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Name: Sabina Montinar
Business: Young Fashion Fund
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
Industry: Education & Training
Reason for starting: I grew up with a very giving mother, and I will never forget the lessons of generosity she taught me. In 2014 I was running a blog and, with the blog, I had an idea to do a small gift around graduation time to a local high school in my hometown Naples, FL. I wanted to sponsor a graduating student entering the fashion or beauty industry.
I knew, with the personal struggles I was having finding “my place” in fashion and finding other women who looked liked me, someone else was going through it too or would have the same difficulties. I just wanted to find a way to help close that diversity gap. So I create a scholarship and donated $150 to a graduating senior. Best feeling in the world! From that moment I thought: “How can I do this all the time?!” A year and a few months later, Young Fashion Fund was born with the goal to provide scholarships and other opportunities to diverse women going into the fashion or beauty industry.
How do you define success? Success to me is simple. Did I help someone? My professional and personal mantra is “How do I help?” I aim to help people in life, my mother being huge influence on that. A women who had nothing somehow always found a way to help others, so why can’t I? If I help anyone with my organization then I have done my job and will consider it a success.
Biggest success: My biggest success thus far has truly been our online presence. Making this idea a running non-profit was a small idea a year ago. Now I am a fully established nonprofit and with a 501(c)(3) status dreaming big.
What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? My toughest challenge was finding funds to help with start-up costs. I was in transition from a layoff at the time of planning, so I was stressed about finances. I eventually found a new role, but then I was also blessed with an independent contracting opportunity through a friend’s jewelry design company. The funds I made from the independent role went straight to the Young Fashion Fund pool and my regular 9 to 5 kept me above water with my personal expenses. I saved enough to get established and still had money left over to help with the scholarship fund.
Who is your most important role model? My mother. A giving women with a big heart. I learned a lot of tough lessons from her. She has always told me: “Give when you can, even if you don’t have it. It will not go in vain.” Years later here I am, an owner of a nonprofit. I truly believe I am here because of what she gave me. I am giving back because of her.
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Edited by The Story Exchange