We must prepare the next generation of informed global citizens who address global challenges. I believe that the key to creating this change is education.
In 2006, the children in the remote Guatemalan coffee villages captured my spirit. I was there on business at the time, scoping a trip for the Stanford Graduate School of Business. During that trip, I visited a fair trade coffee farm. The moment that left the greatest impression on me during that entire visit was the image of a young, school-aged girl carrying pound after pound of coffee on her back. It wasn’t so much that I was impressed by her strength, which I was, but I was shocked that she was out of school. Why was she – or further, her parents – having to make a choice of having her help harvest coffee beans rather than learning in the classroom? It was only years later while earning my master’s degree at Stanford University that I began to understand the trade-off she faced.
I was inspired to create a healthier future but I knew that I could not achieve that alone. Through my studies, I began to grasp the immense opportunity we have to empower U.S. youth to be catalysts for global philanthropic change today. With their combined efforts, similar to that of popular venture philanthropy models, they could – combined – achieve greater impact in positively affecting international education.
The U.S. philanthropic sector is growing and will require informed, engaged philanthropists in the century ahead. In addition, we are living in an increasingly interconnected world. Be it in business or the social sector, we must prepare the next generation of informed global citizens who address global challenges. I believe that the key to creating this change is education – education for U.S. teens that is focused on philanthropy and the broader challenges faced in resource poor areas around the world and education for youth in such resource poor, often remote areas – areas that lack basic clean water, systems, structures, and materials to support necessary primary and secondary education. I envision a world where U.S. youth are open to balancing personal realities with those outside their own culture and are educated to be active global citizens aiming to reduce the cycle of poverty worldwide.
Eighteen months ago, I took the leap, harnessed a lofty dream, and launched Allowance for Good. My goal with the organization was to fill two specific needs: 1) to create a web-based learning and giving platform for youth to encourage their global philanthropy and 2) to address pressing challenges in international education with solutions that aim to reduce the cycle of poverty.
This is my dream. But I cannot achieve it alone. At Allowance for Good, we have created an opportunity for youth to connect with the reality that they can be a part of the solution. Rather than dwelling on images of fear for our future, we focus on hope. Rather than emphasizing the insurmountable tasks of providing proper education, clean water, and medicine for all youth everywhere, we offer the chance to be a part of the solution. It is our collective task to re-imagine our world. We are inviting teens around the U.S. to be change-makers today. I hope you’ll join us, too.
Elizabeth Newton is Founder and Executive Director of Allowance for Good. She holds a master's degree in International Comparative Education from Stanford University and a bachelor's degree in Spanish and Business Studies from Butler University.
Prior to attending graduate school, Elizabeth worked in various capacities with the Center for Global Business and the Economy and the Center for Social Innovation at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Her work endeavors, especially those internationally, led her to value the importance of understanding the local context, creating respectful relationships that honor cultures, values, and communities, and pursuing activities that make a significant, positive impact in the world. Elizabeth has also worked with Net Impact as an AmeriCorps VISTA and the Institute for International Education, and she previously volunteered with Global Glimpse.
Elizabeth is a member of YNPN Chicago, the Rotary Club of Evanston Lighthouse, and YAO. She served on the Alumni Board of Directors at Butler University from 2007-2011.
When not re-imagining ways for youth to be actively engaged in global philanthropy, Elizabeth enjoys running, cross-country skiing, cooking, hiking, and escaping to the shores of Lake Michigan with her husband.