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Innovating Our Fellowship

Echoing Green Fellows hold the blueprints for building an equitable future. At this remarkably challenging time for social innovation work, we’re planning for what Echoing Green needs to do to invest deeply in our community as they reimagine and build anew.

Echoing Green runs a fellowship program built for social entrepreneurs who boldly declare that there is only possibility in our futures. They embrace this sentiment through their leadership. In the face of a pandemic, climate crises, and global uprisings against racism, police brutality, and gender-based violence, running a social impact organization that is genuinely invested in building power among its community is a necessary act of optimism. This type of leadership is what the world requires: people close to the problems with the sharp moral imagination and courage needed to help shape new, equitable systems.

At the end of 2019, our team engaged in dialogues about Echoing Green’s north star—building an equitable and sustainable world—and how our work can best help to get us there. These conversations encouraged us to test our assumptions about how we maximize our impact, and in many ways, readied us to face new hurdles spurred by the effects of the global pandemic this year. As we enter the second half of 2020, we’re laser-focused on how Echoing Green can best meet this moment as part of the social innovation movement.

We provide money and vital leadership development support to Fellows, and over the last three decades, we have become a global community of nearly 1,000 people working to disrupt inequities. Now, Echoing Green is disrupting our model to help accelerate their progress. Over the coming year, we’ll be making some exciting modifications to our work while ensuring we are doing all we can to support our existing Fellow community. We are organizing this effort around three pillars: 1) providing wellbeing and culturally-competent support, 2) breaking down barriers to capital and opportunity, and 3) building mutual support networks to transform how power is distributed and wielded.

Smaller Class, Deepened Impact

In addition to supporting our current Fellows, we are selecting 13 Fellows for our 2020 class (meet our 2020 Fellows). By working with a smaller class than in recent years, we’re intentionally creating room to sharpen our work and redouble our commitment to supporting social innovators at this critical time.

There are many reasons that starting and maintaining a social enterprise is hard—they are amplified by the effects of a pandemic and the resulting economic retrenchment from the social sector. But social entrepreneurs, especially those proximate to the issues they address through their work, bring tactics that are necessary for solving so many of the inequities laid bare by these crises. Starting with welcoming our newest class members this summer, we will do everything we can to help sustain all our Fellows and ensure that they and their visions for the future will thrive.

To be sure, dismantling systemic oppression is a long and nonlinear effort. But we believe the Echoing Green community has what it takes to drive toward a future that is just, thriving, and equitable much faster. We’re excited for Fellows to co-create with us as we evolve Echoing Green’s model to further mobilize the social innovation field to challenge old systems and old ways of operating. There is no better time to leap toward the future Echoing Green alongside our Fellows and new and existing partners. We look forward to sharing what we learn along the way.

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