2018 Tutu Fellow Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg PhD has been appointed as Rise’s inaugural Executive Director. Rise is an initiative of Schmidt Futures and the Rhodes Trust – the anchor program of a $1 billion philanthropic commitment by Eric and Wendy Schmidt. The website says Rise is a talent programme designed to increase opportunity for exceptional young people who need it to do more for others, together, throughout their lives. Wanjiru joined the organisation in April 2021.
Rise says that exceptional talent drives the pace and scale of global progress. But the identification and support of that talent is often ad hoc and fragmented across countries, educational institutions, and industries. As a result, some of the world’s most talented people go undiscovered, are inefficiently matched to development opportunities, or are limited in their opportunity to work in service of the public benefit as they enter the workforce. The initiative seeks to change that.
Funding for the program will build a network of exceptional young people who are committed to helping others throughout their lives. The program will be designed to encourage a lifetime of service and learning by providing support that could include scholarships, career services, and funding. Rise cohort members can apply between 15 and 17 will be invited to attend a residential fellowship before their final year of high school that will give them the space to consider how to serve others, how to become leaders, and how to transition to higher education and careers.
Wanjiru is the founder of African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD), which is working towards inclusive, agriculture-driven prosperity for the African continent by strengthening the production and dissemination of more gender-responsive agricultural research and innovation.
Read more about Rise on their website