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2021 Social Impact
Talent Report

Meet the Finalists for the 2021 Echoing Green Fellowship
This year, we’re taking a different approach to our annual Social Impact Talent report by celebrating the Finalists vying for a 2021 Echoing Green Fellowship and spotlighting the collective impact of the spring 2021 Fellowship applicants.

Explore the themes among this year’s applicants
Meet the 2021 finalists

With nearly 1,500 applicants for the 2021 class, we’re seeing a lot of ideas that make us hopeful about our shared future. From catalyzing change in criminal justice systems in the U.S and Nigeria; diversifying the legal profession by advocating for law students of color; to survivor-informed efforts tackling the traumas of gender-based violence, the 51 Echoing Green Fellowship Finalists from this year’s pool are global leaders working in their communities to drive change from all angles. They are advancing racial justice by creating a world free from structural racism and the related conditions that bolster its presence and preservation.

Before you jump into the list of this year’s Finalists, check out some of the themes and takeaways we’ve observed from the 2021 applicants.

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Themes for Social Impact

Global Challenges Need Global Solutions

Among the many lessons to come out of the global pandemic is just how interconnected the world is — how a microscopic virus continues to overwhelm the world’s systems and widen the structural inequities that compose these systems. The connection between our systems also presents an opportunity to drive justice forward worldwide. As we opened our search for 2021 Fellows, applicants demonstrated the simple truth that dismantling racism requires a global approach and commitment within our communities over the long haul.

This year, we received nearly 1,500 applications from over 100 countries.

From preparing Black and Brown youth to become civic leaders in the U.S. through a culturally affirming public speaking program; putting the voices of citizens at the heart of public health decision-making in Tanzania; to employing migrant communities in the border regions of Colombia and Brazil through skills training, applicants are battling systemic injustices all over the world.

Use the dashboard below to take a deeper look into the impact location, citizenship, race & ethnicity, and gender of our spring 2021 applicant pool.

The Power of Proximity

When we think about sustained social impact and bringing the most innovative solutions to the table, Echoing Green believes one of the most effective ways to do that is to fund people who are closest to the problem their work addresses. Directly impacted by the issues they’re determined to confront, these leaders bring their lived experience into their work as they co-design solutions with and for their communities.

Lin Thu Hein of Atutu training Hein Htet Aung

Lin Thu Hein (left) training Atutu Fellow Hein Htet Aung (right) on the latest design of solar home system before the first installation in Myanmar. Photo courtesy of Atutu.

We’re seeing this among our Finalists. Born and raised in Tulsa, OK, Tyrance Billingsley founded Black Tech Street with the Black Tulsan community to strengthen the Black innovation economy in the city whose Greenwood District was known as Black Wall Street. Experiencing first-hand humanitarian and development assistance while growing up in Myanmar, Lin Thu Hein founded Atutu to dismantle energy inequity by elevating the innovative solutions of young leaders from the community. Atutu works toward a world where communities are leading development efforts.

Impact Through Intersectional Justice

Structural inequalities combine to compound even more harm at the hands of oppressive systems. An intersectional analysis of the pandemic’s social, health, and economic consequences, examining the cumulative effect of overlapping social identities and discrimination, demonstrates that COVID-19 has further disrupted long-standing institutional and systemic inequalities for Black women from unemployment to maternal mortality rates. Solving these issues requires resourcing the approaches that tackle interrelating structures of inequalities across lines of gender, race, class, and more.

For example, Renee Bracey Sherman founded We Testify to educate on the complexities of accessing abortion care by elevating the voices of abortion storytellers at the intersection of race, class, and gender identity.

Renee Bracey Sherman, of We Testify, speaks to supporters

Renee Bracey Sherman, founder of We Testify, speaks to supporters organized by the Center for Reproductive Rights rally at the U.S. Supreme Court during the hearing of oral arguments in June Medical Services v. Russo on March 4, 2020 in Washington D.C. Photo courtesy of Eric Kayne and the Center for Reproductive Rights.

The needs and tactical approach assessments in our 2021 Fellowship application allowed applicants to multi-select the goals of their work and methods by which they are doing their work. Click around in the dashboard below to see the various interconnected and intersectional ways that Finalists are addressing the most existential challenges of our day.

