Social activist and entrepreneur Divinity Barkley Matovu, 24, has been nominated for the CLASSY Awards, which recognize top philanthropic achievements by charities, businesses and individuals in eight major cities nationwide.
Divinity is in the running for Volunteer of the Year because of her work to empower, educate and enrich the lives of youth living in poverty in Uganda. Online voting will determine regional winners who advance to national voting with the potential to win $10,000.
A native of Racine, Wis., Divinity co-founded the Amagezi Gemaanyi Youth Association (AGYA) with her husband, Abraham Matovu, in 2008, only six months after becoming the first person in her family to graduate from college; Divinity earned a B.A. in Political Science and African-American Studies from USC. Amagezi Gemaanyi means Knowledge is Power and AGYA is committed to fostering a safe, supportive, sustainable learning environment where Ugandan youth can develop leadership skills and express themselves creatively. Under Divinity’s leadership, AGYA operates a community center that has provided outreach, education and services to more than 1,000 people living in poverty in urban Uganda. In the future, Divinity hopes to use AGYA's program model to expand to other communities in Uganda and the East African region.
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Supporters can vote for Divinity from October 9 through October 22 online at http://www.stayclassy.org/
Each supporter can only cast one (1) vote, so make sure you select Divinity for Volunteer of the Year from Los Angeles.
If Divinity receives the most online votes in the Volunteer of the Year category for Los Angeles, she will be automatically entered into online voting for a National CLASSY Award. The competition will culminate at a red-carpet awards ceremony on Sunday, November 7 in San Diego, featuring a host of celebrity presenters, chart-topping music talent, nonprofit industry leaders, social media gurus and CLASSY Awards supporters. The Classy Awards winners have the opportunity to win $10,000 for their charitable work.
Divinity’s dedication to the welfare of Ugandan youth has earned her recognition as one of the top young social entrepreneurs under the age of 25 by DoSomething.org in March 2010. In July 2010, Divinity received an Outstanding Commitment Award from the Clinton Global Initiative University for her plan to utilize space at the AGYA Community Center to establish a solar-powered music recording studio that aims to empower Ugandan youth economically and artistically.
Since starting AGYA, Divinity secured a grant which currently provides nutritious meals and clean drinking water to more than 300 children and youth living in Uganda's urban slums. Through a partnership with the Century City Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., AGYA is on track to provide 10 high school girls with academic scholarships this year. Divinity has identified her passion and has committed her life to advancing human rights, education, and poverty alleviation in developing countries like Uganda.