently selected as the new chairperson for South Africa’s Commission on Gender Equality, which promotes gender equality in South Africa through research, public education, policy, monitoring and evaluation, and litigation.

Rise Up Youth Champion Sarmad Muhammad Soomar is in the news for the launch of Wo Kahani, a children’s book he developed with support from Rise Up to breakdown gender stereotypes and advance equity, respect, and equal opportunity for youth in Pakistan.


Last month, Rise Up hosted a virtual cross share event where Rise Up Leaders Naseem Shaikh and Souvik Pyne from India and Medupin Olusegun Paul from Nigeria shared strategies with other Rise Up Leaders around the world for advocating with decision-makers during the COVID-19 pandemic to improve laws and policies and promote gender equity. As Naseem shared, “When we go to decision-makers, we have to share the problems, but equally, we have to share the solutions.”
Rise Up activates women and girls to transform their lives, families, and communities through investment in local solutions, strengthening leadership, and building movements. Since 2009, Rise Up's powerful network of over 600 leaders has advocated for over 120 laws and policies impacting 135 million people in Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and the US. Rise Up is based at the Public Health Institute (PHI), a leader in global health and development for over 50 years.
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