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 10 phenomenal inaugural grantees are:
- Roceli Dzib García- Founder of project “Comprehensive sexuality education for indigenous adolescents”
- Ursula Martinez– Founder of VIOLETA
- Aimee Yan– Founder of Reclaim the Narrative
- Alina Wilson- Founder of VOICES (Vaccinating Oklahomans. Inspiring Cooperation. Engaging Skepticism.)
- Archika Dogra– Founder of Innoverge
- Elizabeth Swain– Founder of Girls Can
- 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
Meet the 2021 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.