Workplace Innovations · · 29 min read

32 Inspiring Nonprofit Leaders Who Will Impact the World in 2022

These nonprofit leaders profiled below exhibit the essential attributes of an impactful nonprofit leader, and their organizations will undoubtedly impact the world in 2022.

Nonprofit Leaders Who Will Impact the World in 2022

According to Guidestar there are approximately 1.5 million recognized 501(c)3 organizations based in the United States and an estimated 10 million worldwide.

The Stanford Social Innovation Review notes these organizations account for 5-10 percent of the United States’ economy and about 10 percent of U.S. employment.

Obviously COVID-19 has impacted many sectors of our society and the nonprofit sector is no different. A John Hopkins report estimates that the sector lost 1.6 million jobs in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic between March and May 2020.

COVID-19 did have somewhat of a silver lining for the sector, in that more people than ever gave and donated online.

In 2020, online giving grew by 20.7% compared to 2019 and represented 13% of all charitable giving. This was the first year that online giving eclipsed 10% of all charitable giving.

There is another recent report by The Urban Institutes that outlines the latest updates and trends in the nonprofit sector.

Some of the highlights are:

  • 40% of organizations reported losses in total revenue for 2020 (including 54% of arts organizations and 36% of all other nonprofits). Organizations that reported less revenue lost an average of 31% of total revenue and 7% of their paid staff.
  • Total volunteers declined by 33% on average in 2020; regular volunteers decreased 25%, and episodic volunteers decreased 40%. Nonprofits in rural areas had the largest declines.
  • Most nonprofits (55%) have programs that serve the general public, and 45% have programs that focus on people and families below the federal poverty level.
  • 70% of boards have at least one board member who identifies as a person of color. On average, half of board members identify as women.
  • 34% have at least one board member with a disclosed disability and 44% have at least one board member who identifies as LGBTQ+.
  • 16% of nonprofits that primarily focus on serving people of color have all-white boards.
  • 21% percent of executive directors are people of color and 62% of executive directors are female

For more compelling and well researched nonprofit data, nonprofit leaders can check out Alyssa Conrardy’s post about 2021 Nonprofit Stats.

Nonprofit organizations are a crucial part to not only the U.S. economy, but also to our global economy. It’s inspiring to see so many talented and dedicated nonprofit leaders leap into the nonprofit sector to enhance giving into the modern era.

Most of the year, the Causeartist focus is showcasing startups and for-profit businesses solving social issues, but each year I use this time to highlight and showcase nonprofit leaders dedicating their lives – everyday to their missions and respective causes.

Private business and nonprofits will always have a huge responsibility to work together on partnerships, ideas, and strategies to solve the issues of our world.

These nonprofit leaders profiled below exhibit the essential attributes of an impactful nonprofit leader, and their organizations will undoubtedly impact the world in 2022.

If you are interested in seeing the nonprofit leaders from the previous years you can check them out here 2019 // 2020 // 2021.

This content is supported by: Asana for Nonprofits

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Mary Zhu // Develop for Good

32 Nonprofit Leaders Who Will Impact the World in 2022 - Mary Zhu - Develop for Good

Mary Zhu is a Co-founder and Executive Director of Develop for Good, a nonprofit that pairs and supports underrepresented university student volunteers as they design and develop tech products for other nonprofits.

At the onset of the pandemic back in spring 2020, it was projected that tens of thousands of nonprofits across the U.S. would shut down in a year without technical or financial support. At the same time, millions of university students were sent home, with many forced to deal with canceled internships and student activities.

After spotting these critical needs from both nonprofits and college students, Stanford University juniors Mary Zhu and Amay Aggarwal co-founded Develop for Good.

The organization’s goal is to offer student volunteers opportunities to gain technical, collaborative project experience, all while creating real-world social impact.

They have clients at major nonprofits including UNICEF, World Health Organization, Smithsonian Institution, World Bank, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Environmental Defense Fund.

To date, they have accumulated over 79,000 volunteer hours, with their projects estimated to save their nonprofit clients over $3.7 million in development costs.

Develop for Good also seeks to empower and provide real-world project experiences to underrepresented groups in tech. Two-thirds of their student developers and designers have been female; one-third have been first-generation or low-income (FLI) students.

Bivian “Sonny” Lee III // Son of a Saint

Bivian “Sonny” Lee III - President/Executive Director of Son of a Saint

As President/Executive Director of Son of a Saint, Bivian “Sonny” Lee III has dedicated his life to enhancing the lives of fatherless boys. Since establishing the organization in early 2011, Sonny has grown Son of a Saint to reach 200 boys with an operating budget of more than $3 million.

Prior to founding the organization, Sonny served as chief aide to Tom Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans. He was previously Director of Operations for the New Orleans Zephyrs AAA baseball team and Director of the New Orleans Jazz Institute.

