Meet who’s next in social entrepreneurship: With fifty-five Fellows leading forty-two organizations, meet Echoing Green’s largest class of Fellows in its twenty-seven year history.
From JustLeadershipUSA’s ambitious proposal to reduce crime and cut the U.S. prison population in half by 2030 to ATLAS: DIY’s focus on incubation spaces providing free legal resources as well as career, college prep and arts enrichment for undocumented immigrant youth, this year’s class represents the next generation of social innovators.
The 2014 class—comprising of three cohorts of Global, Open Society Black Male Achievement and Climate Fellows—are on the forefront of promising ideas for social change. Here are the trends from this class that apply to larger global movements:
- Growing interest in social entrepreneurship: Echoing Green received 2,875 applications for the 2014 Fellowships—representing a selection rate of less than two percent. The Fellowship selection process involved more than 400 expert evaluators over the course of six months.
- Creating global reach: More than 120 countries were represented in the application pool; 2014 Fellowship organizations are working in 33 countries; and 75 percent of the Fellowship organizations are largely working outside of the U.S., including the first two Fellowship organizations—Koe Koe Tech and Fortify Rights—working in the Southeast Asian country of Myanmar, considered to have one of the lowest levels of human development in the world according to the 2013 Human Development Index.
- Mounting attention on impact investing: 40 percent of this year’s Fellowship organizations are for-profit or hybrid social enterprises. They will be supported to tap into the burgeoning field of impact investors. This includes PRIME Coalition, a member-based organization that connects philanthropists and family offices to high-risk, high-reward investment opportunities that address climate change.
- Millennials leading social change: 18-year old Kenyan Tom Osborn is the founder of GreenChar, a clean charcoal provider, and the youngest-ever Echoing Green Fellow. Further, the average age of the 2014 Fellows is just 30 years old.
- Bringing sustainability to the forefront: The introduction of the Climate Fellowship reflects a broader awareness of issues pertaining to sustainability, including Oroeco, an app that tracks people’s climate impact and rewards positive action, through the use of real-time financial data to suggest improvements and leverages users’ social networks to foster team collaboration and encourage competition for rewards.
- Expanding diversity: 46 percent of this year’s class of Fellows are women, which is higher than it has been in recent years; in fact, 70 percent of the Black Male Achievement Fellows—dedicated to improving the life outcomes of black men and boys in the U.S.— are women. Further, 27 percent of our 2014 Fellows identify as African, African-American or Black, 20 percent identify as Asian and Asian-American, and 4 percent identify as Latin American, Latino or Hispanic.
Echoing Green and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) also announce the first class of Global Fellows supported by a four-year, $4 million public-private partnership as one of many commitments to expand impact investment opportunities. The 2014 class of Global Fellows is the first of two classes supported by a Global Development Alliance between USAID and General Atlantic, Newman’s Own Foundation, The Pershing Square Foundation, and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. This shared-value partnership demonstrates U.S. Government investment and commitment to the expanding field of social entrepreneurship by both seeding a pipeline of social entrepreneurs and fostering the growth of social entrepreneurship ecosystems around the world. Often catalyzed by impact investing, social entrepreneurship and innovation are proven economic drivers that help create jobs and reduce poverty through sustainable market-based solutions.This year, the Black Male Achievement Fellows make up the third annual class, supported by the Open Society Foundations Campaign for Black Male Achievement. 2014 also marks the launch of the Climate Fellowship, developed in partnership with The ZOOM Foundation. Echoing Green is also supported by the Jerome L. Greene Foundation, which committed $5 million to underwrite a portion of the 2014 Global Fellows, as well as a portion of Global Fellows through the class of 2017.