Giraffe Heroes Database
Letter "M"
Entries beginning with "M"

Maathai, Wangari

Wangari Maathai, founder and leader of the Green Belt Movement in Kenya, is responsible for planting over 20 million trees, organizing hundreds of seedling nurseries and encouraging women's councils all over the country to plant and maintain greenbelts. Since daring to protest the destruction of a Nairobi park, Maathai has been vilified and persecuted by the government, yet continues to speak out for the preservation of her country's environment.
  • community development
  • environment
  • womens issues
Giraffe work location(s): Africa, Kenya
Home when commended: Africa, Kenya
Home now: Africa, Kenya
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Mabry, La Tonya

La Tonya Mabry of Berkeley CA was the catalyst of a no-holds-barred, inter-racial, monthly gathering in her home. Mabry withstood flak from her family and the community to host meetings and potlucks that pushed participants beyond the bounds of politeness and superficiality, so that real understanding and friendships were forged across racial lines.

  • community development
  • ethnicity/minorities
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, California
Home when commended: North America, US, California
Home now: North America, US, California
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

MacAfee, Bridgette

Bridgette MacAfee of Everett WA was one of a group of high school students who wrote and put on a play in response to the deaths of two popular classmates. They were met with resistance from their teacher, the administration, and their friends, but these teens persisted. The play was a critical success—but more important to these young performers—the play helped their peers and the entire community deal with their shock and grief. (See also Grant Pavolka, Shelley Honingbaum, Kristin Kusnic, Julia Endicott, Cathleen Bakker and Billy Giese.)

  • civil liberties
  • education
  • health/public health/disabilities
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, Washington
Home when commended: North America, US, Washington
Home now: North America, US, Washington
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Macauley, Bob

Bob Macauley of New Canaan CT began his philanthropic career by mortgaging his home to pay for a chartered flight of 100 Vietnamese infants to the US. Macauley then founded "Americares", a relief organization that is usually the first on the scene in any hot spot. Working 100 hours a week, Macauley calls himself "just a beggar", typically begging $100 million in aid a year to fund Americares' work.

  • international aid
Giraffe work location(s): Global
Home when commended: North America, US, Connecticut
Home now: North America, US, Connecticut
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

MacDonald, Margaret

Margaret MacDonald of Billings MT braved threats from aryan supremacists and the disapproval of worried neighbors to speak out against an attack on a Jewish home. MacDonald helped lead thousands of Billings residents—Jews and non-Jews alike—to put Jewish menorahs in their windows, despite the possibility that they might also become targets. (See also Sarah Anthony, Wayne Inman, Brian & Tammie Schnitzer and Keith Torney.)

  • civil liberties
  • ethnicity/minorities
  • public safety
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, Montana
Home when commended: North America, US, Montana
Home now: North America, US, Montana
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

MacGregor, Molly Murphy

Molly Murphy MacGregor and Mary Ruthsdotter of Windsor, California have given up their teaching careers, and invested all their time and money into getting the stories of women’s lives told in the nation's history classes. As founders of the National Women's History Project, the two women have gotten March of each year declared a time for studying women's achievements in schools and colleges across the country.

  • womens issues
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, California
Home when commended: North America, US, California
Home now: North America, US, California
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Mackey, Dorothy

Dorothy Mackey of Wooster OH has sheltered a small city's worth of people in her 50-year campaign against homelessness. When her own home overflowed with "guests," she leased three more houses. More than 10,000 people have slept under one or another of Mackey's roofs.

  • poverty
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, Ohio
Home when commended: North America, US, Ohio
Home now: deceased
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

MacLean, Robert

Robert MacLean was a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) air marshal who tried to stop a TSA move that he was sure endangered airline passengers. Getting no results in the Agency, he leaked the information to the press; the TSA then made the needed safety changes. It happened again a few years later and this time, someone at TSA recognized his voice on a news sound track. He was fired. The TSA claimed he didn’t have the legal protections afforded to whistleblowers—they had retroactively classified the information he leaked as “sensitive.” The Supreme Court will make the next call in MacLean’s case for getting his job back, so he can continue to protect airline passengers. 

