About Maria Shriver
Maria Shriver is the mother of four, a Peabody and Emmy-winning journalist and producer, a six-time New York Times best-selling author, and a leading voice on the shifting roles, emerging power and evolving needs of women in modern life. Maria Shriver was California’s First Lady from 2003 through 2010.
Shriver’s work is driven by the belief that everyone has the ability to be what she calls Architects of Change -- a term she coined to describe anyone who uses their ideas, influence and initiative to impact our world.
With a career in journalism spanning more than two decades, Maria Shriver was a network news correspondent and anchor for CBS and NBC. She took a leave of absence from network news in 2004, but continued to train her journalist’s eye on the transformative societal trends impacting women as breadwinners, caretakers, consumers and the world’s Architects of Change. In 2009, she published the “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything,” which revealed that women, for the first time in our nation’s history, represented half of all U.S. workers. The report examined how that fact is changing everything about how we live and work today. In 2010, she published “The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Takes on Alzheimer's,” which was the largest study ever conducted to look at the significant impact of Alzheimer's disease on women who, the study found, make up the majority of patients and caregivers. Both Shriver Reports ignited national conversations about the changing status of women that continue on today.
While Maria Shriver served as California’s First Lady, she redefined the office by approaching it not simply as an honorary role, but as a job with real purpose and a platform to make a difference. In addition to playing key political and strategic roles in both of her husband’s campaigns, she created pioneering programs and initiatives that addressed the emerging needs of women, the working poor, military families and families struggling with Alzheimer’s, and the intellectually and developmentally disabled.
Under Shriver’s direction and vision, The California Governor and First Lady’s Conference on Women grew into the world’s premier forum for women. Each year, “The Women’s Conference” encouraged tens of thousands of women to become Architects of Change – and invited hundreds of the world’s greatest voices, hearts and minds to teach them how. The conference developed an online destination at WomensConference.org that brought together millions of people around the idea of becoming an Architect of Change. The success of The Women’s Conference event under Shriver’s leadership enabled the conference organization to fund programs and form partnerships that empowered women year round, in all areas of their lives. With Shriver at the helm, the conference became a force for change, directly funding more than $5.5 million in charitable programs that served women on the frontlines of humanity.
During the nation’s toughest economic downturn since the Great Depression, Shriver's WE Connect program linked millions of low-income working families, many of whom had never before needed help, with financial resources such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, foreclosure assistance, job placement, résumé assistance, and other important money-saving programs. The program also provided more than 2 million meals to families in need. Shriver’s The Modern House Call for Women, a groundbreaking three-day health and financial services clinic, provided 5,000 free medical, dental and financial services to nearly 2,500 people.
Through Shriver's WE Invest program and its partnership with Kiva.org, hundreds of women entrepreneurs in the U.S. received microloans totaling more than $1 million. In 2004, Shriver created The Minerva Awards and Minerva Prize to honor and reward remarkable women who have stepped forward and changed the world with their courage, wisdom, and strength. Under her watch, 33 women received what became recognized as the most prestigious award in the country given to women.
Maria Shriver has became one of the nation's leading advocates for families struggling with Alzheimer's disease. Her father, Sargent Shriver, was diagnosed with the disease in 2003 and passed away from it in 2011 at the age of 95. In 2009, she executive produced The Alzheimer’s Project, a groundbreaking four-part documentary series that premiered on HBO, attracted 11 million viewers, and won two Emmy Awards. In addition, one of the films, “Grandpa, Do you Know Who I Am?” was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for exemplifying “television with a conscience” and was based on Shriver’s best-selling children’s book dealing with Alzheimer’s.
Also in 2009, Shriver testified before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging to encourage Congress to make Alzheimer’s a national legislative priority by enacting the recommendations put forth by the independent Alzheimer’s Study Group. Shriver’s voice was instrumental in the December 2010 passage of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act, one of the Alzheimer’s Study Group’s key recommendations. In 2010, Shriver kicked off her annual Women’s Conference with a March on Alzheimer’s in Long Beach, CA, which raised more than $300,000 to benefit the work of the Alzheimer’s Association. In addition, Shriver serves on the advisory board of the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas.
Maria has also been a lifelong advocate for people with intellectual disabilities. She is an active member of the International Board of Special Olympics, the organization her mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founded in 1968. She is also on the advisory board of Best Buddies, a one-to-one friendship and jobs program for people with intellectual disabilities. In addition, Shriver serves as Chair of the Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle, an annual bike ride that raises millions of dollars for programs supporting people with intellectual disabilities.
As First Lady of California, Shriver was instrumental in the hiring of individuals with intellectual disabilities in the capitol and in various state offices, and her invitations to cabinet officers, legislators, and the state’s mayors to join her campaign led to more than 150 hires. In 2008, she launched an ice cream company called Lovin’ Scoopful in supermarkets around the country with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Special Olympics and other charities.
Maria Shriver is a graduate of Georgetown University, with a degree in American Studies. She is the mother of four children – Katherine, Christina, Patrick and Christopher.