Members of the 2020 class are tackling pressing global issues including systemic racism, educational inequities, unemployment, air pollution, and mental health care
NEW YORK, NY – Echoing Green, the prestigious fellowship program for emerging social entrepreneurs, today announced the 13 recipients selected for the 2020 Echoing Green Fellowship. These leaders are launching and growing their enterprises to tackle pressing global issues including systemic racism, educational inequities, unemployment, air pollution, and mental health care.
Echoing Green’s Fellowship program has a long history of supporting emerging leaders addressing systemic inequities and equipping them to take on global challenges from the front lines. Since 1987, Echoing Green has accelerated the growth of leaders including alumni like First Lady Michelle Obama; Last Mile Health founder, Raj Panjabi; and GirlTrek co-founders, T. Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison. The 2020 class joins an active community of 845 previous Fellows and will receive unrestricted seed funding of up to $90,000, training and programmatic support, as well as lifelong connection to a global network of leading philanthropists, investors, and entrepreneurs.
View the full list of 2020 Fellows below and here:
- Jocelyne Agbo, founder of Farm On Wheels (Minna, Nigeria)
- Samlara Baah, founder of Loo Works Limited (Boston, MA)
- Shanté Elliott, founder of TasselTurn (Chicago, IL)
- Xavier Henderson and Taylor Toynes , founders of For Oak Cliff (Dallas, TX)
- John Johnson and Brigitte Vicenty, founders of Inner City Green Team (Bronx, NY)
- Lorenzo Lewis, founder of The Confess Project (Little Rock, AR)
- Charlot Magayi, founder of Mukuru Clean Stoves (Nairobi, Kenya)
- Muzalema Mwanza, founder of Safe Motherhood Alliance (Siavonga, Zambia)
- Christine Nieves, founder of Emerge Puerto Rico (Humacao, Puerto Rico)
- Shriti Pandey, founder of STRAWCTURE ECO (Delhi, India)
- Ruchi Varma, founder of HumanQind (Delhi, India)
The 2020 Echoing Green Fellows come from across the globe, working in seven different countries and territories (India, Ghana, Kenya, Zambia, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, and the United States) and U.S. cities including Dallas, Chicago, Little Rock, and New York City. Echoing Green selected the 13 talented winners from a pool of 3,134 applicants working in 161 countries after a 10-month vetting process.
These leaders begin their fellowships at a time of economic uncertainty and systems transformation due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the global reckoning with structural racism.
“Echoing Green Fellows have always pointed their systems-change solutions toward the intersecting inequities such as those that have been laid bare by both crises,” said Echoing Green President Cheryl L. Dorsey, who is a Fellow herself (1992). “The 2020 class is no different. From increasing food production in Nigeria’s remote areas by providing direct access to agricultural services; to promoting positive emotional well-being in Little Rock, AR by training Black barbers to be mental health advocates; to manufacturing clean cookstoves using recycled metal in Kenya, which local women business owners distribute—their insight, lived experience, and expertise give us the hope and solutions we need, right now, for a truly equitable and sustainable future.”
Echoing Green has provided more than $46 million in seed funding to emerging social entrepreneurs around the world since 1987. 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.
Echoing Green’s 2020 Fellowship class is supported by the generous support of the U.S. African Development Foundation; the Citi Foundation; Vikram Akula, a 1998 Fellow and founder of SKS Microfinance; and Sandra and Avi Nash, and the Indira Foundation.
This year, the U.S. African Development Foundation will provide seed capital to four African Fellows in the 2020 class for their social enterprises to further community-based development in sub-Saharan Africa that leads to pathways to prosperity for underserved communities. This three-year partnership is aimed at providing investment-readiness training and access to emerging leaders within the continent.
With the goal of building a more inclusive social entrepreneurship ecosystem, the Citi Foundation is supporting three Fellows in the 2020 class who are representing and working with communities of color in the United States. This work expands on Citi Foundation’s support of Echoing Green since 2018 as part of its Inclusive Social Entrepreneurship initiative.
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.
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