Rachael Chong, 31; CEO and founder, Catchafire
As a successful investment banker, Rachael Chong was dissatisfied with her opportunities for giving back in a meaningful way. She soon swapped the corporate world for the nonprofit one, founding Catchafire, an organization which helps professionals volunteer pro bono services to nonprofits without quitting their day jobs.
Rhoden Monrose, 27; Founder, CariCorps
With an extensive banking background, Rhoden Monrose left his position at Citigroup to make the finance industry more socially responsible. He founded CariCorps under the belief that business professionals could both do well and do good. Through CariCorps, Monrose teaches millennials how to have socially responsible finance careers. Millennial members are provided with free technical and professional skills and motivated to be involved in charity and community service while working on Wall Street.
Ben Keesey, 30; Executive Director and CEO, Invisible Children
With a degree in applied mathematics, management & accounting and previous employment at finance bigwigs such as Deloitte and Touche LLP and JP Morgan & Associates, Ben Keesey was on the corporate track. But a trip to Africa changed his course — Keesey now champions the cause of those affected by the atrocities of Joseph Kony and the LRA conflict through the nonprofit Invisible Children.
Jessica Matthews, 25; CEO and founder, Uncharted Play
With a degree in economics from Harvard already under her belt and an M.B.A. in progress, Jessica Matthews seems primed for Wall Street. However, she’s used her business expertise to found Uncharted Play, a social enterprise that uses technology and playful activities to help solve real-world issues. One example is SOCCKET, a soccer ball that converts light into energy while you play. The sales from SOCCKET help provide children in need with reliable energy access.
Patrick Dowd, 26; founder and CEO, Millennial Trains Project
Patrick Dowd was an investment banking analyst for J.P. Morgan when Occupy Wall Street broke out. He remembered the positive model for youth mobilization and protest he had experienced while helping with the Jagriti Yatra train journey as a Fulbright scholar in India. Dowd eventually quit his job and pioneered the Millennial Trains Project, a nonprofit which takes millennials on crowd-funded train trips across the country. While aboard, youths participate in seminars and workshops and explore America’s social opportunities and challenges.
Alejandro Gac-Artigas, 25; Founder, Springboard Collaborative
Formerly employed by McKinsey & Company, Alejandro Gac-Artigas leapt into education with the 2011 launch of Springboard Collaborative. The Philadelphia-based organization has helped narrow the literacy gap for 642 children by providing teachers and parents with skills to incentivize learning and reading over the summer break. Gac-Artigas was motivated to found the startup because he was frustrated by the “summertime reading losses in elementary school that account for two-thirds of the achievement gap in high school.”
Krishna Ramkumar, 28; Co-founder, Avanti
Krishna Ramkumar was a senior associate with the Boston Consulting Group before founding Avanti, a collection of learning centers in four Indian cities. Avanti mentors students from low-income high schools in science and math. Last year, 6,000 students applied for the program’s 150 available spots. The India-based organization makes college a more accessible dream for students from economically disadvantaged schools.
Tinia Pina, 30; CEO and founder, Re-Nuble, Inc.
For five years Tinia Pina worked a variety of positions in the finance sector, including as a consultant, analyst, and investments accountant, before founding Re-Nuble, Inc. As a sustainable startup, Re-Nuble, Inc. takes excess food from restaurants and recycles it, using the organic nutrients to create renewable energy and organic fertilizer. Pina has expanded the organization, bringing plant-based nutrients to consumers who seek more accessible and less expensive sustainable food.