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Meet the Class of 2014: Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs

Shiza Shahid
Shiza Shahid IMG: via Twiter

Earlier this month, Forbes introduced its “30 Under 30: Social Entrepreneurs, Class of 2014,” a group of young, inspirational, and driven humanitarians. Forbes calls theses leading social entrepreneurs an “elite group [with] conviction and talent, as well as a proven business model for bettering the world,” and expressed the difficulty in narrowing down hundreds of nominees to only 30.

Shiza Shahid, 24, topped the list for her dedication to improving and promoting female education. Shahid is cofounder of the Malala Fund, which she formed with Malala Yousafzai in 2012 as a platform to increase awareness of the international plight of women in the areas of violence, equal rights, and education. So far, the Malala Fund has raised nearly $500,000 in grants to support girls’ education.

Chase Adam also made the “30 Under 30” list for his entrepreneurial achievements. In 2012, the 27-year-old founded Watsi, a crowdfunding website where donors can directly fund high-impact medical care for others in need. Since its formation, the company has reportedly raised more than $2 million for patients in more than 16 countries.

Another young entrepreneur to make the list is Lauren Bush Lauren, a business-savvy fashion visionary. The 29-year-old recently shifted her FEED brand from a charitable fashion initiative to a for-profit business. Since 2007, FEED has been selling bags, t-shirts, and household products such as kitchen towels and bakeware, with proceeds funding hunger efforts. FEED’s original mission was for each purchase to feed one child for one year, a vision which will be realized further with Lauren’s partnership with Target.

Forbes’ Editor-in-Chief Randall Lane has expressed a desire for the publication to focus on more philanthropic achievements and individuals, and this “30 Under 30” list was a great place to start. To read even more about the Class of 2014’s best and brightest social entrepreneurs, visit www.forbes.com.

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Malala Fund Receives First Donation

Malala Yousafzai
IMG: via The Malala Fund

Malala Yousafzai is fifteen years old. Last year, the Taliban, who sought to silence her from speaking up for Pakistani women’s education rights, shot her in the head. They shot to kill, but Malala was stronger than they had reckoned—and she survived.

“Here’s what they accomplished,” said Angelina Jolie, who spoke at the recent Women in the World Summit in New York City. “They shot her point-blank range in the head—and made her stronger. The brutal attempt to silence her voice made it stronger.”

Malala, who was moved to England for recovery after she was shot, now attends school in Birmingham. But she hasn’t forgotten what it was like when she was in Pakistan. She formed Malala fund, an educational charity designed to help more women and girls become empowered and educated in Pakistan and around the world.

On Thursday, April 4th, Malala announced the first donation to the fund—$45,000. “Today I am going to announce the happiest moment of my life, and that is the first grant of Malala Fund,” Malala said in a recorded video announcement that played at the Women in the World Summit. “I invite all of you to support Malala Fund and let us turn the education of 40 girls into 40 million girls.”

The video was presented by Angelina Jolie, who pledged to give an additional $200,000 to the charity. The first grant will be given to a group in Malala’s homeland, the Swat Valley in Pakistan. It will help to educate forty girls between the ages of five and twelve who would otherwise be forced into domestic labor. By giving the girls a safe place to study as well as providing financial support to their families, Malala Fund paves the way for women’s education and empowerment in Pakistan. .