Liberia, West Africa has a population of about 4 million. The native language is English as Liberia derives from "Liberty" which means freedom. As the capital, "Monrovia" is named after the 5th U.S. president, James Monroe. An exciting fact about Liberia is that Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the Liberian president who is the first female president in Africa! According to GirlUp, in Liberia, more than 40% of girls ages 10-14 have never gone to school. Unfortunately young girls fall victim of the most frequently reported crime in Liberia, rape. Before the war in 1989, Liberia had over 2,400 schools. After 2003, Liberia only had about 480 remaining.
When a girl in the developing world receives 7 or more years of education, she marries 4 years later and has 2.2 fewer children.
An extra year of primary school boosts girls' eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent.
When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.
From the West Coast of Australia, Mim holds an undergraduate degree in Public Health & Nutrition. She went on to complete a graduate degree in Secondary Education and a Masters in Education, specializing in behavior amongst disengaged youth. Mim is a passionate teacher and has taught in Australia, Liberia and the United States, and hopes to replicate the success of these systems at More Than Me. She currently works at the University of Michigan's Ford School of Public Policy and also serves as a Program coordinator for the Excellence in Higher Education for Liberian Development (EHELD) program. A joint effort between USAID, RTI and Universities from the US and Liberia, EHELD's mission is to recruit and retain Liberian high school and university students in STEM (Science Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) disciplines. As a sustainability advocate, Mim is also a member of Sustainability Without Borders (SWB), an organization in Michigan and Liberia that creates networks of sustainability practitioners by engaging communities in hands-on development projects, such as solar-charging stations and anaerobic digesters. SWB and More Than Me are currently pursuing joint sustainability projects for More Than Me locations in West Point.
Kevin grew up in Montclair, New Jersey and currently resides in New York City, working in the investment department of a diversified holding company analyzing leveraged loan, CLO and distressed debt opportunities. Prior to this, Kevin worked as an analyst in a bulge bracket investment bank, as well as a hedge fund where he analyzed publicly traded equities and equity derivatives. A CFA charterholder, Kevin acts as a financial consultant to More Than Me, managing day-to-day accounting needs. In his free time, you'll find Kevin snacking on charcuterie, traveling, or drafting this season's fantasy sports team.
John grew up in a small Kansas town and earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in geography from Kansas State University. He then moved halfway around the world to teach English for the Peace Corps in Uzbekistan. He currently works as a contracts and operations specialist in the state policy department of a public charity in downtown Washington, DC and has held management positions at various DC-area nonprofit organizations. Having visited more than 40 countries, he continues to pursue his passion for travel whenever and wherever possible. He became involved with More Than Me through the Couchsurfing community and is most active with donation management.
Amy Carol Wolff has been involved with More Than Me since 2010. As the Development Advisor, she has the opportunity to serve the people who are excited about the vision of More Than Me and want to give their resources to propel our girls forward. She has a passion for the cause young women in the developing world and has spent much of her life devoted to bringing attention and funding to the needs that they have. Over the course of her career, Amy has worked for a number of non-profit organizations and for-profit companies including: Opportunity International, TOMS, Disaster Psychiatry Outreach, among others. Amy holds a Masters in Public Affairs in non-profit management from Indiana University and currently works for the world's largest direct response marketing agency for non-profits. Amy is excited to answer your questions about how to invest further in the future of our girls.
Grace is a sophomore Communication Management & Design major at Ithaca College in New York. Her interests include planning fundraising and promotional events for non-profits. On her free time she likes to kickbox, find artwork on Pintrest, and get more students to support More Than Me by telling them about her incredible experiences visiting Liberia in August 2012. Grace started More Than Me’s first college chapter, and works to help other campuses and college organizations get involved with supporting our cause. Grace's goal is share the touching stories and desperate needs of our girls with as many people as she can and to live out the More Than Me vision of "living for something bigger than yourself".
Ron is a Landscape Architect / Environmental Engineer turned entrepreneur. Back in 2010, after an extended stay in South America, he and a friend began a business called SOAR Nation. During his stay in SA, Ron lived and visited with indigenous families and communities embracing all the cultures outside of what he had been accustomed to. By further educating himself through books and immersion, Ron has found a passion in changing the ways in which we work together in this world. His business venture implements a giving back method by injecting philanthropy into online consumerism. After coming across More Than Me in search of partner organizations, Ron realized that the deeper ideology of the More Than Me team was to help people understand the idea of not living beyond your means and instead helping those who do not have a choice. Having similar ideologies, Ron has now joined the More Than Me team, utilizing what he has learned over the course of his life experiences and current business venture and implementing it into our strategy for growth and positive change.
After earning an undergraduate degree in human relations and sociology from High Point University, Jenn traveled for the first time to Africa to work with orphans in Kenya and Tanzania. This trip revealed her life's passion of working with underprivileged children, and despite geography, her heart has been in Africa ever since. Committing to her passion, Jenn earned her Masters in Social Work from the University of South Carolina. The following summer, she traveled to Liberia to work with More Than Me. While there, she spent her time in the slum of West Point, conducting home visits with the girls in the More Than Me program and their families. No matter where she is, thoughts of Africa never stray far from Jenn's mind as she strives to live a life reflective of the love the Lord has for us all. Aside from loving Africa and hanging out with kids, Jenn's interests include doing jigsaw puzzles and eating loads of ice cream. Oh yea, and she use to be a professional trivia host and bingo caller, but that's normal, isn't it?
