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Paying Down Debt While Paying it Forward



Conferences are typically filled to the brim with free stuff: fliers and posters and brochures that may or may not make it past the recycling bin on the way out. So earlier this month when we sponsored the Near Future Summit (a conference dedicated to world positive solutions), we thought, why not try something more meaningful?

We featured three SoFi members who are on a mission to change the world. Our intent: to donate $20,000 that would help them pay off their loans. In order to choose the winner, we had conference attendees vote for their favorite stories. Now, the results are in.

GRAND PRIZE: $10,000

Brianna Gehring

Washington D.C.

Brianna works at International Justice Mission (IJM), the world’s largest anti-slavery organization. She works to bring rescue and restoration to victims of slavery, sex trafficking, and gender based violence and ensure that criminal justice systems in the developing world are transformed to actually protect the vulnerable from violence.

“I love that my job enables me to use my power (my education, my hard work, and my influence) to protect some of the most powerless and vulnerable people on the planet.”

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RUNNER-UP: $5,000

Miganoush Ghookasian

Los Angeles, CA

Miganoush recognized that patients with physical and mental disabilities are often unable to find the dental care they need. She specializes in treating this underserved group of kids and adults, who don’t have the means to afford standard dental costs.

“I feel like I’m a part of something bigger, which is so rewarding. I talk to parents who say, ‘nobody understands my child’s condition.’ I’m so happy to help them.”

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RUNNER-UP: $5,000

Patricia Griffin

Nairobi, Kenya

Patricia started Snak Afya to bring healthy snacks, employment, and sustainable improvements to poor communities throughout Kenya. Snak Afya purchases fruit from local farmers, dehydrates it with the help of local workers, and sells in previously inaccessible markets.

“The potential impact of such a trade on Africa’s poorest farmers keeps me steadfastly pursuing this dream.”

Read more about Patricia’s story.

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