Sonny graduated with honors from St. Augustine High School and later earned a degree in marketing and management from the University of New Orleans. He is currently pursuing his Executive Master of Nonprofit Administration at Notre Dame.

A TEDx speaker on community service, decision-making and the importance of education, Sonny’s nonprofit work has been highlighted on CNN, Al Jazeera America, NPR and local television stations and newspapers. His work on behalf of the community and the Son of a Saint organization has garnered numerous awards.

Son of a Saint exists to transform the lives of fatherless boys through mentorship, emotional support, development of life skills, exposure to constructive experiences and formation of positive, lasting peer-to-peer relationships.

Each year, Son of a Saint selects a group of boys ages 10-12 to join the existing kids in the program. The boys must be fatherless due to their father’s death or incarceration.

Each boy remains an official Son of a Saint mentee until age 18, but the connection remains until age 21 as Son of a Saint continues to advise these young men into young adulthood.

The goal is to graduate self-sufficient, independent thinkers who are leaders and give back to their community.

Gerald Abila // BarefootLaw

Gerald Abila is the Founder and Executive Director of BarefootLaw. An Attorney, Legal Futurist and Consultant on Law and Technology.

He strongly advocates for the adoption of technology by the legal profession, and has delivered a number of talks, including the United Nations and Ted X on various topics including the role of technology and innovation in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

He was named among the Top 100 Legal Consultants and Strategists in the world for 2016 by the Law Dragon, one of the leading legal publications in New York, USA for his use of internet and technology to transform the legal profession.

BarefootLaw is a nonprofit organization which through the innovative use of digital technology, empowers people with free legal information so that they can use it to develop legal solutions for their justice needs.

Omny Miranda Martone // Sexual Violence Prevention Association

Omny Miranda Martone // Sexual Violence Prevention Association

Omny Miranda Martone is the Founder and CEO of the Sexual Violence Prevention Association (SVPA). Omny is a survivor of child sexual abuse and campus rape. They wanted to prevent this from happening to anyone else so they began working for nonprofits dedicated to sexual violence.

After six years, they had worked for some of the top nonprofits in the field advocating for survivors’ rights, accompanying them to the hospital, supplying legal aid, and providing counseling and other support services.

Though this work is incredibly important and impactful, Omny realized they were helping survivors heal but they weren’t preventing sexual violence. Omny wanted to prevent people from becoming survivors in the first place.

They knew this would require large-scale systemic change including legislative action, institutional reformation, and extensive research.

After years of research and grassroots organizing with survivors, Omny founded the Sexual Violence Prevention Association (SVPA) with the mission to prevent sexual violence systemically by revolutionizing policy, research, and institutions.

Omny’s work with the SVPA has been recognized by the United Nations Millennium Fellowship where they were granted a fellowship to expand the organization. Due to their effectiveness and impact as a social entrepreneur, they were awarded the role of Regional Director of the United Nations Millennium Fellowship.

In the past year, Omny was selected to join the Global Giving Accelerator and the Greater Sum Incubator. They also led the SVPA to win third place in the Greater Sum Pitch Competition.

In 2021, Omny testified before the Department of Education advocating for sexual violence prevention within Title IX. Previously, they have testified before the state and city legislatures in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, San Francisco, and San Jose.

Omny graduated summa cum laude from Brown University with a Master’s in Public Policy. They also graduated summa cum laude from Northeastern University with a Bachelor’s in Human Services.

Omny also has a graduate certificate in Social Entrepreneurship from the University of California, Berkeley. Lastly, they are a certified Rape Crisis Advocate and Sexual Assault Counselor.

Juvaria Khan // The Appellate Project

Juvaria Khan // The Appellate Project

Juvaria founded The Appellate Project in 2019. A civil rights litigator by background, she is driven by the belief that our courts are strongest when they reflect our communities.

The Appellate Project empowers law students of color to become the next generation of attorneys and judges in the highest courts in the United States.

By developing racial equity–rooted networks and innovative training opportunities, The Appellate Project ensures students can thrive in an area of legal practice historically inaccessible to them.

As appellate attorneys and judges, they will bring their diverse experiences into the room when deciding what U.S. laws mean and how they impact communities. The Appellate Project’s goal is to create a stronger, more equitable, and more representative legal system for everyone.

Juvaria’s interest in the law stems from her passion for civil rights advocacy. After clerking for the Honorable Michael P. Shea in the District Court of the District of Connecticut, Juvaria worked at the law firm of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, where she maintained a heavy pro bono practice focusing on racial and religious discrimination claims.

She then served as a Senior Staff Attorney at Muslim Advocates, where she successfully combined litigation and public campaign strategies in cases ranging from public accommodation claims to religious land use lawsuits.