Katie and her husband Skip lived happily in Far Hills, New Jersey, and have just relocated to sunny Jacksonville, Florida with their four children. Katie is the executive director of Casa di Francesca Home Fragrance and Décor, which she sells on the Home-Shopping Network. She is also the creative director at Multi Media Exposure. She recognizes how much she has been given and finds a sense of purpose in giving back both to the local community and to the girls that More Than Me helps in Liberia. Because Katie has two girls of her own, imagining small girls on the street selling goods instead of being in school hits close to home. She believes we are the same humanity and deserving of an equal chance at our dreams.
In addition to being a finance guru and social entrepreneur, Chid presides over Liberty & Justice, a company that develops local African factories and connects them with international retailers, producing fair-trade apparel and replacing a culture of sweatshops with a culture of sweat equity. Before co-founding Liberty & Justice Chid worked in finance and information systems for several high growth technology companies including Metavante Corporation (now Fidelity National Information Services), Mindjet, and Trilogy Integrated Resources. Chid also lectures extensively on social entrepreneurship and innovation, most recently at Stanford, IE Business School, Princeton, Tennessee State, and the University of Liberia where he serves as Entrepreneur in Residence at the Monrovia Business Startup Center. He is a member of TransFair USA's Fair Trade Certified Apparel Multistakeholder Group where he helps to guide Fair Trade Certified apparel policy for the United States. Chid was also awarded the Cordes Fellowship in 2010 and sits on the 2011 Cordes Fellowship Selection Committee. A native Liberian, Chid is on the Board of More Than Me, lending his expertise to the organization’s growth.
Saul's been an entrepreneur since 17, as is evidenced by his recognition as a Top 9 Young Foreign Policy Leader under 33, and is a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council. As an avid blogger for the Huffington Post and renowned speaker and International Speaker Specialist for the Bureau of International Information Programs at the Department of State, his work has been featured in Inc., Entrepreneur, and Fast Company. Saul founded a Nelson Mandela endorsed Student Movement for Real Change as well as ThinkImpact, a certified B Corporation based in Colorado with global offices across Africa. In addition to More Than Me, Saul serves on the Board of Directors for Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, University of the Pacific’s Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship, and iOnPoverty. A Truman Scholar, Saul graduated from Johns Hopkins University and John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). An avid runner, skier and Broncos fan, Saul lives in Denver with his wife Emily.
Born in Rome Italy to the illustrious Borghese family, Scipione (Skip) was educated in France and attended college in the U.S. After working in finance he joined his father’s cosmetics business which distributed some of beauty's best known fragrance and cosmetic brands. At 23, Skip presented Perlier on QVC. In 1996 he brought Perlier to HSN. He recently celebrated his 15th year on HSN and has built Perlier as one of the largest beauty lines sold on Live TV. Skip is president of Multi Media Exposure Inc, a marketing specialty company. He is married to Katherine Borghese (née Long) and they have four children. Skip is passionate about More Than Me because it provides a way to have a direct impact on some of the world’s most vulnerable children. Skip brings all his skills to the table in order to make the biggest difference he can for the girls including his shameless talent at doing the worm.
Despite her career as a corporate tax attorney, Erica has fortunately been able to find ways to utilize her degree and skills to help others. She has advised non-profits on US tax issues, represented a Guinean family in an immigration asylum case, and organized a trial advocacy training program in Liberia, West Africa. During her stint in Liberia, Erica was able to see firsthand what it means for education to be a luxury when she met a family who could not afford to send their child to school. Assisting the family with their educational expenses led Erica to seek additional opportunities to help Liberia's children. It was around this time that she met Katie Meyler who had already begun to sow the seeds for More Than Me.
Trevor has been living and working in Africa for the last five years, first in Nigeria and later moving to Liberia where he now lives with his wife and two children. He is a civil engineer by trade, working on major infrastructure projects in Monrovia for Royal HaskoningDHV. A keen environmentalist, Trevor has a real affinity for Africa and is committed to rebuilding the continent. Through engineering and development projects he aims to provide a better quality of life for people in the developing world. Trevor chairs the CSR Committee for a group of companies operating in the port area of Monrovia; Royal HaskoningDHV, APM Terminals Liberia, Bam International, Van Oord and SMIT. This group of companies have contributed immensly to the construction of the new More Than Me Academy. Trevor is now an Advisory Board Member for MTM, helping to secure the government lease and leading the building reconstruction.
Jose Alfaro is originally from San Jose, Costa Rica is currently working towards a PhD in Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan. Jose worked for 5 years as a Researcher for Mitsubishi Chemical in SC where he had global responsibilities for implementation of research projects. Jose's research tries to find ways to bring electricity to the bottom of the pyramid. He has served as the UM co-director for the USAID project, Excellence in Higher Education for Liberian Development (EHELD) and the UM Africa STEM committee. Working with More Than Me, Jose hopes to see lots of young engineers developing a sustainable Liberia!