  • whistle blowers
Giraffe work location(s): National
Home when commended: North America, U.S., Texas
Home now: North America, U.S., Texas
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Macon-Bibb Advocacy

The volunteers of Macon-Bibb Advocacy in Macon GA are counselors and friends for the mentally handicapped, for unwed mothers and others who need help coping with their daily lives. Macon-Bibb Advocacy volunteers visit, pay bills, handle shopping and deliver food, do home repairs and act as legal guardians.
  • health/public health/disabilities
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, Georgia
Home when commended: North America, US, Georgia
Home now: North America, US, Georgia
Gender: G (group)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Macuxi, Gilberto

Gilberto Macuxi of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, has been beaten, shot, and stabbed, and his family has been abducted, all because of his fight to protect the 14 vanishing tribes of Brazil's Roraima state. Founder of the Association of Indigenous People of Roraima, Macuxi travels on foot from tribe to tribe and by plane to national and international meetings where he speaks for the tribes’ rights to the land where they have lived for centuries.

  • civil liberties
  • community development
  • ethnicity/minorities
Giraffe work location(s): South America, Brazil
Home when commended: South America, Brazil
Home now: South America, Brazil
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Mad Housers

The Mad Housers of Atlanta GA is a group of volunteers founded by Mike Connor and Brian Finkel, architecture students at Georgia Tech. Rallying fellow students to help, they started building tiny huts for the homeless, placing them anonymously in areas where the homeless gathered. Initially city officials called the huts illegal but eventually came around to honoring the practicality and inherent goodness of the Mad Housers’ work.

  • poverty
Giraffe work location(s): North America, USA, Georgia
Home when commended: North America, USA, Georgia
Home now: North America, USA, Georgia
Gender: G (group)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Magala, Enoch

The Mpolyagiere Foundation’s outreach team--Rose Kawarach, Mary Kyabanagwe, Enoch Magala, Ritah Nassuuna, Dylan Patterson, Bashir Wadeya, and Ronnie Wandera--have worked round the clock in dangerous rural Ugandan villages to launch a community-based campaign to stop the spread of AIDS/HIV. All the Ugandan team members are college grads, choosing to do this work rather than taking their degrees into safe, well-paying city jobs. Dylan Patterson, an undergrad in the US, has served with them, using his savings from summer jobs to get there and help pay for supplies.

  • community development
  • health/public health/disabilities
  • poverty
Giraffe work location(s): Africa, Uganda
Home when commended: Africa, Uganda
Home now: Africa, Uganda, North America, USA
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Magers, Bennie

Bennie Magers of Anderson IN is determined to prevent children from being killed by child abusers, as her own brother was. Magers spends endless volunteer hours investigating suspicous abuse cases, combing public records, tracking down witnesses, and getting abusers arrested.

  • criminal justice
  • government
  • youth issues
Giraffe work location(s): National
Home when commended: North America, US, Indiana
Home now: North America, US, Indiana
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Magoon, Orville

Orville T. Magoon invested 11 years of his life and all his resources in the historically perfect restoration of Lillie Langtry’s ranch and vineyards on Bucksnort Creek in California. Magoon passed up the quick-profit possibilities of the land to create a model not only of restoration, but also of sustainable farming and of nurturing the local economy—he employed nearby craftspeople, artists, vintners and builders in doing the restoration and creating a winery.

  • environment
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, California
Home when commended: North America, US, California
Home now: North America, US, California
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Maguwu, Farai

Farai Maguwu is telling the world that the miners in the diamond fields of Zimbabwe are being abused. He's also demanding that the profits from the mines be used to benefit the people of that nation rather than disappearing into unseen hands. He's been imprisoned and he's watched constantly, but his Center for Natural Resource Governance goes on monitoring the mines and sounding alarms. 

  • public safety
  • whistle blowers
Giraffe work location(s): Africa, Zimbabwe
Home when commended: Africa, Zimbabwe
Home now: Africa, Zimbabwe
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Mahmood, Jemilah

Jemilah Mahmood MD founded MERCY Malaysia, recruiting hundreds of her fellow medical professionals to join her in taking time away from their own careers and risking their own safety to serve those in need of their services in disaster-stricken areas and war zones.

  • health/public health/disabilities
  • international aid
Giraffe work location(s): Global, Asia, Malaysia
Home when commended: Asia, Malaysia
Home now: Asia, Malaysia
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.
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