There are black leaders making extremely powerful moves in their communities and Echoing Green, a prestigious fellowship program that helps transform their ideas into world-changing organizations, is here to recognize them. The organization recently announced 10 social entrepreneurs selected for its 2019 Black Male Achievement Fellowship.
This year’s Black Male Achievement Fellows include:
• Austin Martin, 24, Rhymes with Reason: Making it possible for teachers and students to use hip-hop lyrics as a teaching tool to strengthen vocabulary and literacy skills. (San Diego, California)
• Antoine Patton, 32, Photo Patch Foundation: Uses mobile technology to enable children to ship letters and pictures to parents in prison free of charge. (Fort Myers, Florida)
• Hadiyah Mujhid, 40, HBCUvc: Expanding access to capital to black entrepreneurs by training students attending historical black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in venture capital entrepreneurship. (San Francisco, California)
• Kristin Adair, 39, and Halim Flowers, 39, Unchained Media Collective: Change the narrative about mass incarceration and reimagine justice by training currently and formerly incarcerated people to use film and multimedia production to become advocates and tell their stories. (Washington, D.C.)
• Darius Ballinger, 28, Chasing23 Youth Empowerment Group: Reduce the juvenile recidivism rate among young men of color in Cook County, Illinois, by providing transitional employment and individual support. (Chicago, Illinois)
• Tolulope Sonuyi, 38, and Raymond Winans, 41, Detroit Life Is Valuable Everyday (DLIVE): Create pathways to health for youth who have been acutely injured by community violence by introducing innovative health-centered strategies for violence intervention and prevention. (Detroit, Michigan)
• William Evans, 42, Neighborhood Benches: Break the cycle of youth violence and incarceration of black boys and men by creating leadership and educational models for them to change behaviors, build community, and organize for positive change. (New York, New York)
• Tanay Tatum-Edwards, 29, FreeCap: Reduce racial and economic inequality for prisoners in the United States by divesting from companies that profit from prisons and investing in criminal justice reform initiatives. (Washington, D.C.)
“I’m excited for myself and HBCUvc to be joining a network of social entrepreneurs making bold changes in their communities,” Hadiyah Mujhid told Black Enterprise in a statement. “Aside from the personal and professional growth that I expect to experience as part of the program, this will be transformative for HBCUvc as an organization. Connection and access to resources, in addition to the signaling that comes along with the fellowship will help us to amplify our mission.”
According to the organization’s website, they are dedicated to accelerating the growth of high-potential leaders whose organizations are tackling pressing issues like systemic racism, climate change, and gender inequality. The fellows will be provided seed funding of up to $90,000 and training and programmatic support for two years, as well as lifelong access into a global network of leading philanthropists, investors, and entrepreneurs.
Their community currently houses nearly 1,000 social innovators that include past fellows like First Lady, Michelle Obama, Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights founder, and CNN contributor Van Jones.
“After 30 years of supporting leaders around the globe, Echoing Green knows that the people closest to the problem are often closest to the solution,” said former Echoing Green Fellow and current President Cheryl L. Dorsey. “That’s why we are committed to supporting these impressive young leaders in realizing their visions for change. We are inspired by their passion for tackling problems in a fundamentally new way and by their ability to mobilize others to support their cause.”
The Echoing Green’s 2019 Fellowship class is funded by private contributions from Citi Foundation, U.S. African Development Foundation, Jerome L. Greene Foundation, and Fund II Foundation.