Alexis Akarolo // Rebuildtheblock

Alexis Akarolo - Rebuild the Block

Alexis Akarolo is the co-founder of Rebuildtheblock, and organization rebuilding communities and fostering small business growth one block at a time.

Rebuildtheblock is an organization that serves as a community liaison that bridges black business owners with reputable resources to promote generational wealth and capital in the black community.

Rebuildtheblock directly addresses the need for accessible, financial, and social capital to improve the conditions of black-owned businesses and by extension, the communities that they impact. Research, advocacy, and service are at the forefront of the mission.

The organization is committed to the investment in the development and expansion of black business ownership and entrepreneurship through mission driven programming and access to financial gains.

Rakmi Shaiza // Stitching Change

Rakmi Shaiza // Stitching Change

Ramki was born and raised in a town called Ukhrul situated in Northeast India near Burma. As a girl and young woman growing up there, she witnessed the difficult times that the Hao (Tangkhul) tribal community went through because of drugs, AIDS, and military occupation, which resulted in much social and political unrest.

She has seen friends and family members suffer from addiction, and attended funerals for many of them.

During this confusing time, hope, creativity, and dreams for better social and political conditions became a luxury for those who were lucky enough to survive. Against all odds, Ramki kept dreaming of a community free from drugs, alcohol, and AIDS.

Ramki is deeply concerned about the world’s refugee problems, especially in Africa, Burma, Syria and Nepal. She believes it is possible to help these countries build peace, so that their citizens do not have to flee their own communities.

She also believes that we need more women leaders in peacemaking, community-building, health care, education, and building a world with clean air and water, healthy food, and a livable climate.

Ramki founded Stitching Change not only to help empower refugee women, but to also be part of the change that she wants to see happening in the community. She strongly believes that when women are empowered and creative, the community becomes stronger and healthier.

The women of Stitching Change not only learn about sewing and other skills, but together they are learning how to take care of one another and extend care to the larger global community.

Stitching Change brings women together to work collaboratively, market their products, and provide them with supplementary income. They also work to repurpose surplus and scrap fabrics into beautiful, handcrafted products, keeping them out of the landfill and preventing pollution.

The organization believes all women should have the opportunity to express their creativity while contributing to building a better society. Their resilient, refugee women work in collaboration to establish better lives for themselves, their families, and their communities.

Alex Bailey // Black Outside

Alex Bailey // Black Outside

From the fresh smell of mint leaves in his grandfather’s garden to fishing trips with his grandparents on the Clear Fork river in Ohio; Alex’s familiar connection to the outdoors always inspired him to connect deeply with nature, particularly in life’s hardest moments.

This foundational love and connection to nature led him to envision a program which radically transforms outdoor spaces and programming to be a beacon of joy and liberation for Black youth — later to be known as Black Outside.

Between 2018 and 2019, founder Alex Bailey embarked on a journey to observe and shadow summer camps and outdoor programs across the country to better understand the impact outdoor programming has on youth.

He took those learnings and, alongside an amazing community of people, and began building a culturally relevant outdoor program in the city of San Antonio which today collectively serves 150+ Black youth across central Texas.

Alex is a proud fellow the National Willd Gift fellowship, The International Echoing Green Fellowship, a 2019 TedxSan Antonio speaker (Recolor the Outdoors), and currently serves as the Board President for Black Outside.

Black Outside has one simple mission: Reconnect Black/ African-American youth to the outdoors through culturally relevant outdoor experiences.

With the knowledge that only 1% of Texas state park participants identify as Black/African-American, Black Outside was founded with one simple mission: reconnecting Black/African-American youth to the outdoors.

Through culturally relevant programming, inspired volunteers, and passion for connecting youth to the powerful history of Black people in the outdoors, the organization seeks to move the needle on diversity in the outdoors and ensure the youth have safe and equitable spaces outside.

Daniel Bögre Udell // Wikitongues

Daniel Bögre Udell // Wikitongues

Daniel is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Wikitongues. Through Wikitongues he leads a movement of 1000+ volunteers fighting for everyone to have the tools to promote and pass on their languages to future generations.

Half the world’s languages could disappear in a generation, erasing half of all human knowledge. Wikitongues safeguards language documentation, expands access to mother-tongue resources, and directly supports language revitalization projects.

They have:

  • Created resources in 700+ languages
  • Free training for language activists
  • Annual grants for language projects

Applications are open for their language revitalization accelerator. Get funding and dedicated support for starting a language project in your community.

You can also join their global network of grassroots linguists and add your mother tongue to the seed bank of language diversity. Add videos, audio recordings, or text documents.

Dr. Deqo Mohamed // The Hagarla Institute

Dr. Deqo Mohamed // The Hagarla Institute

Dr. Deqo Mohamed is the founder and executive director of the Hagarla Institute. The organization develops sustainable health care systems in Somalia and the surrounding region.

