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The Rajendra Foundation Social Impact Fund incubates young women leader’s big, bold, untested ideas. By providing grants to young women leaders, the Rajendra Foundation is creating a cultural shift to invest in and amplify the ideas of young women, further unlocking their leadership potential. 

The Rajendra Foundation Social Impact Fund provides grants to innovative young women leaders (18-25) from the Rising Voices network in the United States, Canada, and Mexico who are making strides to creatively address the issues of child poverty, vulnerability, food insecurity, climate justice and/or systemic inequality. Grant recipients may use a variety of approaches including the arts, science and technology, healthcare and advocacy. Recipients may use the funding for their own personal leadership growth to address the issues or for their organizations that address the issues.

The projects tackle a variety of issues including the arts, education, healthcare, reproductive education & rights, social justice, STEM, women’s empowerment, and gender-based violence (GBV).  

The 21 phenomenal grantees are:  

Mexico:  

  • Alondra Fraustro- Founder of Ciencia Mágica 
  • Emmy Puerto– Founder of Proyecto In lak’ech 
  • Roceli Dzib García- Founder of project “Comprehensive sexuality education for indigenous adolescents” 
  • Ursula Martinez– Founder of VIOLETA 

United States:   

  • Aarna Dixit– Founder of the Dirty Talk Podcast 
  • Aimee Yan– Founder of Visibility Forward 
  • Alina Wilson- Founder of VOICES (Vaccinating Oklahomans. Inspiring Cooperation. Engaging Skepticism.) 
  • Alliyah Logan- Founder of Cultivate Global Education 
  • Archika Dogra– Founder of Innoverge 
  • Deepthi Chandra- Founder of the Climate Visuals & You Newsletter 
  • Devika Manoj- Founder of Blooming Seeds 
  • Elizabeth Swain– Founder of Girls Can 
  • Enerys Pagan- Founder of Young Scientists for Puerto Rico 
  • Ileri Jaiyeoba- Founder of Code Red Collective 
  • Katalina Connors– Leadership and Professional Development for Sustainable Urban Design  
  • Kynnedy Smith– Founder of I Art Cleveland 
  • Meera Srinivasan– Founder of Art You 
  • Stephanie Quintero– CEO and Co-founder of Chicos and Kids and the Preparing for My Big Day workshops 
  • Stephanie Villanueva-Villar- Founder of the Girls in Tech Conference, an extension of the Your Girl for Good   
  • Teresa Leatherow- Founder of the Go, Girl Podcast

 

Meet the Rajendra Foundation Social Impact Fund Grantees

Ursula Amaranta Martinez Barrueta

2021 Fellow, Voices that Inspire Fellow

Ursula Amaranta Martínez Barrueta is from Iguala de la Independencia, Guerrero, Mexico. She is a litigation assistant and researcher at Organization Tojil, as well as a columnist for the Mexican magazine “Foro Jurídico”. In 2019 she was part of the Youth Parliament of Guerrero where she chaired the Gender Commission. Her greatest passion is that, through the law and as a feminist lawyer, she can be part of proposals and solutions for violence against women and their realities. Her “First Aid Kit” seeks to provide comprehensive guidance to women and their support networks when they face situations that put them at risk, not only from the legal side but also from the psychological side. From Tojil, she has the opportunity to be part of the design of litigation strategies and public policies against corruption and violence against women. During the health emergency in Mexico, she was part of the “Susana Vigilancia” team, which monitored the plans and programs implemented by Tojil and Transparencia Mexicana that aimed to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ursula was selected as a participant in the 2021 Voces Que Inspiran.

Ursala Amaranta Martinez Barrueta Headshot
Mexico

María Roceli Dzib García

2019 Fellow, Voices that Inspire Fellow

Roceli is currently in the sixth semester of her bachelor’s degree in Community Health at the Maya Intercultural University of Quintana Roo (UIMQROO). She promotes human rights and contributes to the empowerment of women and children in the Maya area. She is an activist who advocates for justice and heads the Counseling and Orientation Department (a non-judgmental approach), which addresses Sexual and Reproductive Rights at the UIMQROO Health Center. Roceli belongs to the Youth Advisory Panel of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Mexico.

Roceli was selected as a participant in the 2019 Voces Que Inspiran.

