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Crusading for education, one sweet at a time

Can cupcakes change the world? Tammy Tibbetts thinks so.

Can cupcakes change the world? Tammy Tibbetts thinks so.

Tibbetts, 25, is the founder and president of She’s the First, a nonprofit organization that sponsors girls’ education in developing nations worldwide. From Nov. 1-8, She’s the First is spearheading the National Tie-Dye Cupcake Bake-Off, in which participants will bake and sell these colorful confections to raise money for girls’ sponsorships in countries like India, Ethiopia and Guatemala.

Tibbetts says the credit for the cupcake idea goes to students in the She’s the First campus chapter at the University of Notre Dame, who sold tie-dye cupcakes in their dorm to raise money for the organization. When that bake sale raked in $900, Tibbetts spread the word on the organization’s website, inspiring other campus chapter members to get baking.

“We realized, ‘OK, these tie-dye cupcakes are popping up everywhere. We should make a big thing out of it,’” Tibbetts says. “So that became our fall fundraising campaign.”

Since its inception, She’s the First — which received 501(c)(3) status in July — has raised nearly $45,000 for girls’ education. Tibbetts says that her peers are a major force behind the organization’s efforts.

“Everything that we do is so powered by the millennial spirit of teens and twentysomethings who want to make a difference creatively — who expect transparency. [That’s] what She’s the First does: leverage technology and social media in particular.”

Ready to get involved? There’s still time left to sign up for the Bake-Off, and Tibbetts encourages anyone interested in the cause to check them out on social media.

“We’re always updating our Facebook and Twitter with calls for help and volunteers,” she says.


Tye-dye cupcakes


1 box white cake mix

Eggs and oil as instructed

Neon food coloring

1 can frosting


1. Preheat oven to temperature suggested on mix box. Prepare cupcake pan with liners.

2. Prepare cake batter mix as directed, then divide into four medium bowls. Add drops of food coloring to each bowl until desired colors are reached.

3. With a spoon, layer the four colored batters, one on top of the other, in the cupcake tray. (For example: a spoonful of blue, then pink, then yellow, then green.) There's no need to swirl the batters together — it'll happen while baking.

4. Bake as directed; remove and let cool.

5. Frost and serve. (Makes 24 cupcakes.)

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