Dr. Mohamed grew up feeding the refugees her mother was harboring. She earned an MD in Moscow in 2000 and was an OB-GYN resident in Russia until 2003. Deqo continually traveled back to Somalia to serve internally displaced people in Mogadishu.

She came to America as a refugee in 2003 and gained extensive experience working in health care.

Deqo then founded a primary and secondary school in Somalia and strengthened regional education and health care systems by launching Aspire Africa, a training and mentorship program for teachers in post-conflict zones, and running mobile health clinics throughout the rural region.

Today, she works full time on the ground in Somalia and leads nationwide project for maternal health at Hagarla Health Centers. Dr. Mohamed is Yale World Fellow, Echoing Green Fellow, and Honorary at Chatham University 2017.

Suzanne Singer // Native Renewables

Native Renewables

As a co-founder of Native Renewables, Suzanne is able to implement programs to address the lack of electricity for 15,000 families on Navajo Nation and empower families with the knowledge to sustain off-grid photovoltaics (PV) systems.

She is a mechanical engineer with a PhD. Spending time on the Diné (Navajo) reservation instilled the importance of energy efficiency and water conservation.

The mission of Native Renewables is to empower Native American families to achieve energy independence by growing renewable energy capacity and affordable access to off-grid power.

The organization was formed to catalyze clean energy for Native American families and communities by building partnerships, seeking cost-effective solutions that will reduce fossil fuel use, and supporting local economic development and technical capacity building.

Native Renewables is a Native American led organization that is made up of engineers, solar entrepreneurs, and tribal members based on the Navajo Nation and Hopi reservation.

Brandon Smith // The Forestry and Fire Recruitment Program

Brandon Smith // The Forestry and Fire Recruitment Program

Brandon has worked for 5 years as a Wildland Firefighter for the US Forest Service; specializing in fuels and fire behavior surveying. During that time he has planned, supervised, assisted and evaluated projects such as meadow restorations and forest health – drought conditions.

Before that, Brandon worked in the nonprofit sector; as a Math Instructor at a budding charter school, and as the Data and Evaluation Coordinator for a Los Angeles based nonprofit.

He has a Bachelor of Arts in African American and Liberal Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and is a graduate of Victorville Valley Colleges Wildland Fire Academy.

His time is currently spent developing the Forestry and Fire Recruitment Program(FFRP); a nonprofit organization dedicated to training the next generation of Wildland Firefighters; from nontraditional and underrepresented communities.

FFRP envisions a California where those interested in being Wildland Firefighters have the opportunities and resources needed to do so. The FFRP, is a nonprofit organization developed in direct response to the growing need for wildland firefighters and emergency personnel.

The organization’s mission is to increase the supply of wildland firefighters / emergency personnel from nontraditional and underrepresented communities; by providing the trainings, skills and experiences needed to secure entry level jobs / careers with relevant agencies – giving social and career supports offered through a collaboration of stakeholders.

Sara Deren // Experience Camps

Sara Deren // Experience Camps

Experience Camps is a nonprofit that champions the nation’s 5.3 million bereaved children and runs a network of no-cost camps that help grieving children thrive. The programming for young people builds their coping resources, confidence, and resilience so they can experience a life rich with possibility.

Their content addresses childhood grief as an urgent health issue while helping to establish a more grief-smart culture for all of us.

Since 2009, Experience Camps has transformed the lives of thousands of children by reframing the experience of their grief and empowering them with the confidence, skills, and support to move forward with their lives.

Sara Deren is the founder and Chief Experience Officer of Experience Camps. Sara received her MBA from Columbia University and spent 12 years in the financial services industry before turning her full attention to camp.

Experience Camps was founded on Sara’s, and her husband, Jon’s, desire to provide the camp experience to children who would not otherwise have that opportunity.

She now uses her business background and love of camp to develop and operate Experience Camps, and to ensure that our campers enjoy the best that summer camp has to offer.

Jason Wang // FreeWorld

Jason Wang // FreeWorld

Jason is the founder of FreeWorld, a nonprofit organization that helps formerly incarcerated people into high-wage jobs to thrive on their own terms. With a newfound sense of stability, prison remains a memory for FreeWorld graduates.

Jason is also formerly incarcerated. He was incarcerated for a 1st degree felony (Aggravated Robbery) at the age of 15 and was given a 12-year sentence at a maximum security prison in Texas.

When released, he felt lost. The world had passed him by. Before going to prison Jason had a flip phone; when he was released, everyone was carrying around an iPhone 3.

Parole required Jason to get a job. Every time he applied for a job he was denied employment due to his felony conviction.

The jobs that would take him, paid less than $10/hour. Stealing and dealing paid better than that, but Jason knew that the next time he went to prison, he would end up doing life. He wanted to find a better way.

Since then, Jason has been blessed in life by good people who have invested in him, guided him, and believed in him. Jason earned a double Masters degree, started a few businesses, and got married.