María Roceli Dzib García was selected as a participant in the 2019 Voces Que Inspiran.
Mexico

Aimee Yan

2018 Fellow, HERlead Fellow

Aimee Yan is a sophomore studying the intersections of Public Policy, Business, and Social and Economic Justice at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. She is a passionate advocate for the Asian American community, education equity, and social justice. As a HERlead Fellow, Aimee founded Project Pantry and distributed 1,000 items of professional clothing to homeless families; created a confidential food pantry serving 400 low-income students; and raised over $4,000 for homeless students across Colorado. Her passion for education led to her involvement as a Board Member on the YouthRoots Board of Directors and research assistant studying the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on first-generation college students. She spends her free time storytelling, reading, and hiking in the Rocky Mountains.

headshot
USA

Alina Wilson

2018 Fellow, HERlead Fellow

Alina is a sophomore at Stanford University with a demonstrated history of leadership and a desire to have an impact. She is currently exploring the intersections of medicine, policy, and business and how to utilize these disciplines to address the social determinants of health and other health inequities. While in college, she has demonstrated these interests as a Community Engagement Intern for Supermajority (an organizing community for women’s activism), as the Lead Research Assistant for a Stanford School of Medicine Global Center for Gender Equality project in collaboration with the Gates Foundation, as a summer associate with Boston Consulting Group, and by taking classes at Stanford such as Foundations of Community Health Engagement, Health Care Leadership, and Healing, Illness, Stories. She received a Vital Voices grant to ease nursing home residents’ social isolation and loneliness in high school. With COVID-19 cases again on the rise, she plans to build upon my year of experience as a COVID-19 Contact Tracer and Vaccine Outreach Coordinator to empower young leaders in the Black community in Oklahoma to develop a community outreach program to increase the vaccination rates in our community.

Alina Wilson
USA

Archika Dogra

2018 Fellow, HERlead Fellow

Archika is a sophomore at Princeton University and the Founder of Innoverge, an international nonprofit empowering underrepresented and underserved youths with social impact-focused STEMxHumanities education. Innoverge has impacted 6,700+ youths in 14 countries and 54 locations, spanning 250+ free workshops, camps, and programs. Alongside educational outreach, Archika is passionate about the intersection of computer science and social innovation. She has previously interned under NASA, the University of Washington, and Sensoria Health, a bioinformatics wearable technology startup. This summer, she worked for CityTaps, a Parisian startup building technologies to bring affordable running water to poor urban households in developing countries. Archika’s work has been featured in Forbes and Geekwire and she has been recognized as a 2019 Global Teen Leader and Mars Generation 24 under 24 Leader in STEM.

Archika Dogra
USA

Elizabeth Swain

2016 Fellow, HERlead Fellow

Elizabeth Swain is a senior at Wake Forest University pursuing a Biology major and a Chemistry and Psychology double minor. Elizabeth is currently researching at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, studying the effects of bacterial and HPV co-infection on radiation sensitivity. She is passionate about empowering children and adolescents in her community. Elizabeth serves as a tutor for Spanish-speaking fifth graders in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Additionally, she is involved in Club Tennis and Reformed University Fellowship on campus.

Elizabeth Swain
USA

Katalina Connors

2015 Fellow, HERlead Fellow

Katalina discovered her passions for the environment and social justice early on in her life. It’s her life’s work to continue working towards a better future in both environmental and social justice. In 2015, Katalina participated as a HERlead Fellow, founding a casual social space for queer and trans youth in her community. Katalina graduated with a BA in Environmental and Urban Studies and minor in Human Rights from the University of Chicago in 2020, with her senior thesis proposing an alternative design concept for the end-of-life phase of buildings and infrastructure where they could be designed to decay in a way that would help invigorate the surrounding ecosystems.

Katalina Connors Headshot
USA

Kynnedy Smith

2020 Fellow, HERlead Fellow

Kynnedy Simone Smith, 18 yrs old, is the founder of I Art Cleveland, a nonprofit geared toward ensuring all youth have access to the arts, and Chat(Her) Talks, an online girls leadership forum designed to create a sisterhood of civically engaged young women. Kynnedy is a gospel jazz violinist, with over eleven years of classical and contemporary music study. She has always been intrigued by the arts and have found ways to use the arts to foster civic engagement in her community.

