2021 Social Impact
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
2021 Echoing Green Finalists
Nourish the Soil
Association of Diverse American Mediators (ADAM)
Emily Schaeffer Omerman