Now, his life’s mission is to end mass incarceration. He plans on doing that by equipping 26 million formerly incarcerated people across the nation with the tools, education, and the jobs they need in order to live positive, productive lives.

Rabih Torbay // Project HOPE

Project HOPE

Rabih grew up in Lebanon during the country’s 16-year-long civil war. After completing his studies, he went to Sierra Leone, where he worked as a civil engineer during the civil war. The experience moved Rabih to leave his engineering business and dedicate himself to humanitarian work.

As a humanitarian affairs specialist and crisis response leader, Rabih Torbay has designed and implemented relief, transition and global health programs in some of the world’s most challenging conditions.

He has worked extensively responding to humanitarian crises in numerous countries across continents, including Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Sudan, Syria, Lebanon and the United States.

Since becoming Project HOPE President & CEO in 2019, Torbay has elevated the organization’s mission and evolved its global health, humanitarian response and sustainable development programs.

Taking agile approaches toward focused goals, he leads a global team of over 1000 implementing 64 active programs across over 25 countries to optimize impact through dynamic conditions.

Focused on innovation, Torbay has steered HOPE to refresh its operations; under his leadership, HOPE has reimagined its brand and role as the leader in supporting health workers.

As a result, the 62-year-old organization has been energized by a future-forward view designed to improve health outcomes and meet escalating needs in a fast-changing world.

A problem-solver and optimist, Torbay champions collaboration through cross-sector partnerships with stakeholders and communities to improve human health and build community resilience.

Rebecca Burgess // Fibershed

Rebecca Burgess // Fibershed

Rebecca Burgess is the Executive Director of Fibershed. She has two decades of experience working at the intersection of ecology, fiber systems, and regional economic development.

She is the author of the best-selling book Harvesting Color, a bioregional look into the natural dye traditions of North America, and Fibershed: Growing a Movement of Farmers, Fashion Activists, and Makers for a New Textile Economy released in 2019.

She has taught at Westminster College, Harvard University, and California College of the Arts. She also holds a new board position at the Livestock Conservancy and is serving on the leadership council of the Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems at Chico State University.

Fibershed is a non-profit organization that develops equity-focused regional and land regenerating natural fiber and dye systems.

Their work expands opportunities to implement climate beneficial agriculture, rebuild regional manufacturing, and connect end-users to the source of fiber through direct educational offerings.

They are transforming the economic and ecologic systems that clothe us to generate equitable and climate change ameliorating textile cultures.

Lorenzo Lewis // The Confess Project

Lorenzo Lewis // The Confess Project

Lorenzo is the founder of The Confess Project, an initiative that empowers barbers to become mental health advocates for men of color, Lorenzo helps you confess your issues to begin to build a better process of living.

The Confess Project has the first and largest organization committed to building a culture of mental health for Black boys, men, and their families.

How? They focus on empowering frontline heroes and sheroes in Communities across America. More specifically, they train barbers to be mental health advocates.

Born in jail to an incarcerated mother, Lorenzo struggled with depression, anxiety, and anger throughout his youth. At 17, he almost re-entered the system of mass incarceration he had come from. It was then he snapped in and began his journey to wellness.

It started with an education at Arkansas Baptist College and continued with him facing his own emotional challenges, eventually becoming a mental health advocate.

Since then, Lorenzo has been a keynote speaker at numerous venues across the country—from organizations to universities to government agencies—exploring themes such as toxic masculinity, therapy taboos, and more.

He has also presented at TEDxFayetteville and TEDxPointParkUniversity.

An entrepreneurial changemaker, Lorenzo has grown The Confess Project into a national grassroots movement.

To date, his team has trained over 300 barbers in more than 20 cities, and is on track to train 800 more nationwide by the end of the year. Recently, Fast Company named The Confess Project as one of “The 10 most innovative health companies of 2021.”

Heejae Lim // TalkingPoints

Heejae Lim // TalkingPoints

TalkingPoints is an education technology nonprofit with a mission to drive student success by using accessible technology to unlock the potential of family engagement in children’s education.

Their multilingual technology platform connects and empowers families and teachers by using human and AI-powered, two-way translated communication and personalized content.

This unique approach eliminates barriers including language, time, mindsets, and capacity to foster strong family engagement in development of students’ academic success.

Heejae founded TalkingPoints based on her personal experience growing up as a Korean immigrant student and seeing her mother make a difference in her education because she had the ‘voice’ to do so. Because of this, Heejae realized three things.

First, that her story was not unique. There are 40 million students here, growing up in underserved and immigrant communities.

Second, that her experience was a data point that is supported by academic research. Children spend most of their time outside of school, and research shows that the influence of families on their children’s learning depends on much more than their financial wealth.

Third, that there are real challenges when it comes to supporting your child’s education if you’re an immigrant family – challenges that can include working multiple jobs to put food on the table, speaking limited English, and feeling overwhelmed by the US school system.