Kynnedy Smith
USA

Meera Srinivasan

2014 Fellow, HERlead Fellow

Meera Srinivasan is a talented software engineer, artiste, and community leader. She recently graduated from Stanford University with her B.S. & M.S. in Computer Science, with concentrations in human-computer interaction and biocomputation. Currently, she is a software engineer at Apple. Meera has also been studying & practicing classical South Indian dance (Bharatanatyam) for nearly two decades and has won several accolades, including recognition from the National Young Arts Foundation. Meera aims to combine her passions for the arts and STEM in her community outreach. As a 2014 HERlead Fellow, 2014-2019 HERlead grant recipient, and 2019 HERlead Ambassador, Meera co-founded Art You (www.art-you.us), an organization that seeks to promote youth leadership in the arts via educational outreach sessions & a performing arts showcase. She Codes Art (www.shecodesart.org ), an Art You sister initiative, focuses on teaching underrepresented minorities coding through art-themed curriculum modules. Through the pandemic, She Codes Art has remained highly active while Art You’s work has unfortunately been put on hold due to uncertainty surrounding live performances. Collectively, Art You and She Codes Art have impacted 5000+ youth over the past several years, nationally and internationally. Notably, Art You’s work was featured at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Teen Action Fair in 2019.

Meera Srinivasan
USA

Stephanie Quintero

2014 Fellow, HERlead Fellow

Stephanie Quintero is CEO and Co-founder of Chicos and Kids, inc a 501c(3) non-profit organization committed to providing mentorship, leadership, and wellness education to children around the world and executive director of the “Preparing for My Big Day” workshops. Chicos and Kids, inc has held workshops in four different cities in Colombia, Senegal, Guatemala, and Gaithersburg, MD. As a child of Colombian immigrant parents, her experience growing up provided a driving force for working in Latino and refugee communities. Her work in Colombia and other countries are in partnership with many local leaders, stakeholders, and healthcare professionals to increase access to education, mental health, and empowerment of children and adolescents. She graduated from Dartmouth College in 2020 as a pre-medical student with a degree in Anthropology. She is a 2014 HERlead fellow, grantee, and global ambassador. She is a full-time health disparities and minority health researcher at the National Institutes of Health. Her research is focused on maternal and infant health, COVID-19 disparities, mental health, and coping and resilience.

Stephanie Quintero
USA

Alondra Fraustro

2021 Fellow, Voices that Inspire Fellow

Alondra Fraustro is a young scientist and entrepreneur, originally from Monterrey, Nuevo León, México; she graduated as a Bacteriologist and Parasitologist Chemist from the Faculty of Biological Sciences of the Autonomus University of Nuevo León (UANL). Currently, she is a Scientific Communicator and Environmental Educator, and founder of Ciencia Mágica, where she shares scientific knowledge by giving conference courses and workshops to educate people and promote care for the environment. She has been recognized as a Hero of the Earth by the United Nations Organization to Combat Desertification and Drought in 2020 in South Korea for the development of an installation kit for orchards that help generate sustainable communities. She is the first Mexican to have won this award. Her talent, creativity, and passion have allowed her to represent Mexico, winning local, national, and international competitions since she was 14 years old. She has managed to represent Nuevo León nationally and Mexico internationally in panels and congresses where she always seeks to raise awareness of the importance of caring for the planet and acting to face change climate. She participated in the Expo-Ciencias Nuevo León 2018 contest, obtaining third place and earning national accreditation by the Institute for Innovation and Technology Transfer (I2T2) and CONACYT to represent its state Expo-Ciencias Nacional 2018 in Morelia, Michoacán with her project “Friendly kit for a home garden.” In turn, she was part of the organizing committee as an evaluator for Expo-Ciencias Nacional in Nuevo León 2019. Later she was selected as a speaker by the Academic Area of the National NETWORK of Youth Activities in Science and Technology as one of the best success stories from participating in the Winners Panel of Expo-Ciencias Nacional Sonora 2020, being an example for Mexican children and youth. In November 2020, she was selected as a speaker at TEDxUANLWomen 2020 for transmitting the power of women to be creators and generators of change, through the TEDx platform for the most extensive transfer of ideas internationally. In addition to her large number of recognitions, she is the CEO of “ECOBIORES”, an environmental biotechnology startup that generates degradable biomaterials, based on a circular economy system to replace plastics derived from petroleum. In February 2020 she managed to be recognized with the Sustainable Innovation Award, and in December 2020 with the BIOFASE Award, as one of the best high impact innovative ideas. In May 2021, she was part of the international magazine VICE to talk about water care, and she was selected as a finalist in the Woman Emprende 2021 contest, an event organized by Patricia Armendáriz – founder and director of Financiera Sustentable and Women Economic Forum – for her environmental venture Ecobiores.

