Changing the World By Improving Life for the Needy
Abigail E. Disney is the cofounder and president of the Daphne Foundation, a project that seeks to elevate New York City's insolvent and needy by funding grants to improve intractable social problems. The program favors grassroots, community-based organizations, keeping in line with her progressive views for social change. Disney also seeks social impact through her endeavors as a filmmaker, producing informative, inspirational documentaries such as her debut Pray the Devil Back to Hell, a story of women in war-torn Liberia.
Changing the World By Feeding American Healthy Food
A groundbreaking chef and advocate for organic, seasonal ingredients, Alice Waters opened legendary restaurant Chez Panisse in 1971. To celebrate the eatery's 25 successful years in 1996, Waters created the Chez Panisse Foundation, whose school lunch program strives to instill in students the values and knowledge to create a "humane and sustainable future." Waters has written nine cookbooks and promotes local, artisanal food as vice president of nonprofit organization Slow Food International.
Changing the World By Bringing Attention to The Needs of Refugees
Acclaimed for her humanitarian efforts as well as her successful acting career, Angelina Jolie was sparked to awareness during her Tomb Raider travels to poverty-stricken Cambodia. She was inspired to use her fame to further the cause of refugees nationwide, taking it so personally as to adopt several children. She began her involvement with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, who named her a Goodwill Ambassador in 2001. Jolie founded the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation and dedicated it to eradicating rural poverty, conserving wildlife and protecting natural resources.
Changing the World By Reporting on the Stories People Need to Know About
NBC news anchor and Dateline reporter Ann Curry has traveled the world in pursuit of humanitarian reporting, seeking to expose—and change—undesirable working conditions and social situations across the globe. Curry ventured to Ground Zero daily to report on the 9/11 attacks; her other work includes war coverage in Baghdad and reports on the HIV epidemic in South Africa. In addition to her award-winning career—recognized by the NAACP and the Associated Press—Curry is also involved in charity work, particularly to promote breast cancer research.
Changing the World By Motivating the Homeless
The founder of nonprofit organization Back on My Feet, Anne Mahlum seeks to inspire the homeless to become self-sufficient by engaging them in a physical activity to boost confidence and self-worth. When she realized she was simply running past the needy on a daily basis, Mahlum instead took action and formed the running club, which also helps with job training, housing and more to get the motivated needy back on their feet.
Changing the World By Connecting You With Your Genetic History
Cofounder of genetic testing service 23andMe, Anne Wojcicki left her career in healthcare investing in order to create a program that would provide personalized DNA info in hopes of garnering a better understanding of DNA and improved drug research. Her creation, revolutionary website and biotech company 23andMe.com, aims to help clients explore their genomes, providing them with increased awareness of crucial health and ancestry information.
Changing the World By Supporting Families of Children with Special Needs
When her son was diagnosed with autism, the fastest-growing disorder in the U.S., lawyer, author and motivational speaker Areva Martin launched the Special Needs Network, geared toward the support of families with special needs children. Supporting Martin's belief that no child—especially those of color or from low-income families—should go unnoticed or without help, the program offers outreach and mentoring services, and seeks to educate the public about the cause.
Barbara Van Dahlen Romberg
Changing the World By Providing Mental Health Services to Our Veterans
Washington, DC, psychologist Barbara Van Dahlen founded nonprofit organization Give an Hour in September 2005 to meet the mental health needs of soldiers and families affected by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Under the belief that "the wounds of war are not always easy to see," the organization asks health professionals to donate one hour weekly of free services to military personnel and their families combating post-traumatic stress or depression, and addressing the needs of U.S. soldiers.
Changing the World By Finding Every Pet a Home
As the founder of Petfinder.com, Saul has helped millions of people adopt animals across the United States, Canada and Mexico. The website, the virtual home to more than 300,000 pets of all kinds, is a searchable database seeking to connect animals that need homes with loving caretakers, decreasing the need to euthanize adoptable pets. Saul founded the site with her husband in 1996 as a New Year's resolution to improve animal welfare.
