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Look ahead with our 2019 Ashoka Fellows



by Megan Villanueva

How do we update our labor movements for 21st century work? Will training prosecutors differently have an outsized impact on criminal justice reform? How do we revitalize our public institutions in an era of increasing privatization? Right now, all across the country, social innovators are taking on these and other big challenges. They imagine a new way forward and build it for everyone, for the good of all. Meet our 14 newest U.S. Ashoka Fellows here and follow along via Twitter, Instagram, or/and Facebook in the weeks ahead.

Sixto Cancel is helping young adults who “age out” of the foster care system lead its transformation and support each other via peer insights and technology. For more, read his Ashoka profile and Forbes Q&A.

Michelle Miller is building a 21st Century labor movement that uses digital organizing methodology to give voice and shift power to workers. For more, read her Ashoka profile.

Jessica Schreiber is creating a new model for managing textile waste at scale and engaging designers to weave an ethos of sustainability throughout their design cycle. For more, read her Ashoka profile  and Forbes Q&A.

Adam Foss is repairing our criminal justice system by shifting the culture and norms among prosecutors in the U.S. For more, read his Ashoka profile.

Sonya Passi is transforming the domestic violence movement from a mindset of crisis response to building stability through financial security and asset building. For more, read her Ashoka profile.

Kristina Saffran is building a new model of community-based peer support and care for people with eating disorders. For more, read her Ashoka profile.

George McGraw works with communities in an open, participatory way to ensure that every American has access to clean, running water forever. For more, read his Ashoka profile.

Alison Lingane is building demand for employee-owned businesses and facilitating the transition of companies to this more equitable model. For more, read her Ashoka profile.

Scott Strode has launched a national, sober active community that celebrates the triumphs of people in recovery and challenges the stigma of addiction. For more, read his Ashoka profile and Forbes Q&A.

Nina Simon convenes a global network that challenges the expectations of “public institutions” by helping organizations become of, by and for their communities. For more, read her Ashoka profile and Forbes Q&A.

Yeshimabeit Milner is building a movement of data scientists and community change makers to transform data as a tool of control to a powerful force for social change. For more, read her Ashoka profile.

Swapna Reddy is using technology and a new vision for the legal aid system to permanently reform the asylum-seeking process in the U.S. For more, read her Ashoka profile.

William Jackson is supporting Black children to succeed in school by creating the racially affirming learning environments that Black children need to thrive. For more, read his Ashoka profile.

Laura Wilson Phelan is helping school communities to embrace the goal of “collective wellbeing” through structured dialogues between diverse groups of parents. For more, read her Ashoka profile and Forbes Q&A.


Ashoka searches the world for leading social entrepreneurs through an intensive, human-centered process, selecting them into our global, trust-based fellowship of peers, now 3,500 Ashoka Fellows in over 70 countries.

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