Passion | Persistence | Perseverance | Partners
“When you get, give. When you learn, teach.”
– Maya Angelou
This quote best summarizes what Shreya Mantha learned from her family and this was her first spark for helping at-risk and vulnerable girls and youth in their journey from dependence to independence.
The idea of Foundation for Girls began in early 2012.
Our parents are our inspiration, and their focus on giving us a strong foundation is where the name “Foundation for Girls” originated. At an early age, our parents encouraged us to expand our horizons by actively engaging in our broader community beyond our school, family, and friends, and emphasized the importance of character and core values in realizing our fullest potential. In late 2014, our paternal grandmother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Her last wish was that we help vulnerable girls, including those in India. We promised to fulfill that wish and it gave us something to do to keep her memory alive. At that point, we decided to expand our work, and in December 2014, we became a 501(c)(3).
It took us a while to decide how we wanted to proceed and where we wanted to focus first. It was important to us to ensure that we could be hands on with the work of our foundation while we are still in school. Moreover, while there are many girls in developing countries that need help, we recognize that impact happens at the local level, and chose to focus first on making a difference in our Charlotte community, with the goal of expanding globally over time. We started in a very small way, working with a local non-profit partner and the girls that lived in their shelter and safe home. This experience was pivotal to helping us understand the needs of at-risk girls and those who have no families or the scaffolding for success. Over time, we learned that while there are issues that are unique to vulnerable girls, many of the barriers to economic mobility for at-risk youth do not discriminate on the basis of gender. Recognizing the importance to taking a holistic and inclusive approach to our work, in 2017 we chose to expand our programming to focus on all at-risk youth within our community.
The Foundation for Girls is an organization built to provide at-risk youth with the tools our parents gave us: unending support, opportunities to learn, and nurturing of our innate talents. Through our diverse programming, we help these youth realize their real potential, find their passion, and become strong, confident, and self-reliant.
As we continue our learning and leadership journey, this will be our parallel path.
Looking forward to your partnership and support!
Shreya Mantha - Founder and CEO
Grade 11, Providence Day School
Sahana Mantha - CTO and Chief Fun Office
Grade 6, Providence Day School