In a world where 80 percent of girls will never finish primary school, Tammy Tibbetts has become a powerful advocate for women worldwide. Tapping into her passion for helping needy children, Tibbetts created “She’s the First” (STF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to accomplishing a simple yet remarkable mission: giving girls worldwide the chance to graduate from secondary school.
Since launching in 2009, STF has sponsored the educations of 250 female students in developing countries, providing a total of 500 years of schooling. As company president, Tibbetts wears a number of different hats, doing, as she says, “a little bit of everything,” including overseeing finances, managing relationships and corporate partnerships with major donors, and directing the overall strategy of the organization. She modeled her business plan on a system used by Donatemydress.org (a site she was once an editor for), turning STF into a charity directory where individuals can explore 10 reliable organizations and provide one-time or recurring donations to one of the girls sponsored through these companies. People can meet sponsored students from all over the world by reading their profiles, seeing pictures, and sending messages to them. Those who decide to sponsor a girl through STF are provided a financial breakdown explaining how each donated dollar aids in the education, health, clothing, or housing of the student. In addition, sponsors are often able to interact directly with the girl they sponsor by sending letters or small gifts to the child.
STF has spread like wildfire on college campuses and as of this fall has chapters at 50 schools. These chapters plan creative fundraising events and increase campus education, using funds to sponsor more students through STF. “Their small contributions add up to raise many, many, many thousands of dollars,” explains Tibbetts. “This can send hundreds of girls to school.” Tibbetts had high praise for TCNJ’s chapter, founded by Jamie Primeau ’13 and Amanda Parks ’14, commending it for its creative fundraising strategies. “They set goals and then they achieve them.”
Tibbetts, who is surely an inspiration to many because of the work she has done to aid girls across the globe, cites the students sponsored by her organization as her own inspiration. “We all look up to the scholars; they’ve overcome more in their lifetime than any of us could imagine.”