Impact of
the Fellows

Ashoka Fellows work in every area of human need and represent one of the most diverse communities of changemakers in the United States. Each is implementing a new idea for solving a social problem in their own way. But all our Fellows are defined by a common commitment to systemic-level change — to addressing the root causes of the problems we see rather than treating symptoms in perpetuity.

Ashoka Fellows are
Systems change experts


focus on shifting mindsets and cultural norms


Trabian Shorters

Trabian changes how the philanthropy sector talks about those it serves: Asset framing shifts the narrative to define people by their aspirations and contribution, not by their despair and weakness – a precondition for achieving equity and inclusion.




Ai-jen Poo

Ai-jen has led the effort to pass a Domestic Worker Bill of Rights in nine U.S. states now, guaranteeing overtime pay and sick leave for the millions of workers who care for our loved ones, clean our homes, and much more.





Bren revitalizes fishing communities along the country’s coasts, helping blue-collar workers transition from fishing to ocean farming: growing oysters, sea greens and more in a way that restores our oceans.

The Future of Ocean Farming
Ashoka Fellow Bren Smith


bren smith does what Fellows do: envision the future 10-15+ years out, and build it. He is proving that we don’t have to choose between jobs and the environment, and making sure that a new Blue-Green economy is structured so that workers benefit most. Enjoy this several-minute introduction to the future of ocean farming.

Play Video

Ashoka Fellows are
at the Front Lines of
Advancing Equity

Priti KrishtelReforming our drug patent system so life-saving medicines are affordable to all José QuiñonezCreating pathways for immigrant communities to build mainstream credit Christina Fialho Co-authored 2019 California Bill banning growth of private, for-profit immigrant detention facilities Alison LinganeClosing the racial wealth gap via a major shift to employee ownership George McGrawBringing running water to the 2 million Americans who lack it Nick TilsenEquipping Indigenous people with the tools they need to shape their own futures Angelou EzeiloRecruiting a new generation of diverse environmental leaders Aijen PooGuaranteeing basic labor protections for caregivers and domestic workers Laura Emiko SoltisProviding access to quality higher education for undocumented young people Brandon DennisonGuiding coal mining communities through an economic transition to renewable energy Morgan DixonBuilding a movement of Black women to reclaim their health via walking Will JacksonCreating racially affirming learning environments for Black students, beginning in North Carolina Yeshimabeit MilnerTransforming data from a tool of control to a force for social justice movements Adam FossRooting out systemic racism in our criminal justice system

These are just 14 of 300 Fellows in the US and 4,000 globally, the large majority of whom address systems that perpetuate inequity

Ashoka Fellows Build
Citizen Power

Defense Network

Raj Jayadev changes the balance of power in our court system by recruiting family and friends of those accused of a crime to help chronically under-resourced public defenders better serve their clients.
Now across the country, tens of thousands of mothers and sisters, coworkers and neighbors are involved in a “participatory defense” movement. And they’ve saved 7,000 years of prison time already.
Like with all of our Fellows, Raj’s goal is not to “serve” others but rather to empower and accompany them as changemakers in their own right. To bring more and newer voices to the table.

Play Video

Fellow Impact:
Broad and deep

of Fellows see their ideas replicated by independent groups
have changed government budget allocations
people reached directly by US Fellows on average (and 600,000 reached indirectly via policy change, etc.)



We find the creative innovators, including in unexpected places. Our rigorous selection process and criteria have been refined and tested for four decades.


We support these individuals and their teams directly. Ashoka Fellows receive tailored feedback, customized support, and a financial stipend. Since 2001 we have invested $30M into U.S. social entrepreneurs.


We connect Ashoka Fellows to each other and to other institutions that can advance their work. From Day 1, Fellows join the most extensive, diverse community of peer entrepreneurs in the world.


We grow their impact. The Ashoka network helps entrepreneurs envison and then step into their next level of impact and influence.

A Fellowship
Lifts All Boats

Each Ashoka Fellow joins a global network of 4,000 peers — a lifelong learning and impact community like no other.

Ashoka has been a bullhorn for our call to action — spreading our idea across the planet."

"Ashoka is a homecoming for social entrepreneurs who have been homeless. There is no better community that understands the loneliness of leadership."

Ashoka is a network of individuals who don’t understand limits or boundaries – people who don’t care for the convention of the day."

I literally would not have been able to continue building this solution if I hadn’t received the stipend from Ashoka in the development years."


of Fellows credit Ashoka with refining and deepening their impact
Fellows report they collaborate with 4 other fellows on average after being elected


of Fellows are still working toward their visions 10 years after becoming Fellows

the ashoka bump:
fellows exhibit more growth

Compared to their peers who do not get Ashoka fellowships (black line), Fellows (blue line) grow at 2.5x the rate over the 10 years after they join the network.

10 YEARS PRIOR TO ASHOKA ELECTION A v e r a g e y early bud g et 10 YEARS AFTER ASHOKA ELECTION FELLOWS $13,546,447 $5,367,095 N O N-FELLO W PEERS Based on a sample of 130 organizations in the U.S. ASHOKA ELECTION
News from
the world of changemakers

This site uses cookies to deliver content, provide enhanced features, and analyze performance. By clicking “Accept”, you agree to setting these cookies as outlined in the Cookie Policy.


Get notifications to one or more of our Live events.