Systems Change for a Sustainable World

Echoing Green Fellowship applicants are not just filling gaps left by inequitable systems—they are dramatically reshaping systems, structures, and hierarchies to redress generations of harm. These visionary leaders are reimagining and redesigning systems to center community-driven solutions grounded in healing, restoration, and accountability in service of a just, equitable, and sustainable future.

Born from the stories that founder and Finalist Taylar Nuevelle heard while incarcerated, Who Speaks For Me (WSFM) is a prison abolition organization working to create alternatives to incarceration for women, girls, and LGBTQ+ people who are impacted by the justice system.

What’s next for these innovative movement-builders today?

As Echoing Green continues to foster an ecosystem where those closest to the problems are supported to lead the solutions, we believe that current rhetoric around recovery and reimagination can and must transform into action. To get there, it is essential to build coalitions among funders, leaders, and communities on the frontlines. The potential among these change-makers knows no bounds; it’s up to us all to collaborate now and for the long haul to advance equity and sustainability in the face of harmful systems that do not work for everyone.

These 51 leaders are Finalists for the 2021 Echoing Green Fellowship. The 2021 class will be announced in September 2021. Explore this list to check out these leaders and their work to advance racial justice and combat systemic oppression around the world!

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2021 Echoing Green Finalists

Mohamed Aburawi


Oluwafunke Adeoye

Hope Behind Bars Africa Initiative

Rumaitha Al Busaidi


José Antonio Aguilar-Contreras


Angellica Aribam

Femme First Foundation

Alexander Bailey

Black Outside, Inc.
United States

Tyrance Billingsley

Black Tech Street
United States

Annessa Blackmun

Nourish the Soil
United States

Renee Bracey Sherman

We Testify
United States

David Curtiss

Building Hope Project

Sirrita Darby

Detroit Heals Detroit
United States

Clifford Dawkins

Association of Diverse American Mediators (ADAM)
United States

James Dold

Human Rights for Kids
United States

Enrique Jose Garcia


Pertula George-Redd

United States

Daisy Han

Embracing Equity
United States

Marcus Harden

The Academy for Creating Excellence
United States

Lin Thu Hein


Charmaine Hunte

Social Innovations Caribbean

Shawon Jackson

Vocal Justice
United States

Jamie LeShaé Jenkins

Building Opportunities & Opening Minds (BOOM)
United States

Tequila Johnson

The Equity Alliance
United States

Juvaria Khan

The Appellate Project (TAP)
United States

Okong'o Kinyanjui

Queer African Network

Terrance Lewis

The Liberation Foundation
United States

Joy Lindsay

Butterfly Dreamz, Inc.
United States

Kathy Lu

Immigrant History Initiative
United States

Nnaceesay Marenah

Teach For The Gambia
The Gambia

Nneka Mobisson

mDoc Healthcare

Deqo Mohamed

The Hagarla Institute

Tabitha Mpamira

EDJA Foundation

Helga Mutasingwa

Afya Pamoja

Dan Hkung Awng Nbyen

Kachinland College

Taylar Nuevelle

Who Speaks For Me
United States

Uzoma Orchingwa

Ameelio Inc.
United States

Arnulfo Oxlaj


Apurva P.

Swabhiman Organisation

Dee Punungwe

GGEM Farming

Anita Ravi

PurpLE Health Foundation
United States

Mariolga Reyes Cruz

Fideicomiso de Tierras Comunitarias para la Agricultura Sostenible
United States

Jahmeer Reynolds

Marin County Cooperation Team
United States

Tania Rosas

Fundación El Origen

Armin Salek

Youth Justice Alliance
United States

Emily Schaeffer Omerman


Suzanne Singer

Native Renewables Inc.
United States

Brandon Smith

The Forestry and Fire Recruitment Program
United States

Ashante Taylorcox

You Are More Than Inc.
United States

Wiatta Jayna Thomas

AquaFarms Africa

Tiffany Tong

Aeloi Technologies

Deloris Wilson

Axle Impact Studio
United States

Haroon Yasin