TIME’s 2011 100 Includes Great Leaders in Advancing Opportunity

Many people (and especially all of us here at BTC) love finding new reasons to be inspired, and one way we do that is by learning about great people who are doing amazing things. That’s why we were excited to see the 2011 TIME 100 – a list of 100 people who TIME’s editors have chosen as the world’s most influential. As we perused the list, we were really happy to see a ton of familiar names – people who we work closely with everyday on our projects, as well as people who are doing great things not only in the service world but also in multiple advocacy areas.

What activists made this year’s list?

Geoffrey Canada, the founder of the Harlem Children’s Zone, one of our coalition organizations and all around good guy. With a commitment to education and the a belief in the power of learning to lead the way out of poverty, Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone provides disadvantaged children with support and educational services from the cradle to graduation. According to the TIME article by Arne Duncan, the US Secretary of Education, “It’s based on the simple idea that you cannot divorce where kids live from where they learn.” And so far, it’s worked: HCZ has grown exponentially since its inception 14 years ago. Begun as a 1-block pilot program, today the Harlem Children’s Zone covers 100 city blocks and serves 8,000 children.

Cory Booker, the Mayor of the city of Newark, is no stranger to serving his community. Newark was one of the first cities to sign on to the Cities of Service campaign and through service programs, the mayor has worked tirelessly to make Newark a more vibrant, thriving city. His current focus remains on fixing Newark’s education system, making sure that the children of that city receive a high-quality education that will give them the opportunity to be competitive and engaged in college and careers.

It came as no surprise to us at ServiceNation that First Lady Michelle Obama made the list of TIME’s top 100. Since she stepped into office as a self-described “first mom,” she’s been making huge strides in a battle to end childhood obesity. With the inception of her Let’s Move! program, designed to find innovative and engaging ways to teach children and teens about the dangers of obesity and the value of nutrition and exercise – and the joys of play – the First Lady has also been influential in the creation of a Childhood Obesity Task Force, the first of its kind made to address the problem. We love Let’s Move – not just because of its commitment to reducing the risk of diet-related illnesses, though that’s great, too – because one of the innovative ways to get out and exercise is to get out and serve. Now that’s an exercise regimen we can stand behind! Though the TIME article doesn’t mention it, the First Lady has also recently teamed up with Dr. Jill Biden to increase awareness and support of military families, with the introduction of their Joining Forces program. This will provide vital support services to active duty soldiers, sailors, pilots and Marines, as well as veterans and military families.

No list of influential activists would be complete without Ms. Oprah Winfrey, and she holds a spot on TIME’s list as well. An advocate of education and equality she is, above all, a believer in opportunity. Her work with Oprah’s Angel Network as well as the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls is bringing access to education and career services to people, and especially women and girls, around the world.

Ray Chambers is the co-founder of Malaria No More, an organization dedicated to eradicating (or at least alleviating) malaria in developing nations. The organization works with Population Services International to distribute anti-malaria mosquito nets, which provide protection for homes and other buildings. Chambers has been made a UN Special Envoy for Malaria, and has pledged to end Africa’s malaria deaths by 2015. Whether he can or can’t do that, he’s still an incredible inspiration and activist who’s serving an underserved community – and that’s something we can all admire.

There are obviously a ton of other inspirational men and women on the TIME 100 list, among them Barack ObamaRon BruderAruna Roy and Maria Bashir. So if you’re looking for a great way to start your week, check out the TIME list and get inspired to go out and change the world – it really can be that easy.

« Back to Blog

Stay Informed