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Echoing Green Announces 2019 Fellowship Awards

Prestigious program that boosted Teach for America and City Year selects 34 leaders tackling pressing issues like systemic racism, climate change, and gender inequality

NEW YORK, June 6, 2019 — Echoing Green, the prestigious fellowship program that early on helped the young founders of Teach For America, City Year, and The Global Fund for Children transform their ideas into world-changing organizations, today announced the 34 social entrepreneurs selected for the 2019 Echoing Green Fellowship.

Dedicated to accelerating the growth of high-potential leaders whose organizations are tackling pressing issues like systemic racism, climate change, and gender inequality, the Echoing Green Fellowship provides unrestricted seed funding of up to $90,000 and training and programmatic support for two years, as well as lifelong access into a global network of leading philanthropists, investors, and entrepreneurs. Echoing Green’s community of nearly 1,000 social innovators includes past Fellows like First Lady Michelle Obama, Teach For America founder Wendy Kopp, and Ella Baker Center for Human Rights founder Van Jones.

Since 1987, the organization has backed 832 Fellows with more than $46 million in seed funding. 70 percent of the organizations launched by its Fellows are still in operation today, and 77 percent of the Fellows still work in the social sector.

View the full list of 2019 Fellows below.

This year’s Echoing Green Fellows include:

  • Baltimore’s Ateira Griffin, 34, the daughter of a single mother who is working to increase upward mobility and healthy relationships in single-mother households by creating a community hub offering mentoring, resources, and free family programming;
  • Fort Myers, Florida’s Antoine Patton, 31, a father who taught himself to code while in prison and created a mobile app that enables children to ship letters and pictures to parents in prison free of charge;
  • Uganda’s Arthur Woniala, 28, whose organization is dedicated to reducing indoor air pollution caused by burning wood by packaging affordable biogas in recyclable cylinders for cooking;
  • Mexico’s Marissa Cuevas, 31, who aims to create clean waterways by capturing excess nutrients in agricultural waters to produce organic fertilizer and clean water;
  • Washington, D.C.’s Carlos Mark Vera, 25, whose organization, Pay Our Interns, is creating a pathway to public service for under-represented communities by advocating for government funding for paid internships.

The 34 2019 Echoing Green Fellows come from across the globe, working in nine different countries (Cameroon, Colombia, Germany, India, Kenya, Mexico, Senegal, Uganda, and the United States) and more than a dozen U.S. cities including Baltimore, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, New York City, and Washington, D.C. Echoing Green selected the 34 talented winners from a pool of 2,574 applications from applicants working in 161 countries.

“After 30 years of supporting leaders around the globe, Echoing Green knows that the people closest to the problem are often closest to the solution,” said Echoing Green President Cheryl L. Dorsey, who is herself a former Echoing Green Fellow (1992). “That’s why we are committed to supporting these impressive young leaders in realizing their visions for change. We are inspired by their passion for tackling problems in a fundamentally new way and by their ability to mobilize others to support their cause.”

Echoing Green’s 2019 Fellowship class is supported by private contributions and the generous support of four major funders: Citi Foundation, U.S. African Development Foundation, Jerome L. Greene Foundation, and Fund II Foundation. The investment in the Fellows and their social enterprises furthers the mutual goals of Echoing Green and these funders to provide critical, early support to leaders who are proximate to the issues they work on. Nearly 75 percent of the 2019 class identify as members of the constituency they are serving.

This year, the Citi Foundation is supporting Echoing Green through the Inclusive Leadership Initiative, launched in 2018, which will support Fellows in the 2019 class who are representing communities of color in the United States, with an emphasis on leaders providing pathways to employment for young men and women of color.

Jerome L. Greene Foundation’s support of Fellows has helped ensure that finding and investing in innovators focused on equity and social justice remains at the forefront of Echoing Green’s work.

The U.S. African Development Foundation provides seed capital to selected African Fellows in the 2019 class and their African social enterprises to further community-based development in sub-Saharan Africa; this three-year partnership is aimed at growing both organizations’ capabilities to provide access to investment-readiness training to emerging leaders within the continent.

The Fund II Foundation’s support will further Echoing Green’s efforts to build an inclusive entrepreneurship movement focused on unleashing a more diverse set of innovators and founders to drive high-impact organizations and businesses.


About Echoing Green: For more than 30 years, Echoing Green has been on the front lines of solving the world’s biggest problems, raising up the transformational leaders willing to speak truth to power and challenge the status quo. The organization finds emerging leaders with the best ideas for social innovation as early as possible, and sets them on a path to lifelong impact. Echoing Green’s community of nearly 1,000 social innovators includes past Fellows like First Lady Michelle Obama, the founders of organizations like Teach For America and One Acre Fund, and public figures like Van Jones. Built and refined over three decades, Echoing Green discovers tomorrow’s leaders, today, and then funds, connects, and supports a new generation of social impact leaders.

Contact: Patrick Kowalczyk,

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