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Melissa Kilby Receives UNFCU Foundation's 2022 Women's Empowerment Award for Leading Global Advocacy Movement Girl Up

Melissa Kilby Receives UNFCU Foundation's 2022 Women's Empowerment Award for Leading Global Advocacy Movement Girl Up

Published 12-15-22

Submitted by UNFCU Foundation

Melissa Kilby

LONG ISLAND CITY, N.Y., December 15, 2022 /CSRwire/ - UNFCU Foundation recently honored Melissa Kilby, executive director of Girl Up, with its 2022 Women’s Empowerment Award. The virtual ceremony capped UNFCU Foundation’s 8th annual celebration of its grant-partners’ achievements to end poverty for women and youth. Partners detailed progress in education and healthcare, advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals to which the UNFCU Foundation is aligned.

Ms. Kilby was recognized for her leadership elevating a grassroots fundraising campaign into a human rights movement spanning 150 countries.

“Through mentorships, development programs, and advocacy initiatives, Girl Up has created opportunities for young women to lead,” said Yma Gordon, executive director of the UNFCU Foundation. “We congratulate Melissa for enabling youth to gain agency, connect, and be a force for gender equity and social change. Girl Up Club networking with adolescents in developing countries to tackle poverty draws our admiration and support.”

Among the achievements, Ms. Kilby and Girl Up champions were instrumental in advocating the passage of the Girls Count Act into US law. This legislation helps ensure that children everywhere are registered at birth and have a chance at a successful future.

“I am honored to accept this award on behalf of and in solidarity with the thousands of Girl Up leaders. They work every day to advance equality and justice for themselves, each other, and all girls around the world,” said Ms. Kilby, who joined Girl Up in 2011, just one year after its inception. “When girls rise, we all rise. I want to thank the UNFCU Foundation for recognizing that truth.”

Women forging the path out of poverty for women and youth globally are eligible to receive the UNFCU Foundation’s highest award. Melissa Kilby joins past honorees:

  • Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, former executive director of UN Women and UN Under-Secretary-General (2021)
  • Stephanie Wright, co-founder of Together We Bake (2020)
  • Francine A. LeFrak, President of the Francine A. LeFrak Foundation (2019)
  • Cynthia Davis, Director of Community Outreach, the Floating Hospital (2018)
  • Dr. Erin Anastasi, Coordinator for the UNFPA-led Campaign to End Fistula (2017)
  • Ritu Sharma, author and advocate for gender equality (2016)
  • Sheryl WuDunn, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and humanitarian, and
  • Madame Ban Soon-taek, the former First Lady of the United Nations, who was honored in 2015 for her lifetime of service (2015)

About UNFCU Foundation

UNFCU Foundation is an accredited New York-based, non-profit corporation launched in 2015. It was established by the United Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU) with a mission to sustain the path out of poverty through healthcare and education for women and youth. Since its inception, UNFCU Foundation has supported programs to enable more than 31,000 marginalized women and youth to unlock their potential. Follow UNFCU Foundation's progress on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Elisabeth Philippe, UNFCU Foundation,, Tel. +1 347‑686‑6776; Mobile +1 347‑510‑4036

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UNFCU Foundation

UNFCU Foundation

United Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU) launched the UNFCU Foundation in February 2015, with the purpose of funding projects that reduce poverty through education and healthcare, especially among women and children in developing countries, the Washington, DC-area, and New York City.

The UNFCU Foundation, a New York based 501(c)(3) organization, supports initiatives that:

  • Work to eradicate poverty and hunger
  • Empower women and youth by offering them opportunities for self-development and economic advancement
  • Promote well-being and provide access to healthcare for women and their families
  • Provide disaster relief

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