Alondra was selected as a participant in the 2021 Voces Que Inspiran.

Alondra Fraustro Headshot
Mexico

Emma Soledad Puerto Arteaga

2021 Fellow, Voices that Inspire Fellow

Emma Puerto Arteaga is a student earning her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Relations at the Universidad Modelo Campus Mérida. She represents the National Front for the Yucatán Sorority, in which she fights for the visibility and eradication of sexual violence in digital media. She is an activist, gives conferences and workshops on violence and gender discrimination, and accompanies victims and survivors of it. She is a defender of the rights of adolescent girls and women so that they have access to a dignified life free of violence. She has promoted proposals and initiatives in the Mérida Youth Council, as well as in the Senate of the Republic for an education with a gender perspective, in order to eliminate gender roles and educational, political, social, cultural, digital, and labor gender gaps.

Emma was selected as a participant in the 2021 Voces Que Inspiran.

Emma Soledad Puerto Arteaga Headshot
Mexico

Stephanie Villanueva-Villar

2015 Fellow, HERlead Fellow

Stephanie Villanueva-Villar is the Founder & Executive Director of Your Girl for Good, a D.C. based non-profit organization that equips young girls of color with successful female mentors in the STEM, Art, and Political sectors. Since 2016, Stephanie has created summer mentorship programs, workshops, and summits that focus on reminding young girls of their limitless potential by connecting them with a network of supportive, professional women and exposing them to an array of career fields, college guidance, and mindfulness practices. Stephanie is passionate about the advancement of communities of color and has collaborated with the Smithsonian, Girls Who Code, DC Public Charter Schools, and Harvard’s Graduate School of Education to develop and implement diversity and inclusion programs that uplift the voices of marginalized students. Stephanie is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University and is double majoring in International Social Justice and Gender, Sexuality, & Women’s Studies with a minor in Political Science. She is a Vital Voices member, Herlead Ambassador, and RockStar Award Grantee. In her free time, Stephanie loves to draw, bake banana bread, and go on long scenic walks with her 12-year-old yorkie terrier, Lucas.

USA

Aarna Dixit

2020 Fellow, HERlead Fellow

Aarna Dixit is a 18-yr old activist, writer and speaker from Mumbai, India, currently living in New York City. Her journey in activism began when she founded Students Against Sexual Oppression, a youth-led sexual violence advocacy coalition, during her sophomore year of high school. Since then, she has worked in mental health, sexual violence and political advocacy, from being a peer-led sex educator with Planned Parenthood, a crisis line volunteer at the Oregon Youthline to working with various political campaigns and non-profit initiatives. In November 2019, Aarna gave a TedX Youth Talk on the importance of sexual violence allyship, and later became a 2020 HERLead Fellow on merit of her advocacy. In 2021, Aarna was featured in Teen Vogue’s 21 Under 21. Currently a senior in high school, she is the Managing Editor of Parachute Media and a columnist with More Color Media. She continues her work in advocacy and education working with organizations like Next Up Oregon, PAVE and ASHA International. Beyond her activism, Aarna loves writing, whether it be OP-EDs and articles about politics, culture and identity, or poetry inspired by her own experiences.

Aarna Headshot
United States

Alliyah Logan

2019 Fellow, HERlead Fellow

Alliyah Logan is an all-around Gender Advocate. Logan’s advocacy focuses on three main issues: safety in communities, education equity, and international gender equality. The foundation of her work is centered on advocating for young girls around the world. Logan is a Connector, Speaker, Writer, and Advocate. Alliyah served as the 2019-2020 Teen Advisor for Girl Up, an initiative through the United Nations Foundation where she advocates for human rights for girls. She received the #GirlHero award alongside Tarana Burke, Shonda Rhimes, and Dolores Huerta for her dedication to gender equity. She continues her work by engaging with The Teen Advisor Alumna network. Alliyah serves as the Director of Youth Engagement at Youth Over Guns and endlessly advocates for access to safety in communities. Logan served as a UNICEF Youth Advocate, where she has been able to expand her work internationally and spoke on behalf of UNICEF at the Sustainable Development Goals Action Zone in 2020. Alliyah is now the Founder of Cultivate Global Education, an initiative dedicated to removing international educational barriers through an equitable framework. She is also a contributor to Parade Media – and writes on racial justice, gender justice, and pop culture.