Alexander Roque // Ali Forney Center

The Ali Forney Center was founded in 2002 in memory of Ali Forney, a homeless gender-nonconforming youth who was forced to live on the streets, where they were tragically murdered.

Committed to saving the lives of LGBTQ+ young people, our mission is to protect them from the harms of homelessness and empower them with the tools needed to live independently.

The Ali Forney Center never closes its doors. The organization provides more than just a bed and food for those in need.

From initial intake at the drop-in center to transitional housing and job readiness training, they provide homeless LGBTQ+ youth a safe, warm, supportive environment to escape the streets.

Alexander Roque has over 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector. Over the past 15 years, Alex has led community and business development, fundraising, and communications for non-profit organizations.

Prior to joining AFC, Alex led the field development and operations for a health charity where he mobilized a national field fundraising and operations model raising much needed services and funds for research, family services, and development.

In the years before running this national program, Alex led programs for youth in the dependency systems residing in foster care.

Alex has also worked with the Center for Anti-Violence Education which provides empowerment services, education, and self defense training to help women overcome and heal from the traumas of sexual harassment, assault, rape, domestic violence, racism, gender based violence, racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia.

He also worked with The Fibromyalgia Care Society of America serving to raise awareness and services for those living with Fibromyalgia. In 2018, Alex was appointed to the board of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation.

He works closely with the foundation’s founders and leadership on their work to support young people throughout the United States and around the world.

Aparna Hegde // ARMMAN

Aparna Hegde // ARMMAN

Dr. Aparna Hegde is the Founder, Chairperson and Managing Trustee of ARMMAN. During her medical residency, Dr. Hegde witnessed closely how pervasive systemic problems let to preventable maternal and child mortality and morbidity.

Unable to tolerate the status quo, she founded ARMMAN while completing her medical training in the US. Dr. Hegde is an internationally renowned Urogynecologist.

She is Associate Professor (Hon) of Urogynecology and is setting up the upcoming Department of Urogynecology at Cama Hospital, Grant Medical College, Mumbai, India’s first comprehensive Center of Excellence in the field.

She is also the Founder and Director of the Center for Urogynecology and Pelvic Health, Delhi and Consultant Urogynecologist at Global Hospital, Surya Hospital and Women’s Hospital, Mumbai.

ARMMAN is an India-based non-profit leveraging mHealth to create cost-effective, scalable, gender-sensitive, non-linear, systemic solutions to improve access of pregnant women and mothers to preventive information and services along with training health workers to reduce maternal and child mortality/morbidity.

ARMMAN adopts a “tech plus touch” approach by leveraging the health worker network of the government and partner NGOs along with the deep mobile penetration.

In partnership with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), ARMMAN is currently implementing the largest mobile-based maternal messaging program (Kilkari) and the largest mobile-based training program for frontline health workers (Mobile Academy).

Raby Gueye // Teach For Senegal

Raby Gueye // Teach For Senegal

Raby Gueye is the founder and CEO of Teach For Senegal, which seeks to raise educational outcomes in Senegal, so that one day every Senegalese child feels seen, loved, and liberated.

Originally from Senegal, at the age of eight Raby moved to the United States.

At Arizona State University, Raby assisted with research on gender violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and translated and shared the stories of rape victims in the DRC for The International Criminal Court.

In 2015, she traveled to India, where she collaborated with a diverse group of NGOs to help increase the literacy rate.

Upon returning from India, she was recruited by Teach For America to join their national corps of recent college graduates and professionals who commit to teaching in urban and rural public schools.

As a teacher, Raby prioritized building strong relationships with her students and families to create an environment where all families felt welcomed and included.

While Senegal has played a leading role in the promotion of global commitments to ensure the right to education, less than half of its citizens are literate, and significant challenges remain in providing quality education for all children.

In Senegal, the socio-economic circumstances that a child is born into determines the type of school they will attend, the quality of life outcomes they will attain as an adult, and the kind of opportunities they pass on to their children.

Teach For Senegal began with an ambitious mission to transform the education system in Senegal. By catalyzing a nationwide movement of impact-driven leaders and perhaps future nonprofit leaders, they seek to provide access to an excellent education for all children across the country.

Lin Thu Hein // Atutu

Lin Thu Hein // Atutu

Lin is co-founder and co–executive director of Atutu, a nonprofit organization promoting community-led social change. Born and raised in Kachin State, Myanmar, Lin immigrated to the United States at the age of 13.

Growing up in an off-grid community that received humanitarian and development assistance, Lin had firsthand experience of the role NGOs and government programs played in the lives of marginalized communities.

Formally trained in electrical engineering, Lin works in the solar microgrid industry, where he has accelerated access to electricity and internet connectivity for communities around the world.