Changing the World By Revitalizing the Urban Landscape
After a wildly successful acting and musical career, Bette Midler set her sights on a local goal: the improvement of her adopted hometown of NYC. Consequently, she founded the New York Restoration Project in 1995 in hopes of attaining a "cleaner, greener New York City." The organization revitalizes parks and gardens in all five boroughs, seeking to guarantee access to greenery for every resident while contributing to the city's sustainability.
Bev Kearney (51, Austin, TX)
Changing the World By Helping Young Women Pursue Their Dreams
As the celebrated head coach of the University of Texas Women's Track and Field team for 17 years, Bev Kearney was the first female African-American coach to win a Division I national title and was inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame. Determined to walk again after surviving a paralyzing caraccident, Kearney abandoned her wheelchair within a year. She subsequently started her own foundation, Pursuit of Dreams, dedicated to supporting young women in need.
Billie Jean King (66, New York City and Chicago)
Changing the World By Breaking Down Gender Barriers and Social Stigma
Not satisfied with her legendary tennis career alone, Billie Jean King has made an immense social impact with her efforts toward gender equality. In a tennis career that included a record 20 Wimbledon wins, King's perhaps most significant game was her 1973 triumph against Bobby Riggs in the "Battle of the Sexes." Her influence on the women's movement and women in sports is monumental and ongoing: She currently serves on the board of the Elton John AIDS Foundation as well as the Women's Sports Foundation, and she was recognized by President Obama in August with a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Dara Torres (42, Parkland, Florida)
Changing the World By Proving That Fitness Is About Conditioning, Not Age
With her perseverance and drive as an Olympic swimmer, Dara Torres has inspired women by proving that "age is just a number." She's been racing internationally since the age of 14—and at 42 shows no signs of slowing down yet. After taking a brief break from the sport, Torres was back in the lanes three weeks after her daughter's birth—and broke a world record at the 2006 Masters Nationals. The oldest American to have qualified for the Olympics and to compete in five games, she is also a published author and motivational speaker.
Denise Austin (52, Alexandria, VA)
Changing the World By Getting American Fit
For more than 25 years, fitness expert Denise Austin has been helping people lose weightthrough her self-created empire—as a fitness show host, author and spokeswoman. Austin walks the walk every day, championing proper nutrition and heart health by working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create a new food guidance system and serving as a member of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports since 2002.
Evelyn H. Lauder (Early 70s, New York City)
Changing the World By Raising Breast Health Awareness
As senior corporate vice president of the Estée Lauder Companies, Evelyn H. Lauder raises worldwide awareness about the importance of breast healthand early detection through her company's Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign. She co-created the Pink Ribbon with SELF magazine in 1992, and the Estée Lauder Companies' Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign has now distributed more than 100 million Pink Ribbons and informational brochures worldwide, along with raising millions for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), of which Lauder is founder and chair. An accomplished photographer, Lauder donates the proceeds of her work to BCRF, which has raised more than $260 million for research.
Gloria Allred (68, Los Angeles)
Changing the World By Protecting Women's Rights
Discrimination attorney and self-proclaimed "feminist lawyer" Gloria Allred has devoted herself to battling injustices and seizing new rights for women and minorities. Time magazine has hailed her as "one of the nation's most effective advocates of family rights and feminist causes"; her involvement in monumental cases includes those of O.J. Simpson, Scott Peterson and Michael Jackson. The civil rights champion, who received a President's Volunteer Action Award from Ronald Reagan in 1986, inspires women to take action, if only on a local level: "I truly believe that the power that resides within me resides within everyone."
Gretchen Holt Witt (42, Califon, NJ)
Changing the World By Creating the World's Largest Fundraising Bake Sale
After her son Liam was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, Gretchen Holt Witt decided to devote her life to fighting pediatric cancer. In efforts to save their son, Holt and her husband envisioned an impressive bake sale, with a goal of baking 96,000 fundraising cookies. With the help of some 250 volunteers, Holt Witt succeeded, raising more than $400,000 toward pediatric cancer research—and continued the program nationally, as Cookies for Kids' Cancer, to help fund research for pediatric cancer and increase survival rates.
