Shaun Robinson, Founder of the S.H.A.U.N. Foundation for Girls

ven though Shaun Robinson has made it in Hollywood, she hasn’t forgotten her Detroit roots. The multi-hyphenate Emmy award-winner recently added a new role to her title with the launch of the S.H.A.U.N. Foundation for Girls.

Her passion for empowering teen girls initially came to fruition in 2009 with her book Exactly As I Am, which shares messages to young girls from influential leaders like Oprah Winfrey, Janet Jackson and Iman, about how to dream big and to believe in themselves. Out of the book came Robinson’s movement One Girl, One Voice: A Million Ways to Make a Difference. 

“It was a volunteer movement that I started online where girls would talk about their volunteer work and how they are helping the lives of other people, and from that came The S.H.A.U.N. Foundation for Girls because I wanted to continue this platform of mine to really inspire girls. To break the glass ceiling, and to be able to use their voice for good,” Robinson says.

One of the goals of the organization is to have initiatives in various cities and in various divisions of the organization. The foundation focuses on five areas, represented by the acronym of Robinson’s name. The ‘S’ stands for S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Robinson is passionate about getting more young girls into those fields. ‘H’ is for Health, ‘A’ is for Arts, ‘U’ is for Unity, bridging girls in the U.S. with girls across the world, and the ‘N’ is for Neighborhoods, which refers to helping girls in underserved neighborhoods. 

“We are going to have initiatives helping girls to lead healthier lives, that’s under our health division. I’m really excited about the Artsdivision. My goal is to find out where those small grassroots organizations are that are doing great work, and really help them continue their mission,” Robinson says. “The initiatives that I plan to have will call attention to these organizations, but also be really fun and educational for girls.”


Somewhat modeled after the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the S.H.A.U.N. Foundation for Girls seeks out inequities that hold girls back, and attempts to level the playing field. The foundation’s inaugural event benefitted Alternatives For Girls, a Detroit-based nonprofit that serves homeless and at-risk girls and young woman.

“I thought it would be very organic for me to start my first initiative in my hometown of Detroit,” Robinson says. “We found Alternatives for Girls, an organization that is helping a huge problem, not only in Michigan but across the world, and that is sex trafficking.” Robinson is dedicated to tackling this issue – and drawing awareness to it.

“As more and more social media platforms become available to girls, this is how pimps are luring young girls,” she says. “While there are many great things about social media, there are many dangers for girls. So we want to be educating them about that.” 

In addition to the S.H.A.U.N Foundation’s monetary gift to Alternatives for Girls, they hosted a seminar at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. 

“We had an audience of girls and a panel of experts talking to them about the dangers of sex trafficking,” Robinson says. “I wanted to do more other than just present a check to Alternatives for Girls, I wanted to have a discussion, so we can not only help the women that have been victims and survivors of sex trafficking, but actually talk about preventing girls from becoming victims in the first place.”

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