During his undergraduate studies at the University of California–San Diego, Lin worked as a Fellow in Humanitarian Engineering for the Global TIES program, where he was immersed in the fields of international development and social innovation.

Relying on his lived experience of growing up in an off-grid community and his technical expertise from the solar microgrid industry, Lin founded and fostered Atutu to promote sustainable community development in an anti-colonialist and equitable manner. – Bio via Echoing Green

Atutu works to create a world where communities take part in their development efforts as leaders, not as beneficiaries. To achieve this goal, Atutu developed a community-centered design approach called Grassroots Design, a collaborative process centering shared lived experience and community leadership in a community development project.

Applying Grassroots Design to energy inequities faced by off-grid communities, Atutu enables young community leaders to bring innovative solutions to dismantle energy inequities in their communities.

With this approach, Atutu is mitigating preventable risks that come from using other sources of energy, promoting economic growth, and creating shared wealth in the communities.

Rachel Hand // Family Promise

Rachel Hand // Family Promise

Rachel Hand joined Family Promise North Shore Boston as the Executive Director in January of 2019. She spent the previous decade working in the field of homeless services.

Her prior jobs include on-the-ground direct service with individuals experiencing homelessness, intake coordination and case management for recently housed individuals, and working to assess and place individuals and families into permanent supportive housing for the City of Cambridge.

Family Promise North Shore Boston aims to prevent and end family homelessness. The organization promotes access to economic opportunity and housing stability through a holistic, family-centered, community-based response.

Since May of 2013, Family Promise North Shore Boston has worked with local organizations and congregations, hundreds of volunteers, and dedicated staff, to further their mission of promoting access to economic opportunity and housing stability.

Xavier Henderson and Taylor Toynes // For Oak Cliff

Xavier Henderson and Taylor Toynes // For Oak Cliff

Xavier and Taylor are the Co-founders of For Oak Cliff(FOC), an organization serving the South Oak Cliff community. Education, Advocacy, Community Building and Arts are the categories they use to develop various programs within the South Oak Cliff community.

In 2014, Taylor began teaching at Bushman Elementary in his hometown neighborhood of South Oak Cliff. While in the classroom, Taylor saw that a majority of his students did not have school supplies, an issue that Toynes realized stemmed from the community’s extreme poverty.

That summer of 2015, Taylor organized with students, community members, and partner organizations to host the inaugural Back To School Festival, a vessel to equip the community and students with the necessary supplies, resources, and service providers to have a successful school year.

In 2019, there were over 6,000 people in attendance. Due to COVID-19, the 2020 & 2021 festivals were held via a contactless drive thru.

For Oak Cliff believes in 2-Gen, so they focus on creating opportunities for and addressing the needs of both children and the adults in their lives together with the aim of increasing social mobility and social capital.

FOC also provides GED classes, access to mental and physical health treatment, an annual community festival, and opportunities for artistic expression.

Imran Khan // Embarc

Imran Khan is the Founder and Executive Director of EMBARC, the nation’s only teacher-led organization that achieves student academic success through systematic, long-term social and cultural exposure.

EMBARC immerses students in exploratory learning by partnering with businesses and cultural institutions throughout the city.

Driving Purpose Embarc breaks down barriers in our education system to create a more just, equitable, and anti-racist society. The organization does this by providing schools, communities, and young people with all the tools they need to transform how schools integrate social-emotional development and experiential learning.

EMBARC imagines a world where our school system is a driver of racial equity and justice. In Chicago alone, 350,000 public school students will actively engage with business, culture and community assets, in and beyond their neighborhoods.

Schools will help young people step into their own power and become our next generation of justice leaders. Teachers will be equipped with the skills and tools they need to ensure that all young people live choice-filled, economically stable, relationship rich, and joyous lives.

Alyssa Gialamas // AMG Fitness

Adapt, Move & Gain (AMG) Fitness is an innovative non-profit led by Alyssa Gialamas, a U.S. Paralympian in the London and Rio Paralympic Games. This fitness resource aims to elevate at-home workouts specifically for people with disabilities.

Founder and director Alyssa Gialamas was born with arthrogryposis which impacts her legs and hands. She uses leg braces to walk and has been since she was young. From a young age, she was taught not to let anything stop her, and whatever she put her mind to, she could achieve.

This led her to become one of the best athletes in the world for ten years, with 21 American records and a two-time Paralympian in London and Rio in swimming.

While competing at the highest level, she learned how to adapt to her teammates’ workouts and observed some of the best athletes in the world train with various abilities and focus on moving their bodies with exercises that worked for them.

Alyssa realized that, while there are thousands of fitness programs, books, and apps, there is a significant lack of inclusiveness for people with disabilities. So Adapt, Move & Gain (AMG) Fitness was created to provide at-home workouts to a community of different abilities.

