Honorees

Linda Driscoll

Dream Big!, Founder and CEO

You have 25 years of experience in sports management and the nonprofit world, but what spurred you to found the Dream Big! organization?

I'd always noticed the extent to which a lot of girls, especially from urban areas, have lacked proper equipment and sports opportunities. I remember sitting in a grant-review meeting in 2009 where a coach was seeking funding for girls' basketball uniforms, and she mentioned that her team would play games right after the boys so that they could borrow their uniforms. That situation really spoke to me, and it was then that I knew that I had to do something about it.

What has been the main goal for the organization?

It's about giving girls from low-income communities the essentials to participate in physical activities that will contribute to their fitness and well-being. We partner with organizations, schools and health centers to provide new equipment, uniforms and even program-fee donations. Our annual leadership conference gives girls the chance to meet accomplished athletes and learn about the wide range of opportunities available to them. We've already positively impacted more than 2,000 girls from 45 programs.

What are the moments in your day-to-day operations that inspire you to keep doing this?

It's when a coach calls us and tells us about a player who sprained her ankle twice because she couldn't afford good sneakers, and we buy a pair and send them along. It's a company calling us about how a Dream Big! equipment drive allowed them to deliver hundreds of new basketballs and soccer balls to girls in need. It's great when you can help out immediately and feel that direct impact.

Favorite restaurant in Boston

Top of the Hub — I love the view!

Favorite place to visit outside of the Boston area

I like visiting Wellfleet on the Cape.

Favorite hobby

I've been boogie boarding most of my life.

Favorite neighborhood in Boston

I love Boston's waterfront and the North End, where the beauty of the ocean meets a small, quaint neighborhood.

For more information about Linda Driscoll and Dream Big!, please visit http://dream-big.org/