Hillary Clinton (62, New York City)
Changing the World By Making Sure Women Are Heard
As the first woman to run for the U.S. presidency, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leads by example, having tirelessly worked in public service for nearly 40 years. Clinton has served as a senator, First Lady, attorney, and an advocate for healthcare reform and women's issues. She continuously strives to achieve what she once famously affirmed: "Human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights."
Jessica Jackley (32, Los Angeles)
Changing the World By Giving People the Opportunity to Support Themselves
Cofounder of Kiva, an organization that seeks to link loaners with low-income entrepreneurs, Jessica Jackley gained her appreciation for microfinance while working in rural Africa with Village Enterprise Fund. She has witnessed and been involved in microfinance at work in communities of more than 30 countries—and has become an active advocate of social entrepreneurship, serving on numerous nonprofit boards including Opportunity International. Since its launch in October 2005, Kiva has linked worthy entrepreneurs with millions of dollars for public benefit.
Joan Hornig (54, New York City)
Changing the World By Making a Truly Nonprofit Business
Jewelry designer Joan Hornig wanted her creations to do more than appeal to the eye; she was looking for a philanthropic purpose. So she created the Joan B. Hornig Foundation in 2003, which donates 100 percent of the profits from her jewelry to charity. Furthermore, it allows customers—who include Katherine Heigl, Oprah Winfrey and Megan Fox—to direct the profits to their choice of nonprofit organization, including the American Cancer Society, Doctors Without Borders, Citymeals-on-Wheels and hundreds more.
Joyce M. Roche (62, New York City)
Changing the World By Empowering All Girls Everywhere
Committed to the empowerment of girls and the pursuit of an ethical society, Joyce M. Roché established herself as a successful businesswoman before becoming president and chief executive officer of Girls Incorporated. Featured on the cover of Fortune magazine and recognized with numerous awards for her business achievements, Roché serves as an inspiration in promoting the views of the program, which seeks to educate and inspire "all girls to be strong, smart and bold."
Karen Murray (52, New York City)
Changing the World By Raising Awareness of Marfan Syndrome
As secretary (and previous vice president) of the National Marfan Foundation, Karen Murray has worked tirelessly to ensure an improved quality of life for children diagnosed with the syndrome and family members affected. Murray took a personal interest in the cause when she discovered that her son Michael suffered from the syndrome, a connective-tissue disorder affecting 1 in 5,000 people. Founded in 1981, the nonprofit volunteer-based organization provides support services and educational information, and seeks to increase research on the disorder.
Katherine Chon (29, Washington, D.C.)
Changing the World By Wiping Out Human Trafficking
Although slavery is widely considered a thing of the past, its prominence is still shocking—it's currently the second-largest and fastest-growing criminal industry worldwide. Devoted to eradicating modern-day slavery and human trafficking, Katherine Chon founded the Polaris Project while a senior at Brown University in 2002. In addition to operating the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline, the project provides shelter and services for survivors, trains law enforcement and other aides, and advocates for better laws to end modern slavery.
Katie Couric (52, New York City)
Changing the World By Raising Awareness of Colon Cancer
Television journalist, published author and Today show stalwart Katie Couric has a respected journalism career and has also been active in in the public sector. After her husband died of colon cancer, Couric became a prominent spokeswoman for the disease, even venturing to have an on-air colonoscopy in order to raise awareness. In 2006 she became the first woman to anchor the evening news solo—and was later given the Edward R. Murrow Award for her newscast. She is currently a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador representing the United States.
Laurie David (51, Los Angeles)
Changing the World By Saving Our Resources
In her efforts to curb global warming, Laurie David founded the Stop Global Warming Virtual March with Senator John McCain and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., an organization that now boasts nearly 1.5 million supporters. She also won the Green Earth Book Award for cowriting The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming and, with former vice president Al Gore, was a producer of An Inconvenient Truth. She is a trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council and is resolute in her determination to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and to create change as a community.
Lee Woodruff (49, Westchester, NY)
Changing the World By Helping Veterans Recovering From Injuries
Writer, contributing editor to FamilyFun magazine and contributor to ABC's Good Morning America, Lee Woodruff seeks to increase awareness of the plight of wounded war veterans. After her husband, news anchor Bob Woodruff, was injured in Iraq, the two cowrote a bestselling book, In an Instant, about coping with brain injuries sustained in the Iraq War and a family trying to heal. Together, they formed the Bob Woodruff Foundation to help returning members of the military heal and readapt to life back home.
