Women of Worth: Recognizing Those Who Make a Beautiful Difference in Their Communities

May 22, 2018

Each year L’Oréal Paris and Points of Light recognize and celebrate Women of Worth who make a beautiful difference in their communities. Ten honorees each receive a $10,000 grant to support their most cherished cause, and an online vote determines one honoree who will receive an additional $25,000 grant. Nominations for 2018 are now open! If you know a woman who works to create lasting and significant change in her community, nominate her to be one of the 2018 Women of Worth.

Maria Rose Belding, a Women of Worth honoree, created the MEANS Database to help excess food get to those in need.

By Karen T. Fondu, L’Oréal Paris President Emeritus and Chairwoman of Women of Worth

This year, we celebrate the 13th anniversary of the L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth program, which was inspired by our legendary tagline, “because you’re worth it,” and reflects our belief in every woman’s worth. Each year, we honor 10 extraordinary women who are making a difference in the communities they serve. These women selflessly give their time, energy and passion to causes close to their hearts. And now through May 31, you can nominate a woman who is making a meaningful difference in your own community.

What would be the best way to honor Jaha Dukureh, for example, who founded Safe Hands for Girls and uses her voice as a survivor of female genital mutilation to educate communities and young girls about the dangers of FGM? Or Maria Rose Belding, whose volunteer work at a local food kitchen led to the creation of MEANS, a database that keeps food out of landfills and in the hands of those who need it most? And how could we honor Maria D’Angelo’s inspiring and transformative work with homeless and at-risk children and families through The Children’s Lifesaving Foundation?

It is difficult to calculate the value of something that feels so priceless.

Yet, the answer, we realized, was simple. These women already had passion, drive and determination. They were already out there making an impact. We realized that we had the opportunity to help them execute their vision on an even larger scale, to touch even more lives by championing their causes. L’Oréal Paris could give them the platform and resources to amplify their work.

Year after year, we are awed by the impact our Women of Worth continue to make in the world, and we are grateful to be part of their journeys.

As a Women of Worth honoree, Maria D’Angelo has taken The Children’s Lifesaving Foundation to new heights, serving more than 75,000 homeless and at-risk youth with her Camp4All Summer Camp program. She used her Women of Worth platform and grants to sponsor students through her Shining Stars Scholarship Program, helping teens become the first students in their families to enter college. Maria has been recognized by People magazine as one of their “Heroes Among Us,” and she was included among Good Housekeeping’s “50 Inspiring Women Over 50.”

Maria Rose Belding is also making powerful strides with MEANS. Before joining the Women of Worth family, Maria Rose was working with food pantries in 24 states. In less than two years, that number has doubled. Today, MEANS operates in nonprofits and community groups in 48 states, diverting food from the trash to local emergency feeding services with the ease and speed of the internet. Maria Rose has been a featured speaker at the White House, appeared on The Daily Show, and been recognized in the Starbucks Upstanders series for her leadership.

Jaha Dukureh, a Women of Worth honoree, is the founder of Safe Hands for Girls.

Prior to being a Women of Worth honoree, Jaha Dukureh’s Safe Hands for Girls had reached approximately 200 women and girls in the United States and 500 people in Gambia. Today, she has put a spotlight on the issue around the world, reaching more than 10,000 people in the United States, Gambia and other parts of West Africa, through education, outreach and grassroots activities. Jaha was included in the Time 100 list of influential people, and has even been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. She is currently working on a campaign to End FGM by 2030 – and we know that nothing is going to stand in her way.

Women like Maria Rose, Jaha and Maria prove that helping others is one of the highest callings there is. We at L’Oreal Paris are honored and privileged to support these extraordinary women and their worthy causes. Seeing the change they are making throughout the world has been one of the greatest honors of my career.

If you know a woman who works to create lasting and significant change in her community, nominate her to be one of the 2018 Women of Worth.

Amanda Knowles