Being a First Daughter does have its perks.

Take travel, for example.

"My parents were incredible in that they let us know that if we took care of all of our responsibilities and our school work, we could join them on their travels when my dad was president," said Barbara Pierce Bush, one of the twin daughters of former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush.

Bush, the co-founder of Global Health Corps., was the guest speaker at the 10th anniversary luncheon Monday of Women to Women, a permanent grant-making initiative of The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro.

"That type of exposure completely opened up my world," she said.

Bush said she had her life all planned out at age 21 — to be an architect and a ballerina. But she kissed that dream goodbye after a 2003  trip to Africa with her parents.

"If you were living on the continent of Africa, and you were HIV positive, you could not get the drugs you needed to live," she said.

Among 12 million HIV-positive people at that time "only 40,000 people had the drugs to survive."

The realization that drugs were available — but not for the poor — inspired her to start Global Health Corps., which offers 13-month fellowships to address health equity.

She shared stories about participants who tapped into their non-medical skills — like one who worked in the supply chain for The Gap — to "engage in different ways of thinking, bring different voices to the table."

Bush said she's been lucky to walk alongside many incredible women, including her mother and grandmothers.

She praised Women to Women's efforts to transform women's lives.

The fundraising luncheon included the announcement of $140,000 in grants to nonprofits that help women.

The News & Record Woman of the Year and Rising Star were also announced at the luncheon.

The Woman of the Year is Susan Shore Schwartz, executive director of The Cemala Foundation, a Greensboro nonprofit focused on early childhood education, community development and job training. Schwartz has also served many other organizations, including Action Greensboro, the Greensboro Children’s Museum, the Board of Visitors at UNCG, Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, GreenHill Center and the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra.

Schwartz will receive $5,000 for the charity of her choice, made possible by an anonymous Women to Women donor.

The 2019 Rising Star is Cameron Wannamaker, who has helped raise $600,000 for children with congenital heart defects. She’s also been a “wish granter” with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and has spearheaded employee health initiatives at Quest Diagnostics.

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Contact Cindy Loman at cindy.loman@greensboro.com, 336-373-7212 or on Facebook at Cindy News-Record Loman.

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