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Denise Raquel Dunning, Ph.D, M.P.A., M.A.

Member, Board of Directors

Dr. Denise Raquel Dunning is a passionate advocate for girls, women, and young people. She is the founder and Executive Director of Rise Up – comprising three sister initiatives Let Girls Lead, Champions For Change, and the Youth Champions Initiative – which has improved the lives of 7 million girls, youth, and women globally. Rise Up’s impacts include the passage and implementation of national laws, programs, and funding that save the lives of women, newborns, and children, protect girls from violence, and ensure access to quality healthcare, education, and economic opportunity. 

Denise has a PhD in Sociology from the University of California Berkeley, a Master’s in Public Affairs from Princeton University, and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Duke University. Denise teaches courses at the University of California San Francisco, served as a Fulbright Scholar in Honduras, and is a proud board member of EngenderHealth. She previously worked for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Denise is a renowned global speaker whose work has been featured in the New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post, and she is now writing a book about girls’ empowerment globally. Denise has lived in Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, India, Ghana, and South Africa and she loves to hike and scuba dive. 

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