Seventh grade is as awkward as it gets. Just ask Morgan Rhudy.
But when she was 13, she pushed it aside to start Girl Power Grants, a nonprofit that recruited 100 middle and high school girls to raise $100 and pool the money to give a $10,000 grant to a local organization. Since starting, the group has raised more than $50,000.
Past year’s recipients include the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation, which focuses on reducing the stigma of mental health in teenagers, the Richmond Peace Education Center and Pretty Purposed, a mentorship program that empowers girls in Central Virginia.
For her upcoming senior project, Rhudy is organizing a leadership symposium that will include women speakers from different backgrounds and careers.
“It’s really just to inspire people to see that leadership is applicable to any field you choose to pursue,” she says. “And to help people see opportunities.”
She attributes her confidence and service-minded efforts to her parents, mentors and competing in the Miss Virginia organization, where she’s currently Miss Virginia’s Outstanding Teen.
Understanding the value of philanthropy and wanting to make a difference is always on her mind, especially now as she applies to colleges. But until then, she’ll be singing along to the “Hamilton” soundtrack on the way to school.
“If you’re passionate about something, interested in something, take the initiative,” Rhudy says excitedly. “I think we have a very finite amount of time on Earth and to not make the most of it, that’s beyond me.”Back to the 2019 Top 40 Under 40