Toyota Rewards Moms: Women in the World Summit

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Toyota Mother of Invention winners speak at Women in the World Summit in NYC.

Necessity is the mother of invention, so it is fitting that Toyota rewards outstanding women every year with a $50,000 grant. The Toyota Driving Solutions grant recognizes innovation, entrepreneurship and invention.   At the 7th annual Women in the World Summit, held in New York City April 6-8, grant winners along with an international cadre of remarkable women, spoke to an enthusiastic audience.

Reaching students digitally

Women In The World

Annie Medaglia, left and Monica Gray, middle, of DreamWakers. Credit: Toyota

The 2016 winners included Monica Gray and Annie Medaglia, who founded DreamWakers. This organization uses free video technology to bring career speakers into public school classrooms in low-income communities. The 30 minute video chats, called “”Flashchats” have been employed in 35 cities around the country, introducing students to speakers from Apple, Google, and even the White House. One thing they said at the conference is that they are looking for more female speakers and looking to expand to all 50 states.  Come November, they could have an ally in the White House…

The sharing economy combats world hunger

Komal Ahmad, founder and CEO of Copia, leads the fight against hunger with a sharing economy model; an app that connects businesses with excess food to people in need. For example, during Super Bowl 50, Copia brought two days worth of extra food to 23,000 hungry people – and saved the businesses disposal costs to boot. She said “hunger is a distribution problem” and plans to introduce the app globally.

Glasses for kids with special needs

Maria Dellapina, mother of a daughter with Down syndrome, founded Specs4Us, Superior Precision Eyewear for Children who are Special, which provides custom frames for children with Down syndrome.

The Women in the World Summit included speakers as diverse as Mindy Kaling, Diane von Furstenberg and Maria Toorpakai Wazir – a Pakistani professional squash player.

Judy Antell, who is's Free in 50 States editor, lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with her husband and... More about Judy Antell