Linda Basch (New York City)
Changing the World By Making Sure All Rights Are Women's Rights
The president of the National Council for Research on Women since 1996, Linda Basch has successfully expanded the program to include a network of 110 advocacy, policy and research centers devoted to women. She has given voice to her efforts toward education, women's rights and leadership, and diversity in academia and society, through her books and writing—published by The New York Times, the Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal—and currently works with Ms. magazine. She has been recognized with the Women's Rights Prize from the Gruber Foundation.
Majora Carter (43, Bronx, NY)
Changing the World By Creating Green-Collar Jobs in Urban Communities
Hailing from the South Bronx, environmental justice advocate and MacArthur "genius" Majora Carter founded the Sustainable South Bronx project in 2001. The organization pioneered green-collar training and placement services to improve the quality of life in environmentally challenged communities with the slogan "Green the Ghetto." She has raised awareness for the cause as a cohost of Sundance's The Green and the public radio series The Promised Land. She also owns her own consulting company, The Majora Carter Group.
Changing the World By Making Social Responsibility Everyone's Responsibility
After a career in public relations and the entertainment industry, Malaak Compton-Rock found her true calling as a philanthropist through her involvement with the United Nation's Children's Fund. The wife of comedian Chris Rock managed to bring UNICEF into the limelight by soliciting celebrity involvement and support from figures like Laurence Fishburne, Sarah Jessica Parker and Téa Leoni. In 2008, Compton-Rock founded the Angelrock Project, an online network promoting volunteerism, sustainable change and social responsibility, and later founded Journey for Change: Empowering Youth Through Global Service.
Margaret Diaz (60, Victorville, CA)
Changing the World By Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence
After suffering 16 years of domestic violence, Margaret Diaz summoned the courage to escape the abuse, despite the fact that it meant leaving her home, family and life behind. She became involved as the executive director of domestic violence awareness organization A Better Way, which expanded from a 24-hour hotline to a 26-bed shelter to serve women in need and their children. The organization takes care of the immediate needs of 1,500 clients annually—but perhaps more important, it equips them with the skills to make the transition to healthy and happy lives.
Maria Cuomo Cole (48, Purchase, NY)
Changing the World By Creating Homes for the Homeless
Wife of designer Kenneth Cole and chairman of HELP USA since 1992, Maria Cuomo Cole is a leading advocate for the homeless, the abused and at-risk youth. The organization, created in 1987, provides housing and support services for the homeless, aiming to build some 200 new housing units annually. In addition to her involvement with HELP USA, Cuomo Cole has also produced public service announcements and short films to raise awareness of homelessness and domestic and gun violence, in hopes of spurring policy development.
Maria Shriver (54, Southern California)
Changing the World By Standing Up for Those Who Need it The Most
An award-winning journalist, author and producer, Maria Shriver has embraced her role as the first lady of California, promoting service and activism, and acting as an advocate for women, the intellectually disabled, the working poor, and Alzheimer's patients and families. She has created a set of programs under the WE banner to motivate people to get involved, and has founded the largest statewide volunteer network at CaliforniaVolunteers.org, proving that "WE can do together when WE come together." Using her position as a platform for social change, Shriver has also strengthened the California Governor and First Lady's Conference on Women, attracting more than 14,000 yearly attendees with speakers like Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright.
Marian Wright Edelman (70, Washington, D.C.)
Changing the World By Protecting All Children
After graduating from Yale Law School, Marian Wright Edelman became the first black female member of the Mississippi Bar. She worked with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund offices before moving to Washington, DC, where she became involved with Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Poor People's Campaign. Her efforts as an advocate for disadvantaged children have been recognized with prestigious awards, including the MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She is currently the president of the Children's Defense Fund.
