Our Mission

Transforming lives — one young woman at a time. The PowHERful Foundation gets girls to, and through, college.

We provide financial assistance, mentorship and wraparound support to help these young women achieve their fullest potential. We provide young women with a bridge between obstacles and opportunity, giving them the experiences, education and resources needed to overcome unexpected barriers to success.

The Need

Girls from low-income backgrounds are less likely to receive the skills, tools, and opportunities needed to obtain a higher education degree, and go on to become a successful individual in society. According to a 2014 report from the White House, only 1 in 10 people from low-income backgrounds have a bachelor’s degree by age 25, while half of all people from high-income families do. Not obtaining a degree places countless opportunities out of reach.

Our Vision

The PowHERful Foundation believes education is the ultimate equalizer, especially for the young women we serve. We work to give our girls the tools, advice, and support to not just get through school, but to get ahead in school, have a happy personal life, and get on the path to a great career. The PowHERful Foundation exists to provide hardworking young women with the resources necessary to succeed.

What we do

Most of the girls we work with are the first in their families to pursue higher education. We aim to be the people in their lives who can get them to and through college, there for every challenge and accomplishment, facilitating useful connections and experiences to help them along a trajectory of achievement.

Financial Assistance

We provide young women with scholarship and paid internship opportunities.


We provide scholars opportunities to connect with valuable mentors.


Our wraparound services connect scholars with vital community resources.


Soledad O'brien

I have covered the world’s most devastating stories throughout my career—stories of unimaginable human hardship and loss.

There was the father who lost his grip on his little boy in the Indonesian Tsunami and the Japanese fearful of radiation poisoning.

I was haunted for years after seeing the homes devastated by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. I still visit the orphaned children of the Haiti earthquake. I remember the faces of the few survivors I met and push away memories of the thousands who did not. There was so little I could do to help. Or was there?

Those who dedicate themselves to rescue often tell the Starfish Story. When I heard it, it drove its way into my heart.

Countless starfish have washed ashore on a beach and are dying off. A little boy is picking them up and tossing them back into the ocean in the hope they’ll survive. A man walks by and asks him why he’s doing something so futile.

“There are hundreds,” he points out. “What difference will it make?”

The boy picks up another starfish, throws it into the sea and says: “It will make a difference to that one.”

I wanted to make a difference.

Maybe this was the way. I had met many young women whose life plans had been stagnated by terrible disasters, compounded by generational poverty — some were just down on their luck.

I could help one of them, do my part, and maybe launch a successful young woman into a brighter future. Then they could go off into the world and help others.

In 2017, Starfish became PowHERful to better reflect the empowerment we provide young women all across the country. Welcome to the PowHERful Foundation. I hope you’ll join us.