The Gift of Learning: Katie Meyler’s Foundation

Katie Meyler started the More Than Me Foundation to help girls in Liberia attend school.

Photo by John Emerson.

Katie Meyler felt like an outsider growing up poor in affluent Bernardsville. While her neighbors took lavish vacations, her family sustained itself on food stamps and clothing left anonymously in garbage bags on their doorstep. Now, at 29, Meyler has dedicated herself to assisting others. Through her foundation, More Than Me, she has created an international community of volunteers helping impoverished girls in Liberia get an education. “It brings everybody to the same team,” Meyler says.

Meyler has a long history of volunteering. After college, she assisted an adult literacy program in postwar Liberia, where a girl asked her for help enrolling in school. Meyler agreed to pay for the girl’s tuition and mentored her for a year.

Seeing that girls in the slums of Liberia’s capital Monrovia have little to no hope of an education or a future moved Meyler to do more. In 2009, she established More Than Me. She quit her part-time jobs and dedicated all her time to the foundation. Two years later, she took the extraordinary step of selling her own eggs to support herself. “I would always think what was hard for me, for the kids, it would be far worse,” says Meyler.

To date, More Than Me has sent about 100 girls to school. “My dream is to end educational injustice for girls around the world,” Meyler says.

More Than Me supporters in New Jersey have hosted fund-raisers and opened their homes to Meyler, who hasn’t had a permanent home for more than two years. A real estate agency donated office space for foundation headquarters.

In Liberia, Meyler’s work has inspired local leaders, business owners and civil engineers to get involved with her next project, a More Than Me academy serving 300 girls in grades pre-K through 12.  “I don’t want these girls just to survive,” Meyler says. “I want them to thrive.”

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