Marie C. Wilson (69, New York City)
Changing the World By Shrinking the Gender Gap
Marie C. Wilson has been an active proponent of women's leadership for more than 30 years. Cocreator of Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day and author of Closing the Leadership Gap, Wilson is the president and founder of the White House Project, an organization dedicated to achieving true democracy and encouraging women's leadership. She's set quite an example herself, serving as the first female elected to the Des Moines City Council, a government representative at the United Nations World Conference on Women, and today, as a motivational speaker.
Martha Stewart (68, Bedford, NY)
Changing the World By Beautifying Our Lives
Beloved for her efforts to promote gracious living, Stewart actually garnered her business know-how as a stockbroker on Wall Street. From her catering company to Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Stewart's empire encourages women to embrace beauty in their homes and lives, with successful branches including a magazine, TV show, bestselling books, and a variety of kitchen and home products. According to her Twitter page, Stewart is a self-described "curious, inquisitive, experimental entrepreneur who cares about the world we live in"—and is sharing her sense of beauty, one household at a time.
Melinda Gates (45, Seattle)
Changing the World By Curbing Poverty, Hunger and Illness Around the Globe
After reading an article on children across the world dying from diseases long eradicated in the United States, Melinda Gates and her husband, Bill, decided they had to do something. Together, they founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000, under the belief that every life has equal value. The foundation's purpose is threefold: to curb poverty and hunger with a Global Development program; to treat those in need with a Global Health campaign; and to provide opportunities to the less fortunate with a United States initiative.
Michelle Obama (45, Washington, D.C.)
Changing the World By Inspiring All of Us
Though she describes herself first and foremost as a mom, Michelle Obama has worked wonders as the nation's first lady, due to her personal involvement in President Barack Obama's campaign. Commended for her community service efforts, Obama has strongly and actively supported military families, the organic food movement, education initiatives, volunteerism and more, while doing her best to balance work and family.
Michelle Rhee (40, Washington, D.C.)
Changing the World By Improving Our Inner City Schools
Chancellor Michelle Rhee is committed to excellence in the realm of education, devoting her career to the belief that outstanding teachers inspire students to excel. After starting as a Teach for America leader in 1992, Rhee founded the New Teacher Project in 1997 to ease the selection and training process for teacher recruitment; the program placed 23,000 teachers across the U.S. Her devotion to education led to her role as leader of the District of Columbia public school system, which serves some 47,000 students.
Moireen Ruotsala (24, Ironwood, MI)
Changing the World By Supporting Families Dealing with Children's Cancer
After her son Cole died of cancer in September 2008, Moireen Ruotsala created C.O.L.E.'s Foundation in his honor. The organization is devoted to "Caring Openly, Loving Eternally" by raising awareness of children with cancer, promoting support and outreach for suffering families, and advocating for research to find a cure. Her son's legacy helps provide comfort to families, allowing them to post their stories and receive support, strength and hope in return.
Nancy Brinker (62, Washington, D.C., and West Palm Beach, FL)
Changing the World By Wiping Out Breast Cancer
Touched by her sister Susan's strength in her battle with breast cancer, Nancy Brinker founded Susan G. Komen for the Cure, today's recognized leader of the breast cancer movement and the largest grassroots network, involving both survivors and activists. The foundation has dedicated nearly $1.5 billion to breast cancer research since its creation in 1982. Brinker was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in August and is currently writing an inspirational memoir.
Nanette Wenger, M.D. (79, Atlanta)
Changing the World By Promoting Awareness of Heart Disease in Women
Hailed as one of the best doctors in America, Nanette Wenger has worked in medicine for more than 50 years, devoting her career to focusing on heart disease in women and the elderly, and on cardiac rehabilitation. A past VP of the American Heart Association, she has been awarded the Distinguished Achievement Award, the Women in Cardiology Mentoring Award and their highest honor, the Gold Heart Award. Wenger is currently a professor of medicine at Emory University and the chief of cardiology at Grady Memorial Hospital.
Oprah Winfrey (50, Chicago)
Changing the World By Helping You Find Your Spirit
Media personality Oprah Winfrey has become an American household name for her years at The Oprah Winfrey Show, a universally inspiring series broadcast in 145 countries worldwide. Winfrey also advocates social change through numerous philanthropic endeavors benefiting the education and empowerment of women and children, but perhaps her most renowned project is the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, which provides educational opportunities for disadvantaged girls. And Winfrey's interest is personal: Despite her busy schedule as a media leader, she's taken time to visit orphanages and rural schools in Africa.