Alliyah headshot
United States

Deepthi Chandra

2018 Fellow, HERlead Fellow

Deepthi Chandra is a sophomore studying Public Policy and Markets & Management at Duke University and is from Bothell, Washington. She is interested in marketing and data, especially communicating complex information in an intuitive and visual manner. Deepthi is the President of the Marketing Club and Director of Marketing for Duke’s largest student-run business, Campus Enterprises. She is also currently working on a service project with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) at the Department of Energy. In her free time, Deepthi enjoys drinking tea, finding new dessert places, and watching Korean dramas.

Deepthi headshot #1
United States

Devika Manoj

2020 Fellow, HERlead Fellow

Devika is a senior at Lambert High School in Suwanee, Georgia. She is the founder of Blooming Seeds (bloomingseeds.weebly.com), an international youth run organization providing free science education for children with disabilities while creating a space where people with and without special needs can interact. To date, the organization has reached over 1600 people and Devika has personally organized over 50 science workshops reaching special needs youth in 15 states and 5 countries. With the grant, Devika hopes to bring free science workshops to underprivileged special needs communities such as orphans, refugees, and low-income households.

Devika Headshot
United States

Enerys Pagan Olaguibel

2015 Fellow, HERlead Fellow

Enerys is a fifth-year student at the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico and an Adult Volunteer at the Girl Scout. Enerys started in robotics in the sixth grade. Her eagerness for science led her to study in the Specialized School in Science and Mathematics, Brígida Álvarez Rodríguez. From 2013 to 2015, Enerys served as coordinator for her school’s robotic club. Combing her love of the Girls Scouts and science, Eenerys served a member of the Girl Scout Robotic Team from 2009 to 2016. Additionally, she offer robotics workshops to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

Enerys’ international experiences have led her to form the group “Young Scientists for PR,” to support young students in high school that are interested in Scientific Research. To this end, Enerys offers workshops on Scientific Research to students from public & private schools and homeschoolers.

Eenerys is a 2015 HERlead Fellow (formerly known as the ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative) and a 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019. Enerys hopes to continue her scientific developments, find solutions to improve the quality of life, and serve as a role model to young students.

Enerys Headshot
Puerto Rico

Ileri Jaiyeoba

2015 Fellow, HERlead Fellow

Ileri is a Strategist at the New York Times and the Founder of Code Red Co. In 2015, Ileri founded Code Red Co. as an organization pushing for an end to period poverty in the city of Atlanta, Georgia. Fast forward to now, Code Red Co. has transformed into a co-powering collective cooperative full of incredibly passionate individuals who desire to create a world that thrives off of collective care by promoting period wellness through advocacy, literacy, and aid. Ileri obtained a BA from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study where she created my own major called Reparations and Decoloniality in Practice and Theory. Ileri also obtained a Masters degree in alternative ways of teaching and learning through a liberatory pedagogical framework at the Specialized Studies Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Ileri
United States

Teresa Leatherow

2014 Fellow, HERlead Fellow

Teresa graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2019 with a degree in business and certificate in sustainability. As a student at the University of Pittsburgh, Teresa was active in the University Honors College, was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa and studied abroad in Denmark. Since graduation, Teresa has worked as a Technical Operations Lead and Project Manager at numo LLC, a financial technology software incubator, gaining experience solving complex business problems in fast-paced, agile environments. Teresa’s interests include the intersections of business, engineering, and technology, with a focus in the cyber/information security space. She is also passionate about mindfulness, women in business and technology; seeking productive and healthy approaches for high-achieving women to “automate” and enhance their busy lives. Teresa is an advocate for women and community-engagement and, is particularly interested in contributing to and serving the greater Pittsburgh area.

Teresa & Andrew
United States