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Echoing Green Announces 2021 Class of Fellows

The leading fellowship for social entrepreneurs welcomes 18 new leaders to its network of change making innovators. The 2021 class is tackling societal challenges like systemic racism, climate change, and education inequity.

New York, NY — September 9, 2021 — Today, Echoing Green’s signature fellowship program announced its 2021 class of Fellows – a group of social entrepreneurs selected as leading innovators who are solving the world’s most urgent social challenges. These leaders have demonstrated an unrelenting dedication to their vision for a more equitable world for all and are tackling unjust systems to drive lasting social change.

Since 1987, Echoing Green’s mission has been to find and support emerging leaders with the best and most creative ideas for transforming the world and changing unjust systems. Amid a global pandemic and reckonings with racial inequality, social entrepreneurs of color worldwide proved that their impactful solutions and proximity to their communities are of prime importance for meeting this sustained moment of crisis and possibility.

Echoing Green’s commitment to its Fellows is solidified in a holistic support model that addresses barriers to capital and equips these entrepreneurs with access to seed funding, strategic partnerships, and lifelong connections to a global network of leading philanthropists, investors, and entrepreneurs.

Some of this year’s Fellows include:

  • Alexander Bailey, founder of Black Outside, Inc. in San Antonio, Texas
  • Ashante Taylorcox, founder of You Are More Than, Inc. in Marlton, New Jersey
  • Dee Punungwe, founder of GGEM Farming in Malawi
  • Juvaria Khan, founder of The Appellate Project (“TAP”) in Washington, D.C.
  • Lin Thu Hein, founder of Atutu in Myanmar
  • Mariolga Reyes Cruz, founder of Fideicomiso de Tierras Comunitarias para la Agricultura Sostenible in Puerto Rico
  • Okong’o Kinyanjui, founder of Queer African Network in Kenya
  • Rumaitha Al Busaidi, founder of WomeX in Oman
  • Suzanne Singer, founder of Native Renewables, Inc. in Flagstaff, Arizona
  • Tequila Johnson, founder of The Equity Alliance in Nashville, Tennessee

For the complete list, and to learn more about the 2021 Fellows visit: echoinggreen.org/news/2021-fellows.

The 2021 Fellows were selected from a competitive applicant pool of nearly 1,500 candidates from over 100 countries. The 18 selected span nine countries and territories around the world, including Libya, Malawi, Mexico, Myanmar, Puerto Rico, Somalia, as well as U.S. cities such as Dallas, Pasadena, and Nashville, to name a few. One hundred percent of the 2021 Fellowship class identify as Black, Indigenous, or people of color.

“The boundless passion and ambition of our 2021 class of Fellows make me optimistic about our shared future. These innovators understand how deep-listening, coalition-building, and shifting power can drive systemic change in their communities. We have a group of social entrepreneurs here who are tackling an array of issues, including growing the social and professional networks of LGBTQI+ Africans, launching the first agricultural community land trust in Puerto Rico, and counteracting systemic trauma and lapses in democracy in urban communities across the United States,” said Echoing Green President and 1992 Fellow Cheryl L. Dorsey. “The possibilities of what these Fellows can achieve are what makes this announcement so exciting. These transformational innovators are bending the arc of history toward justice, and they continue to give us hope.”

Echoing Green’s 2021 Fellowship class is the first to be supported by the organization’s Racial Equity Philanthropic Fund, launched in July 2020 to ensure that today’s heightened awareness of racial inequity translates into sustained action and impact. In addition to creating opportunities for engagement in the movement for racial equity at the corporate level, the fund provides seed and follow-on funding to racial equity leaders, mitigating the barriers to capital that tax innovators combatting structural racism. To date, the fund has raised $3 million over its original goal of $50 million thanks to investments from major supporters including MacKenzie Scott, the Jerome L. Greene Foundation, the Skoll Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Comcast NBCUniversal, and the Citi Foundation. Additional Fund supporters can be found here.

Anchor funding from Comcast NBCUniversal will provide support for programming to create more pathways for underrepresented entrepreneurs, directly support new Fellows addressing racial equity in the U.S., as well as provide critical follow-on funding to grow and scale the impact of alumni Fellow-led organizations.

Several fellowships in the 2021 class are directly underwritten by the Jerome L. Greene Foundation, KKR, and Citi Foundation, whose generous support will help create a more inclusive social entrepreneurship sector, resource emerging proximate leaders, and drive equitable recovery from COVID-19.

Since 2014, the Jerome L. Greene Foundation has provided funding for finding and supporting new Echoing Green Fellows with big, bold ideas to tackle some of the world’s most entrenched problems. With the selection of our 2021 class, the Foundation has directly underwritten nearly 50 Echoing Green fellowships over the last seven years.

The Citi Foundation’s support of Fellows representing and working with communities of color in the United States expands upon their support of Echoing Green which began in 2018 with the Inclusive Social Entrepreneurship Initiative.

As Fellows continue to navigate operating and launching a social enterprise while grappling with the inequitable effects of an ongoing pandemic, KKR will grant seed capital to leaders creating innovative models for change that address the impact of COVID-19 on their communities as part of the KKR Relief Effort.

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 and the founders of organizations like Teach For America, Data for Black Lives, and One Acre Fund. 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.

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Media Contact:
Soumya Misra

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