When Tammy Tibbetts was 23, she was working as a web content manager for a women’s magazine. She loved having the experiencing of seeing first hand at how social media can create change in how we accomplish things and connect with one another. When she became frustrated by an article on teen pregnancy in Liberia, she realized she wanted to do something to promote education for girls in developing countries. Education is the primary factor in decreasing rates of teen pregnancy, unemployment, and domestic violence. Tibbetts founded She’s the First with a small group of friends in 2009, with a simple social media campaign calling young people into action to raise enough money to sponsor just one girl to finish school.
The idea took off and the brand grew, and in 2011 Tibbetts was able to relaunch She’s The First into a fully-fledged nonprofit. The organization’s fundraising projects have included fun things from promoting bake sales of tie-dyed cupcakes (300 cupcakes at one dollar each raises enough to sponsor one girl), to a benefit concert called Girls Who Rock. The organization vets and researches the highest quality education partners, who provide them with profiles on girls that She’s The First donors are supporting. The site is now an interactive community connecting donors to organizations and subsequently girls in developing countries that are now able to go to high school by participating in one of various programs.
Tibbett’s advice on starting a foundation from the ground up? “Don’t worry about making it perfect in the beginning, just keep being better than you were before.” She insists you don’t need a rich family, fancy alumnus or celebrity friends to start something that matters. She is living proof that a shareable social media strategy and commitment from small groups of friends can create powerful concepts that resonate with people. Her organization will continue to empower girls around with the world with community and creativity (and cupcakes) as primary tools for change.