Former First Lady Michelle Obama is furthering her efforts to ensure that girls around the globe have access to education. According to People, on Giving Tuesday Obama donated $500,000 to the Girls Opportunity Alliance Fund.
The donation was comprised of proceeds from her best-selling memoir Becoming which has sold nearly 12 million copies since its release. The Girls Opportunity Alliance Fund—an initiative created under the Obama Foundation—was designed to break barriers when it comes to equal access to education and support teachers and education advocates who are doing grassroots-level work to ensure that girls can go to school.
“The Girls Opportunity Alliance, a program of the Obama Foundation, seeks to empower adolescent girls around the world through education, allowing them to achieve their full potential and transform their families, communities, and countries,” read the foundation’s website. “Working together, we can increase support for and awareness of community programs that are making a difference, spark a vibrant global discussion on adolescent girls and the barriers that prevent them from reaching their full potential, and provide opportunities for global citizens to take action.”
Obama—who has been a fierce advocate for the empowerment of women and girls—says she hopes the donation will help girls utilize education as a tool to fulfill their dreams. “My hope is that this donation will help more bold and brilliant girls reach their fullest potential, continuing upward on their path toward becoming the women they are meant to be,” she said in a statement, according to the news outlet. “This duty of giving back is what my parents and grandparents taught me, and it’s a value I’ve tried to live by my entire life — because it’s not enough just to make your way through life, thinking only of yourself.”
This isn’t the first project focused on girls and education that Obama has been a part of. She launched an initiative called Let Girls Learn four years ago. Contributions like the one made by Obama are needed to help address issues surrounding gender and education. According to UN Women, global statistics show that only 39 percent of rural girls attend secondary school.