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Mar 2011  |  By Liz Logan and Laura Hine  |  Comments

Estrella Rosenberg, Big Love Little Hearts, Chicago

Losing a sister to a heart defect inspired Estrella Rosenberg to provide life-saving surgeries to children with heart defects in developing countries.

A former jury consultant, she left the business world to start her own nonprofit, Big Love Little Hearts, which has saved more than 300 lives in the past year and a half.

Estrella Rosenberg’s life changed on a business trip in 2003. She was working as a jury consultant, and met a 10-year-old amateur golfer who had an interesting logo on her bag—a heart with two figures.

When Estrella asked about it, the girl explained matter-of-factly that she had a complex heart defect and went through two surgeries by age 2, and that her goal was to raise $1 million for the Children’s Heart Foundation. Estrella, whose sister died of a heart defect when she was 37 days old, was “blown away,” she says.

She started volunteering for the Lincolnshire-based foundation and serving on the board, and soon decided to pursue her volunteer work full-time. She became the foundation’s Director of Development, earned a master’s in Non-Profit Management and Marketing from Northwestern’s Kellogg School, and then broke out on her own with Big Love Little Hearts. The organization provides life-saving surgeries to children with heart defects in developing countries. Collaborating with other organizations, the group has saved more than 300 lives in the past year and a half.

“Worldwide, 1 million children are born with heart defects, and half of them need surgery. Ninety percent of those children live in places where they don’t have access,” she says. And she’s fixing that.

To read about Estrella’s other philanthropic initiatives, check out adventuresinphilanthropy.com

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