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Rye High Alumni Enters White House Competition

RYE, N.Y. -- Rye High School Alumni and Grinnell College (Iowa) Senior Grace Philipp has been recognized by the White House along with other members of her school's nonprofit organization as a finalist for their "Campus Champions of Change Challenge."

The competition was announced in the fall of 2011 and Philipp's organization, the Social Entrepreneurs of Grinnell (SEG), were one of 15 finalists selected by the White House's Office of Public Engagement out of 1400 applications.

“It is an honor to be included on this list of inspiring campus change-makers," Philipp said. "Our members have worked hard over the last five years to make this a reality, and whether or not we win, we will continue working to empower individuals with access to credit in our community and around the world.”

SEG was selected as a finalist for its Emergency Loans Project, which offers modest loans to financially strapped individuals within the community. According to Philipp, the program, which offered its inaugural loan in the fall of 2010, also pairs the loan recipients with a community liaison that helps them stay on the right track.

"It's usually a member of the church, the chamber of commerce, involved town members or even Grinnell alumni and professors, and they meet on a monthly basis," Philipp said. "We want to make sure the recipient has an advocate on their behalf and we are able to provide them the best loan experience so they can become bankable."

If voters recognize SEG as one of the five winners, it will be invited to the White House to deliver a presentation detailing how their project helps America "win for the future.”

"I honestly couldn’t believe it," Philipp said regarding the announcement. "I know how proud I am of our group, but it was such a surprise. I can't even tell you how many supporters we have, everyone is psyched about this. I get emails from people all the time pledging their support, it's incredible."

SEG is currently second in voting among the 15 finalists with over 17,000 votes. To cast your vote in support Philipp and SEG visit the Campus Challenge voters page.

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