Mildred Robbins Leet made philanthropy the cornerstone of her life’s work.
Today, she is recognized worldwide as a distinguished public advocate and proponent of human rights. Her activism spanned multiple arenas: health, education, international development, peace, women’s issues, and the alleviation of family poverty through entrepreneurship.
In 1948, Leet was one of the founders of United Cerebral Palsy and became the first president of the women’s division. From 1957 to 1964, she was the representative of the National Council of Women of the U.S.A. to the United Nations. From 1964 to1968, she served as President of the National Council of Women, and participated in the development of the International Peace Academy.
In 1977, she was the Chair for International Relations for New York State to the First United States Conference on Women at Houston. In 1984, she helped found the U.S. Committee for the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), and became vice president of the that organization.
She was the recipient of countless awards and honors. Leet is best known for creating TrickleUp, Inc., with her late husband Glen Leet. TrickleUp, launched in 1979, with $1,000 of the couple’s own money, it is now a leading international nonprofit organization that has assisted more than 500,000 of the world’s poorest people build their own businesses, educate themselves and their children, and become contributors to their communities.
One of the originators of micro-enterprise capitalization, the TrickleUp program has helped start over 100,000 businesses, aided the original entrepreneurs and their families through small start-up grants, training and technical assistance. The professionalism, integrity, organization, and unsurpassed vision of TrickleUp have made its pioneering program one of the leaders of the micro-enterprise movement. Her work has been described as outstanding and transformative.