Jenni Luke

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Location: New York, NY
Founded: 1998
Industry: Nonprofit

Jenni Luke
CEO

Step Up

“Step Up believes all girls should have the opportunity to fulfill their potential,” says CEO Jenni Luke. The nonprofit reaches girls from underserved communities through after-school and weekend mentorship programs that give them access to professional female mentors. Step Up’s ultimate goal is to help these young girls become confident, college-bound and career-focused, so they can join the next generation of inspiring, professional women.

Fun Fact: Luke just concluded her term on the advisory board for the National Conference on Girls’ Education.

Step Up reports that many young females do not complete high school, and as a result, they stand to lose nearly $1 million in lifetime earnings. That’s why the nonprofit focuses on reaching girls early, and providing them with different sources of support, information and mentorship. Through the organization’s work, “Step Up girls” are more likely to stay in school and make better decisions.

Two years ago, Step Up launched a new campaign called Membership Matters to celebrate the impact of its members and annual donors. The campaign now runs annually in November, and has grown to raise more than $75,000 in just one month. The event creates new buzz about the program and encourages more mentors to start helping. Later this year, Step Up plans to expand into its fourth city, Dallas. By 2020, Luke hopes to have helped reach 15,000 girls.