Perri Klass (51, New York City)
Changing the World By Teaching Our Children to Read
Pediatrician, journalism professor and author Perri Klass is the medical director of Reach Out and Read, a literary initiative promoting reading to young children with the aid of doctors and nurses. An alarming 35 percent of children in the U.S. start kindergarten without the necessary language skills to tackle reading. The organization seeks to encourage early literacy and to prepare children for school by making literacy promotion a standard factor of pediatric primary care.
Phyllis Greenberger (66, Washington, D.C.)
Changing the World By Improving the Health of Women
Phyllis Greenberger is a tremendous advocate for the improvement of women's lives through medical research. As president and CEO of Washington, DC's Society for Women's Health Research, Greenberger has emphasized the importance of biological sex differences in researching the general improvement of human health. Named as one of the 20 most influential women in medicine today by the The Medical Herald, Greenberger has been quoted by prominent news sources and has testified before Congress in tireless efforts to increase funding for women's health.
Sorrel King (44, Baltimore, MD)
Changing the World By Preventing Life-Threatening Medical Errors
Through her inner strength, Sorrel King transformed tragedy into a positive social change. In February 2001, her daughter, Josie King, died as a result of medical errors, prompting King to channel her energy into creating the Josie King Foundation, which works to make hospitals safer and to prevent future accidents. Not only does the program raise awareness of medical errors, it also softens the impact by motivating hospital staff to understand the need for honesty in treating families.
Suze Orman (58, South Florida)
Changing the World By Getting Every Woman Financially Fit
Dubbed a "one-woman financial advice powerhouse" by USA Today, Suze Orman is a personal finance expert dedicated to the financial empowerment of women. Though at 30 Orman was employed as a waitress, making a paltry $400 a month, she's since proved herself as a self-made magnate, extending her empire beyond The Suze Orman Show and her New York Times bestselling books; she's also a motivational speaker and contributing editor to O magazine. She's won a record of six Gracie Awards and was recognized with the National Equality Award from the Human Rights Campaign in 2008.
Terrie Williams (55, New York City)
Changing the World By Helping the African American Community Cope with Depression
A clinical social worker turned public relations company president, Terrie Williams seeks to "save the world" through philanthropic advances. Taking a strong interest in African-American youth, Williams established the Stay Strong Foundation in conjunction with writing Stay Strong: Simple Life Lessons for Teens, a book and practical guide for today's young adults. She also wrote Black Pain, a dialogue on the mental health of African-Americans, and has since emerged as a prominent advocate for increasing awareness of depression.
Wendy Kopp (42, New York City)
Changing the World By Making Sure Every Class Has a Good Teacher
Chief executive officer and founder of Teach For America, Wendy Kopp has devoted the last 20 years to expanding educational opportunity both in the U.S. and worldwide (as the chief executive of Teach For All, an international initiative). Kopp envisioned the organization as a 21-year-old college student and started the program as a grass-roots recruitment campaign, one which today serves nearly half a million students annually.
Willa Shalit (54, New York City)
Changing the World By Giving Women Artisans a Way to Make A Living
After her involvement teaching female survivors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide how to create their own income, Willa Shalit took her project to a larger scale and founded Fair Winds Trading in December 2006. The organization works primarily within Rwanda, Tanzania and the United States, and fights poverty by linking female artisans with a global marketplace (good are sold stateside through Macy's and Oprah's O magazine), thus creating opportunities for women to earn sustainable incomes and support their families.
Wynona Ward (58, Vershire, VT)
Changing the World By Giving Victims of Domestic Violence a Safe Way Out
As a survivor of childhood domestic abuse, Wynona Ward has sought to eradicate the cycle of abuse toward women and children by establishing Have Justice Will Travel, a mobile organization geared at helping battered women become self-reliant. Through her legal background, Ward has devoted her life to teaching women and children how to rise above their circumstances and has been recognized with Lifetime Television's Achievement Award for her efforts toward social change.