Ritu Sharma, Advocate, Author to Receive the 2016 UNFCU Foundation Women’s Empowerment Award

Reception to Spotlight the UN Sustainable Development Goals Ending Poverty

New York, NY :: 29 November 2016

Ritu Sharma in Burkina Faso

Ritu Sharma (center), 2016 UNFCU Foundation Women’s Empowerment Award Recipient, in Burkina Faso

The UNFCU Foundation today announced that Ritu Sharma, a leading voice for women’s empowerment and a builder of coalitions among international organizations to drive positive change, is the recipient of its 2016 Women’s Empowerment Award. Ms. Sharma will be recognized at the UNFCU Foundation’s reception on 1 December at the Waterfall Mansion and Gallery in New York.

“I am so deeply honored to receive the UNFCU Foundation’s Women’s Empowerment Award for doing what I love to do, which is partnering with grassroots women around the world to advance gender equality and prosperity for everyone—women and men,” said Ritu Sharma, who co-founded and served for 17 years as president of Women Thrive Worldwide, an advocacy organization in Washington, DC. “The future depends on women and men becoming allies in equality, and I’m delighted that the UNFCU Foundation shares this vision to end poverty and transform lives.”

Launched in 2015, the UNFCU Foundation’s mission is to sustain the path out of poverty through healthcare and education for women and children in developing countries and the United States. In 2016, grassroots programs funded by the UNFCU Foundation are providing 10,000 beneficiaries with access to critical healthcare, basic education and jobs training.

“Ritu’s ability to bring the voices of women and girls around the world to the highest levels of decision makers exemplified a powerful commitment to social good,” said Pamela Agnone, president and director of the UNFCU Foundation. “The selection was also based on Ritu’s dedication to taking action to resolve the plight of women’s socio-economic challenges and health-related concerns in the spirit of the Sustainable Development Goals.

In December 2015, the Foundation presented its Women’s Empowerment Award to the First Lady of the United Nations Madame Ban Soon-taek for her lifetime of service, and to Sheryl WuDunn, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and humanitarian.

Ms. Sharma, a first generation American of East Indian heritage who has served as a US delegate to the United Nations General Assembly, leads the Global Center for Gender and Youth (GCGY) at the International Youth Foundation in Baltimore, Maryland. She also trains groups worldwide in the art of advocacy and advises non-profit and private firms on programs for youth, women and girls. In 2012, her advocacy was instrumental in the creation of the White House Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally. Ms. Sharma holds a Masters of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and is the author of the widely acclaimed book Teach a Woman to Fish Overcoming Poverty Around the Globe (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), which is a firsthand account of inspirational stories of hope.

About UNFCU Foundation

UNFCU Foundation is a New York-based, non-profit corporation launched in 2015 by the United Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU). The Foundation is overseen by an independent board of directors who work with an advisory council comprised of volunteers with specialized expertise in a variety of disciplines to evaluate grant requests and project sponsorships. To learn more, visit www.unfcufoundation.org and follow UNFCU Foundation’s progress on Twitter at @UNFCUFoundation and on Facebook at facebook.com/unfcufoundation.

Elisabeth Philippe, UNFCU Foundation, ephilippe@unfcufoundation.org, Tel. +1 347‑686‑6776; Mobile +1 347‑510‑4036