Marc Rand // American Nonprofits

Marc Rand // American Nonprofits

Marc Rand is the Founder and Managing Director of Community Capital Advisors, a national consultancy focused on community investment. He also manages several nonprofit loan funds, including American Nonprofits and the Nonprofit Insurance Alliance of California’s member loan fund.

Marc is the former Program Director for Loans and Affordable Housing at Marin Community Foundation (MCF). While at MCF Marc invested more than $50 million in Marin-based nonprofits during a 12 year period with a 0% default rate.

Marc also developed one of the nation’s first donor development strategies connected to impact investing while at MCF and was able to increase loan capital five-fold from $5 million to $25 million.

Prior to MCF, Marc served in the Peace Corps (Romania) where he led the development of 5 credit unions.

Marc served six years as a Board Member, two as Board Chair, for Opportunity Fund, a small business CDFI micro-loan fund with assets over $75 million.

American Nonprofits was formed by a group of nonprofit leaders to serve as a platform to address issues of finance, credit, strategy and accountability. As a membership organization that welcomes both nonprofit organizations and individuals, they occupy the intersection of finance and strategy.

They are a platform through which members can convene local and national discussions, initiate solutions, and collectively improve nonprofit finance.

Brigitte Vicenty and John Johnson // Inner City Green Team

Brigitte Vicenty and John Johnson // Inner City Green Team

Brigitte Vicenty, a lifelong New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) resident, is the founder of the Inner City Green Team. She has led the fight for herself and fellow residents in their “Right to Recycle” for a decade.

She created ICGT when she learned that NYCHA’s recycling program was nonexistent and there were no other options. She envisioned a convenient way for residents to recycle that could create jobs in communities with some of the highest unemployment rates.

As a teen, Brigitte observed her mother’s passion for caring about her community and witnessed the effects it had on others. Brigitte hoped to serve in a cause that would be impactful beyond where she grew up.

With her passion for the environment and appreciation for its life-giving power, Brigitte wants others to join her “green ministry.”

In 2018, she won the NYCx Co-Lab Challenge and was honored at the Zero Waste in Shared Space Recognition Ceremony. The project was recently featured on New York’s PIX11 and News12 as well as by Politico. Brigitte is a 2020 Echoing Green Fellow.

John Johnson is the co-founder of the Inner City Green Team. A diehard environmentalist and social justice advocate, John came to this work as a recycling coordinator at GrowNYC, where he has been working for over 10 years to improve recycling rates in NYC.

While at GrowNYC, he was selected as an Emerging Leader by the Bank of America and participated in its Neighborhood Builders Leadership Training Program.

This highly competitive program is designed to recognize and reward nonprofit organizations and individuals who are achieving excellence in their community-building efforts.

John’s passion and desire to protect the planet and some of its most vulnerable citizens has led him and his partner on this journey to create ICGT.

In 2018, they launched their pilot project, having won the NYCx Co-Lab Challenge: Zero Waste in Shared Space. This was an international competition seeking solutions that would improve recycling in NYC public housing.

John studied urban studies at Macalester College, and urban policy analysis and management at the New School for Social Research. John is a 2020 Echoing Green Fellow.

Inner City Green Team (ICGT) is a nonprofit environmental organization focused on poverty alleviation and community development.

The mission is to protect the environment and help transform the lives of residents living in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments through recycling outreach/education, job training, and paid work that can lead to a lifetime of employment and civic engagement.

To achieve this end, the organization is working to create an effective, sustainable, and replicable recycling infrastructure at NYCHA with job creation and community revitalization at its core.

Adam McCurdie & Josh Ross // Humanitix

Adam McCurdie & Josh Ross // Humanitix

High school mates Adam McCurdie and Josh Ross founded Humanitix after making a pact to escape the corporate world and do something different and meaningful with their careers.

Like many social entrepreneurs, they began by looking for industries with inefficiencies that could be ripe for reinvention.

Then they found it: tickets. Event ticketing has always been frustrating for hosts and guests alike and everyone hates booking fees. So in 2016 Humanitix ambitiously set out to disrupt ticketing—for good!

It was clear from the start that their crazy idea wasn’t so crazy. They stayed laser-focused on developing a great product with amazing customer support, and hosts continued to switch to Humanitix for the superior customer experience and “no-brainer” social benefits of the 100% for-purpose model.

Soon the organisation was funded by the Atlassian Foundation and the NSW Government.

Then in 2018 Humanitix won the Google Impact Challenge and has since doubled in size every six months, becoming the fastest-growing ticketing platform in Australia and New Zealand.

Fast forward to today and Humanitix has transformed over $1M from those annoying booking fees into helping disadvantaged kids around the world. Humanitix is doubling in size every 6 months as more and more event hosts choose to give their event impact.

Listen to amazing stories from other social entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders around the world on our Causeartist podcasts here.

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