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Congratulations to Our 2012 Eli J. Segal Entrepreneurship Award Winners!

May 9, 2012

Eli Segal is often remembered as the “father of AmeriCorps.” As an aide to President Clinton, he served as the first CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service and under his leadership AmeriCorps was created.  To honor Segal’s legacy of service, AmeriCorps Alums annually gives out the Eli J. Segal Entrepreneurship Award to recognize the achievement and potential of an outstanding alum whose work, after completing his or her service in AmeriCorps, demonstrates entrepreneurial vision and leadership to make this a better world.

This year, we are giving out the award to two Alums who embody the essence of citizen service that Eli Segal proudly represented. The Eli J. Segal Entrepreneurship Award is the highest and most prestigious honor awarded by AmeriCorps Alums and we are very proud of our two winners. This year’s pool of applicants represented Alums from across the globe having served in diverse AmeriCorps programs and all having continued to live out their lifetime commitment to service. Through much deliberation, we have selected two winners who truly embody the spirit of service that Eli Segal represented.

We are proud to announce the 2012 Eli J. Segal Entrepreneurship Award recipients are:

Anita Yip and Ryan Sarafolean

“Both Anita and Ryan stand out as great representatives of AmeriCorps Alums and the commitment to a lifetime of service that is shared by all alumni of AmeriCorps,” said Ben Duda, executive director of AmeriCorps Alums. “Anita embodies the inspirational cycle of service as she grew up being mentored by an AmeriCorps member. Ryan is a proven social entrepreneur and emerging voice in the global social justice field.”

About Anita

At 26, Anita Yip is the Assistant Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at her alma mater Wellesley College. For the past two years, she served at Big Sister Association of Greater Boston and Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston as part of the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship (AmeriCorps). Anita holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Media Arts and Sciences from Wellesley College and a master’s degree in Corporate and Organizational Communication from Northeastern University.

In 2011, Anita co-founded the Jasmine Asian Women Giving Circle with six women in response to foundations giving less than 1% of philanthropic dollars to organizations and programs assisting Asian women, a desire to build a safe and supportive community among Asian women, and the need to collaborate to create lasting change. Her extensive community work includes helping to raise more than $100,000 in financial and in-kind donations for eight organizations since 2007.

Anita currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Friday Night Supper Program, a Boston Cares project leader, a Presidential Service Award recipient, and on the Advisory Board Fundraising Committee of the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship.

About Ryan

Ryan Sarafolean is a community organizer, educator, and proud graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he studied issues of privilege, power, and identity in and outside of the classroom.  For four years he worked at an after school program that served the at-risk and homeless community in Madison and implemented a structured, educational program focused around youth empowerment.  Upon graduation, Ryan became an Americorps Promise Fellow with Project SUCCESS, a nonprofit organization in Minneapolis.  There, Ryan worked as the Civic Engagement Coordinator, working with middle school and high school youth to address local issues including gun violence.

Ryan now serves as the Founder and Executive Director of the KGSA Foundation, a nonprofit organization that reduces poverty and gender inequalities in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya.  KGSA Foundation works closely with local leaders in Kibera to provide free secondary education, artistic programming, and athletic opportunities to over 130 young women each year. The core of the Foundation’s work is to build and harness the unique strength of women to lead their communities out of poverty.

In fall 2012, Ryan will begin a graduate program in International Development at American University in Washington, D.C., where he will focus on Gender Studies and Community Development.

Both of the award winners gain lifetime membership into the illustrious Eli J. Segal Citizen Leadership Program, will be recognized at this year’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, and will receive a cash prize of $5,000 to be used to continue their citizen leadership efforts and/or community initiative.

We are proud of our winners and know that they will represent AmeriCorps Alums well in the next year. What do you think of our two winners and their inspiring stories?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 9, 2012 10:16 am

    Congratulations to Ryan, Anita and the AmeriCorps Alums team for all you do to promote service, justice and positive social change. I am privileged to call myself an alum and am proud of all the amazing people and initiatives that are connected to national service. Keep up the good fight y’all and remember – we are the ones who are betting on the world changing. And we’re going to win.

  2. May 9, 2012 2:58 pm

    Very encouraging words Whitney. Thanks for modeling being a great and passionate Alum!


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