Raise Your Hand Foundation


In Liberia, West Africa, fourteen years of civil war devastated infrastructure and resulted in a critical loss of educated professionals needed for rebuilding. We are helping change that. Changing lives and strengthening a nation... one university scholarship at a time.

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Address: 1420 E. Roseville Pkwy, Suite 140-319
Roseville, CA 95661
County or Parish: Placer County
Primary NTEE: Education 
Sub NTEE: Undergraduate Colleges 
Executive Director: Shelley Spurlock
Contact Email: BDOG@ryhf.org
Primary Phone: 916-712-7317
Website: http://www.ryhf.org
Liberia's civil war displaced over 800,000 people, internally and abroad. In 2006 at Buduburam Refugee Settlement in Ghana, RYHF Founder Shelley Spurlock met hundreds of Liberian young adults who expressed a deep desire to return to their homeland to help in the post-war rebuilding process. Inspired by their courage and commitment and working with a clear and specific need, a cross-continental team was assembled and a year later, Raise Your Hand Foundation was launched. To date we have provided over 500 Liberian young adults with the opportunity to attend college in pursuit of careers critically needed in their country. Our sustainable mission is a win/win for all - the students, their families, and a nation that benefits from their valuable skills and service.
RYHF has built a solid infrastructure in Liberia to support expansion of our scholarship program - trusted Liberian institutions and administrative partners, an effective implementation strategy, and Liberian advisors spanning multiple sectors of society. Our most pressing need: Funding to sponsor even more students on scholarship.
Our top needs:
  1. Funding: Program - For every dollar raised above our usual support, we are ready and able to increase our college scholarship offerings. Semester scholarships range from $25 for vocational students to $1,750 for students in our Agriculture program.
  2. Funding: Program - Our REACH Compassion program funds emergency medical, food, and shelter needs of our students.
  3. Volunteers - General: Join the RYHF family today - your time and talents help us bring hope to individuals, families, and a nation.
  4. Volunteers - Website Management.
  5. Volunteers - Fundraising Support.
RYHF is a true American-Liberian partnership. In the United States, we are all volunteers and our minimal overhead costs are paid by our Board of Directors. In Liberia, our team also works from home offices to keep our costs low and our impact high. We depend on committed volunteers and Liberian advisors for effective program implementation, and work closely with Liberia's National Commission on Higher Education (NCHE) to ensure our goals align with the evolving priorities of the country.

I am very proud of the integrity, shared vision, and camaraderie of all involved in this effort. We have not only sustained and grown our programs over our first decade, but we have built a sense of "family" for our students, many who lost loved ones to war and/or Ebola (in 2014). Our engagement with them goes far beyond funding scholarships. Throughout their academic sojourn we help our students navigate the challenges of extreme poverty, providing mentoring, support, and a welcoming place to turn for celebration of academic victories and exciting life events. Our regular leader communications and Facebook "Family Forum" chatroom help students, graduates, leaders, and advisors meet, develop friendships, and stay connected across campuses. In short, we really get to know our students and by the time they reach their graduation day, we are able to speak to their strengths and weaknesses as informed referents in their job search.

There is nothing like the smile of someone living with hope in the face of seemingly insurmountable circumstances. And when they put that hope into action, as we see with our students, it is truly priceless.

I look forward to seeing what the next decade brings.

Shelley Spurlock
Executive Director
Raise Your Hand Foundation