In April 2012, Glamour Magazine honored Maggie Dunne, a junior at Colgate University majoring in Native American Studies, the Grand Prize for its Top 10 College Women Competition for the work she’s accomplished through her organization, Lakota Pine Ridge Children’s Enrichment Project, Ltd. (LPRCEP), reported the Scardsdale Patch. The nonprofit corporation raises awareness and provides assistance to children, families and schools on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Glamour granted Dunne a $20,000 grand prize, which she donated in its entirety to LPRCEP. In an effort to leverage the prize money for additional funding, she seized an opportunity when Richard Branson visited her liberal arts university in Hamilton, New York.
Dunne sought Branson’s advice on using her Glamour prize money to encourage humanitarian celebrities to donate to her cause. On the spot, Branson agreed to match Glamour’s $20,000 award through his nonprofit Virgin Unite, if a prominent Colgate alumnus, who requested to remain anonymous, donated another $20,000. Now Dunne’s recent donations total $60,000.
“Maggie Dunne’s passion for her work is evident and her success is measurable,” Branson said. “She has made a difference in the lives of thousands of Lakota children and deserves a chance to do more. It is my pleasure to support her work. I am gratified to see that Virgin Unite’s funds, which will be used to help a community of First Americans, also have been matched by an American businessman. The struggles of indigenous communities are global concerns.”
Dunne started LPRCEP in 2008 after her second trip to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation revealed the extreme poverty faced by the Lakota in the South Dakota area. To date, the organization has distributed more than $100,000 worth of coats, boots, and books to the reservation residents.
Among the organization’s focuses is education in reservation schools: “pilot mentorship, music, arts, literacy and enrichment projects for the children,” states the project’s website. “We also are in the process of launching a pilot program, linking a Reservation school and its students to a school in New York.”
Naturally, Dunne’s not stopping at $60,000. She aims to raise another $20,000 for the Lakota children’s project from the community at large. Donate to LPRCEP at the social giving site Razoo.com.