Riley Gantt was only 10 years old when, on a field trip to a lower-income elementary school in Los Angeles, she discovered that many students in the area lived below the poverty line and didn’t have access to basic school supplies. After speaking with a girl whose mother couldn’t afford a small box of crayons, Riley realized that the lack of supplies inhibited students from doing their homework and left them falling behind in school. This encounter motivated Riley to march straight into the principal’s office and announce that she was starting an organization to help provide students with the supplies they needed.
Riley made good on her promise, conducting bake sales, garage sales, and letter-writing campaigns, along with rallying more than 50 supporters, to establish Rainbow Pack, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization providing low-income elementary school students with backpacks full of the supplies they need to be successful learners. Four years later, Rainbow Pack has distributed more than 5,500 backpacks and raised $55,000 in cash and in-kind donations to help close the achievement gap for less-fortunate elementary school students.