Rise Up Breakfast Gala
Thank you for rising up stronger with us!
Thanks to you our 2020 Virtual Breakfast Gala was a huge success! Together we raised over $300,000 for Rise Up Leaders who are rising up in the face of crisis to lead change. We were joined by powerful Rise Up Leaders who are advancing gender equity and racial justice here in the U.S. and around the world as well as distinguished guest speakers who are creating change for girls and women in politics, philanthropy, and social impact.
You can watch the entire gala or see videos of each of our incredible speakers here.
Stay tuned for more details about our 2021 Annual Breakfast Gala!
Missed our 2020 Breakfast Gala?
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Our 2020 Breakfast Speakers
Rise Up Leader, Louisiana
As a Rise Up Youth Champion in 2014, Nakita created GIRLS NOLA, a mentorship and leadership program to educate girls in New Orleans about sexual and reproductive health and empower them as leaders. Today she continues to train adolescent girl leaders in the program, using a curriculum that integrates arts and gamification techniques to holistically address the girls’ mental, emotional, and physical health needs. Nakita quickly adapted the program to be conducted online when the COVID-19 pandemic began and she is currently launching a new virtual cohort of GIRLS NOLA leaders, with ongoing support from Rise Up.
Nakita is a tireless advocate for racial and reproductive justice. In 2007, she founded the Dinerral Shavers Education Fund, in memory of her brother, to create opportunities for youth and sponsor community-based activities and anti-violence initiatives in New Orleans. She is a powerful voice for African American women’s sexual and reproductive health and justice, and has spoken at several international reproductive health conferences and events. A future politician herself, Nakita is also active in voter mobilization and political organizing throughout Louisiana.
Nakita has a bachelor's degree from Florida A&M University and a Master of Public Administration from Walden University, and is an alumna of the Loyola University Institute of Politics, and the Harvard Kennedy School of Executive Education.
Rise Up Leader, India
Anuradha is a renowned grassroots activist fighting for the rights of women workers and to bring an end to child labor in India. With Rise Up’s support, she is currently advancing social and economic empowerment for women who work as waste pickers in Maharashtra by partnering with local businesses to provide them with good jobs, fair pay, and safe working conditions. Recently, Anuradha secured and distributed personal protective equipment and emergency rations and funds to women waste pickers, so they could continue to earn their livelihoods during the pandemic.
For more than 25 years, Anuradha has advocated for the health, rights, and safety of women waste pickers, improving their wages and working conditions, facilitating the formation of a national association for waste pickers, and ensuring their children have access to education and life skills training. Through her work with the Avani Organization, Anuradha has helped rescue thousands of children from child labor and provided healthcare and education rights to thousands more.
Anuradha is a part of Rise Up’s Collective Impact Partnership with How Women Lead, the Public Health Institute, Global Fund for Women, and World Pulse, which increases the economic power of women and girls in India. She has a master’s degree in social work and is a 2016 recipient of the Women Have Wings award. As a former child laborer herself, Anuradha is personally connected to the issues she is working to address.
Rise Up Girl Leader, Guatemala
Seventeen-year-old Eyleen is an advocate for ending child marriage and preventing violence against girls in Guatemala. Eyleen joined Rise Up’s Let Girls Lead Network at the age of just 13. With support from Rise Up, Eyleen has built her skills in advocacy, leadership, and defending human rights, which she used to successfully mobilize a girl-led campaign to ban child marriage in Guatemala in 2017. She is currently the coordinator of the Let Girls Lead Network, a member of the Central American Alliance Team for Children and Adolescents, host of a local radio program, and an International Baccalaureate student at United World College Costa Rica. Recently, Eyleen was selected to participate in the design of the Youth Journey for UN Women’s Generation Equality Forum.
Rise Up Girl Leader, Kenya
Sixteen-year-old Lucy is protecting the rights of girls in Kenya by bringing an end to female genital mutilation (FGM) and other harmful traditional practices. When she joined Rise Up’s Girls’ Voices Initiative in 2017, Lucy learned about girl-centered advocacy, leadership, and how to reach decision-makers, and develop her own strategies to improve girls’ lives. With support from Rise Up, Lucy and a group of girl leaders successfully advocated with local officials to ban FGM, protect girls from gender-based violence, and improve sexual and reproductive health education and rights for all 150,000 girls in Kajiado County. Lucy continues to raise her voice to end FGM, child marriage, and teenage pregnancy.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee
Representative for California’s 13th District
Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Representative for California’s 13th District, is the highest-ranking African American woman in the U.S. Congress and has served in Congress since 1998. She is a forceful and progressive voice in Congress, dedicated to gender equity, social and economic justice, international peace, and civil and human rights. The Democratic lawmaker has a reputation for principled and independent stands, unafraid to take on the tough issues and speak her mind for her constituents, for a more just America, and for a safer world. A social worker by profession, she has been a life-long advocate for constituents, families, and others accessing government services.
Congresswoman Lee has been a strong proponent of safe communities, addressing hunger, environmental justice, universal health care, just immigration policies, the establishment of a living wage, reproductive health care rights, and affordable housing, including the creation of a National Housing Trust Fund. She has also consistently fought to stop endless wars and to reduce conditions that produce conflict and injustice.
Mary Obelnicki & Craig Silverstein
Founders of Echidna Giving
Mary and Craig founded Echidna Giving in 2006 with one sole aim: delivering the promise of girls’ education globally. With a focus on lower-income countries, Echidna Giving makes grants, generates knowledge, and collaborates with critical thinkers, innovators, and practitioners to advance girls’ education, and is a funder and partner of Rise Up. Mary and Craig are among the most influential funders of girls’ education globally and members of the Giving Pledge, a movement of philanthropists who have committed to giving away the majority of their wealth.
Mary earned a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Engineering from MIT, where she fused analytical thinking with social change. As a software engineer, she took time off to travel in the developing world and work with nonprofits. Most recently, she was a Coro Fellow in public affairs. Craig received his computer science degree with distinction at Harvard, and continued his graduate studies at Stanford. There he saw a world-changing idea and left academia to become Google’s first employee in 1998. Craig currently serves as Dean of Infrastructure at Khan Academy, a nonprofit online education organization.
President and Chief Executive Officer of TIME’S UP
Tina Tchen is co-founder of the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund and former executive director of the White House Council on Women and Girls and chief of staff to First Lady Michelle Obama. Tina is also a former assistant to President Barack Obama. At the White House, Tina spearheaded the first-ever White House Summit on Working Families and helped form the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. She has served on numerous strategic advisory boards for organizations, businesses, and nonprofits, including the United State of Women, and was involved with Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn initiative in partnership with Rise Up.
As CEO and president of TIME’S UP Now and the TIME’S UP Foundation, Tina oversees the organizations’ strategic plans to change culture, companies, and laws in order to make work safe, fair, and dignified for women of all kinds. In 2017, Tina co-founded the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund; since then, the Fund has she helps connected thousands of people to legal or PR support for sexual harassment across dozens of different industries.