Jake Masters is a 2008 graduate of ACS Cobham International School in London where he received an International Baccalaureate diploma. In 2005, he began an initiative to collect and distribute Beanie Babies to AIDS orphans throughout South Africa. To date over 3500 Beanie Babies have been collected worldwide. During this project Jake was introduced to the children of Dikatole, a squatters' camp near Johannesburg. In the last three and a half years, Jake has expanded his work from distributing beanie babies to founding the Dikatole Scholarship Fund, which allows high-achieving children living at the camp to attend a private school. The fund also provides financial support to both a local nursery school (ages 3-6), and an after school program (ages 7-16). In total, Jake has raised nearly $60,000, which includes donations from friends, family, total strangers, and corporations.
Jake is an active member in Habitat for Humanity, where he was the president of his high school's club. He was also recently appointed to the Executive Board of the Vanderbilt University Chapter. Jake also serves as an officer and project director for Orphans Against AIDS, an international organization that supports his work at Dikatole as well as many similar projects around the globe. Jake's interests include playing sports, especially basketball; his English AAU team went to the national finals in two separate years. He currently works with the Vanderbilt Women's Varsity Basketball team as a member of the practice squad.
Jake is looking forward to being a part of the Ingram family and sharing ideas with other Ingram Scholars in order to expand his project as well as help others with theirs.