10 People Making a Difference in the World Today
Jorge is the founder of An Angel in Queens, an non-profit that delivers free home-cooked meals in Jackson Heights, Queens. All the food is cooked by Munoz himself and his family. Munoz never misses a day knowing so many underprivileged people rely on his meals. The meals are delivered nightly by Munoz out of a food truck under the 7 train in Jackson Heights, Queens. He estimates he has served to more than 70,000 people since 2004. In 2009, he was nominated as a CNN Hero of the Year and in 2010, Munoz was presented with the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Barack Obama.
2. Blair Underwood
As a co-founder of Artists for a New South Africa, Blair has been involved with ANSA since 1989. In addition to his successful acting career and being a dad to his 3 children, he has also served as the spokesperson for YouthAIDS, is a Trustee for the Robey Theatre Company in Los Angeles, a non-profit theatre group founded by Danny Glover, and has worked with the LA chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
3. Amy Stokes
Amy founded Infinite Family, a non profit which pairs up South African orphans with international video mentors, after travelling to South Africa in 2003 to adopt her son. The weekly mentor process is intended to help South African teens and children who have lost their parents to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The organization has set up over 300 children with mentors since 2006. The program not only offers these children emotional support, Infinite Family also teaches English and computer skills in an effort to help them secure jobs after finishing school.
4. Razia Jan
An Afghan native and US citizen, Razia Jan is the founder of Razia’s Ray of Hope Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of women and children in Afghanistan through community-based education. Since 2005, Razia has been working to raise funds for the Zabuli Education Center. Opened in 2008, the school provides free education for girls in a village outside of Kabul. She has been honored with multiple Rotary Club International Peace Awards and a certificate of appreciation from the Army Corps of Engineers and the American Legion. To learn more about Jan’s school and the amazing challenges an all female school faces in Afghanistan, check out this article from CNN.
5. David McCoy
David is currently a member of the Board of Trustees for SA-YES (South African Youth Education for Sustainability). David is a medical doctor by vocation and spent two and a half years working in a rural government hospital in northern Kwazulu, South Africa. He has also worked as a policy research fellow at the Child Health Unit of the University of Cape Town and spent six years with the Health Systems Trust, a non governmental organization in South Africa which helps to research and transform the the apartheid health care system. Currently, he is a senior clinical associate at the Centre for International Health and Development at University College London.
6. Sherry Lansing
Former head of Paramount Pictures and founder of the Sherry Lansing Foundation, a non profit dedicated to cancer research, education, art and culture. Lansing has long believed in the power of education to create social change and places education initiatives at the forefront of her foundation. One such project is PrimeTime LAUSD, in partnership with the LA Unified School District. Sherry also sits on the boards of The Carter Center, Teach for America, and The American Association for Cancer Research. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of Friends of Cancer Research and on the board of the Lasker Foundation. Indefatiguably, she’s also the co-founder of Stop Cancer, a non-profit philanthropic group in partnership with Dr. Armand Hammer.
7. Ashley Shuyler
Ashley founded AfricAid, a nonprofit which supports girls’ education in Africa, in 2001 at the age of 16 after a photo safari in Tanzania. The organization encourages young African women to transform their own lives and the futures of their communities. Through scholarship programs, AfricAid provide vocational and teacher training, build classrooms at overcrowded schools, supplies textbooks and computers, and fund school lunches for undernourished students. A graduate of Harvard University and currently a student at Stanford Graduate School of Business, Ashley remains on AfricAid’s Board of Directors.
8. Kristin Elliot
When Kristin was diagnosed with cancer in her legs and lungs at the age of 16, she had one, selfless wish for the Make a Wish Foundation: to build an orphange and AIDS clinic in Zambia, Africa. To date, Kristin has raised close to $300,000 for the orphanage, appropriately named Kristin’s Miracle House. Kristin continues to successfully fight her cancer, attend Baylor University, and raise money for her orphanage. She has been honored with a Jefferson Award for her amazing commitment to public service. For more information, visit Kristin’s Heart.
9. Robin Lim
Robin is a midwife and founder of Yayasan Bumi Sehat (which means Healthy Mother Earth Foundation). The foundation offers free prenatal care, birthing services and medical aid to thousands of women in Indonesia who do not have the means for proper care. Since 2003, she has been working to combat Indonesia’s high infant mortality rates. In 2011, she was named CNN’s Hero of the Year.
10. Michelle Potter
Michelle is the co-founding Executive Director of SA-YES (South African Youth Education for Sustainability). After leaving school in England at 16, she bravely decided to return to university at the age of 37 and graduated from Roehampton University with a BA (Hons) in Education in 2007. While she was at Roehampton, she volunteered to coach soccer to kids living on the streets in South Africa. Journeying to South Africa was a life changing experience for Michelle. Her experiences ultimately inspired her graduating thesis which focused on children in the foster system comparing the UK and South Africa. Her thesis findings – specifically the lack of care and guidance once South African children reach legal age – inspired her permanent relocation to South Africa and the beginnings of SA-YES.
Tell us in the comments below about someone who has made a difference to you!
Big or small, we’d love to hear about someone who has touched, inspired, or helped you.