October 7, 2021

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Meet Maria Choi, Founder & CEO, Raise for Good

Before Maria Choi became the Founder & CEO of Raise for Good, she worked at major organizations on strategy, fundraising and marketing. Learn more about her and her inspiring work in our newest feature.

For those who don’t know you, tell us a little about your background.

I am passionate about how technology, philanthropy, and social good can come together to solve our world’s most critical issues. As a second-generation Korean-American, I have spent 20 years developing education and economic opportunities for women and people of color. My goal is to create strategic opportunities that allow these individuals and communities to thrive in a global economy. As a low income kid, I had to navigate my own education and career pathways, and spent the first half of my career understanding what supports youth need to succeed, while working at organizations like UNICEF, Sesame Workshop, and Code.org on strategy, fundraising, and marketing. I’ve also always been fascinated by the intersection of business and purpose, with experience working in corporate social impact and building hundreds of partnerships and strategies with companies and funders to create different models for impact.

I am currently the CEO and Founder of Raise for Good, an incredible collective of social impact strategists focused on accelerating social change at the intersection of business, philanthropy, and impact. We believe in changing power dynamics in philanthropy, and helping nonprofit leaders build sustainable organizations to increase access to education, workforce, and economic potential of women and people of color.

What are you most looking forward to about reviewing Anthem Awards entries?

I am most looking forward to learning about the visions and models of impact of the nominees. We need bold, big solutions from a diverse range of leaders, with lived experience, that challenge the status quo. We need to uncover and elevate the stories, visions, and solutions of women and communities of color. I am also interested in learning more about organizations working at the intersection of tech and social impact – both hyper locally to globally.

What does it take for a project or campaign to cause real-world change?

In order for a project or campaign to cause real-world change, one essential ingredient is the ability to connect. Ensuring you have the right, unique, and clear message and understand how to connect with stakeholders, audiences or individuals is critical to creating communities and campaigns that make a lasting impact.

How does your work at Raise for Good support your mission?

At Raise for Good, we use a cross-sector approach to develop and execute impact strategies that break down barriers, create bridges and drive growth across the philanthropy, corporate and nonprofit sectors. We’re delivering strategies that are changing power dynamics in philanthropy, empower proximate leaders, and partner with funders that invest in women and leaders of color to build more sustainable solutions and models for impact. We do this by partnering with nonprofits to accelerate growth organizationally through inspiring storytelling, sustainable funding strategies, and empowered leadership, and we collaborate with funders who bring this capacity building and technical support to their portfolios of grantees. We also work with early to growth stage tech companies and for-profits building new social impact models, social enterprises, and igniting new philanthropy dollars. We’re in the business of channeling as much of this capital to women and leaders of color. The best part of our job is connecting and matchmaking funders to visionary nonprofit leaders! We are a female and POC founded and led team, bringing our lived and cross sector experience to help our clients achieve growth and build a pathway for sustainability and transformational impact. I want to walk the walk with our work at Raise for Good, and show other women and people of color you can build a bootstrapped, profitable and high impact company that serves other women and communities of color.

Bonus: What’s your favorite purpose-driven project or mission-driven campaign right now, and Why?

I am so inspired by the audacious and critical vision of Gabrielle Wyatt who leads The Highland Project, a nonprofit organization with a vision to create generational wealth among black women. The Highland Project is building and sustaining a pipeline of Black women leading education, communities, institutions, and systems, resulting in the creation of multi-generational wealth and change in the communities where they live and serve. The United States economy could be $8 trillion larger by 2050 if the country eliminated racial disparities in health, education, incarceration and employment (W.K. Kellogg Foundation). America needs bold, cross-sector solutions to rebuild. Racial wealth gaps are widening as a result of 400 years of slavery, segregation, and institutionalized discrimination and these gaps have intensified against the backdrop of COVID-19. The Highland Project recently released research to be used to rally policymakers, politicians, and practitioners around a set of solutions and priorities that will result in multi-generational opportunity with Black women at the core.