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Rick and Elaine Little with their daughter Sarah and
(Secretary and Co-founder)
Rick Little is president and CEO of the ImagineNations™
Group, a global alliance of social
entrepreneurs, thought leaders, investors, global brands,
media and organizations, working together with and for young
people to inspire positive change in society.
For nearly 30 years, Rick Little has been working to build
partnerships among companies, non-profits and governments
to improve the conditions and prospects for children, youth
and families. The ImagineNations™ Group is working extensively
in selected countries across the Middle East, Africa, Asia
and Latin America to foster innovative partnerships toward
this end. He is widely known for his work in developing strategic
Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives with companies—including
Nokia, The Financial Times, Nike, Gap, Groupe Danone, Lucent
Technologies and the Kellogg Company, among others—that
result in sustainable and large-scale positive impact on their
workers, and in the countries and communities where they operate.
Little is the creator and founder of Quest International,
where he served as president and CEO from 1975 to 1989. Through
Quest, Little helped to establish a formula for a successful
set of youth development programs and strategies for teaching
life skills and character education that have had broad appeal
in many cultures and countries. Quest programs have been adapted
and implemented in thousands of schools in over 30 countries,
impacting millions of young people each year.
In 1989, Little led a process involving hundreds of leaders
from dozens of countries that resulted in the establishment
of the International Youth Foundation (IYF) in 1990 with the
largest charitable investment ever made by the Kellogg Foundation—more
than $68 million. Kellogg has since been joined by hundreds
of other companies, foundations, governments and individuals
around the world as IYF has grown to become a leading player
in advancing opportunities for young people and building partnerships
between private sector, civil society and governments. Little
served as IYF’s founding president and CEO from 1990
to 2002 and remains actively involved in its efforts as founder
and member of its international board.
Today, IYF is among the world’s largest public foundations
focused on finding and supporting “what works”
for young people. IYF operates in more than 70 countries and
territories. Its global network invests over $150 million
annually in hundreds of projects in education, health, leadership
development, micro-enterprise, youth employment and bridging
the digital divide.
Little served as chairman of the Oversight Board of the Global
Alliance for Workers and Communities from 2000 to 2004. Working
in partnership with the World Bank, private foundations, universities,
NGOs, trade unions, global brands and local factories, the
Alliance sought to improve the workplace experience and life
opportunities of young adult workers in the global manufacturing
supply chains of companies including Nike and the Gap in Indonesia,
China, India, Thailand and Vietnam.
Rick Little is co-chair of the United Nations’ (UN)
12-person High-Level Panel of the Youth Employment Network—advising
the UN secretary-general on global youth employment issues.
In addition, he serves on several boards, including the International
Center for Religion and Diplomacy and the Nike Foundation
Advisory Board. He is a member of the International Leaders
Committee for the Institute for Applied Research and Youth
Development at Tufts University. He was also the founding
president and a member of the founding board of America’s
Promise, chaired by General Colin Powell in 1996.
Little has received numerous awards for his life’s work,
including the Presidential Award of the International Association
of Lions Clubs—the largest humanitarian service organization
in the world. He was selected in 1996 as one of the world’s
100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum
in Davos, Switzerland. In 1997, Little was selected by his
peers to receive the Robert W. Scrivner Award from the U.S.
Council on Foundations—an award that recognizes risk-taking
leadership and creativity as a philanthropist and grant maker.
Little received an honorary doctorate degree from Anderson
University in 2000. He was named an International Fellow in
applied developmental science at Tufts University in 2001.
Little has written articles and commentary appearing in the
New York Times, Foreign Policy, Time magazine, the Financial
Times and other publications. He has contributed chapters
to several books, and his life story has appeared in several
publications, including the original best-selling book Chicken
Soup for the Soul.
On a personal note, Little and his family live on the Chesapeake
Bay in Maryland, U.S.A. He has traveled to more than 130 countries,
flies airplanes, plays the piano and enjoys skiing. He is
currently co-authoring a book for young people with Her Majesty
Queen Rania of Jordan.