All Ideas
Ideas on the Forefront
June 11, 2013 | Cheryl L. Dorsey

Introducing the 2013 Echoing Green Fellows

Echoing Green is pleased to announce the 2013 Class of Echoing Green Fellows, continuing our legacy of twenty-five years pioneering social change.

Comprised of both Echoing Green and Black Male Achievement Fellows, this class includes a number of firsts for us: our first Fellow from the Democratic Republic of the Congo; first Fellow working in El Salvador; and our first Fellows working on social impact bonds.

Selected from an initial applicant pool of 2,872, the twenty-eight organizations in this year's portfolio represent the top one percent and will join Echoing Green's rich ecosystem of the most successful, innovative social change organizations and entrepreneurs around the world. Over the past twenty-five years, we have seen our Fellows inspire, mentor and partner with one another building upon the impact of Fellows that have come before them. This new class of 2013 Echoing Green and Black Male Achievement Fellows is no exception.

We mark the introduction of this new class with conversations between six influential Fellows from years past speaking to the 2013 Fellows and these next generation "solutionists" as they honor the visionaries who continue to inspire and motivate their work.

Click on the buttons below to jump to the Fellows in each program area. If you are as inspired as we are, use the provided links to tweet out a congratulatory message and get involved.


We are extremely grateful to the Open Society Foundations, our partners in supporting the Black Male Achievement Fellows; and to the Newman’s Own Foundation—powering, in part, the international 2013 Echoing Green Fellows.

Benson Wereje

"I'm inspired by Eric Glustrom, 2009 Fellow and founder of Educate!, working to motivate and empower young people to create social change and prosperity in their communities. His commitment has influenced my own work with youth in Uganda and the DRC to lead a movement for peace." Meet Benson 

Kohl Gill
LaborVoices, Inc.

"At LaborVoices, we aspire to the scale of impact that Vikram Akula and SKS Microfinance has had for bottom-of-the-pyramid populations. SKS is particularly inspiring because of the smart combination of automation and human-centered methods to help members help each other." Meet Kohl 

M. C. McGrath
Transparency Toolkit

"Ben Cokelet’s work on corporate transparency and accountability with PODER is a good example of an approach to transparency that is highly effective. Involving many different stakeholders and drawing from a variety of data sources, his approach is more likely to result in reform and long-term accountability than transparency initiatives that simply release information." Meet M. C. 

Gaurav Singh
3.2.1 Education Foundation

"1991 Fellow Wendy Kopp's inspirational idea is the reason why many bright youngsters around the world are entering the education field and then staying on to have incredible impact. Through my Teach for India journey I discovered my life's calling." Meet Gaurav 

Debra Gittler

"I'm deeply inspired by Wendy Kopp. Her courage to challenge the status quo helped launch a national—and even international—conversation about the purpose of schooling. Wendy's commitment to iterate and constantly improve as an organization is an inspiration as ConTextos grows in depth and breadth." Meet Debra 

Shaila Ittycheria & Kane Sarhan
Enstitute Inc

Shaila: "Matthew Klein, a 1993 Fellow, has not only been instrumental in supporting Kane and me (he convinced us to apply), but his work at Blue Ridge inspires us, for he fosters and encourages idea incubation that transforms into practical and effective solutions to social problems." Meet Shaila 

Kane: "Michael Brown and his work has both impacted and inspired me. I took a gap year of service in 2005, and it is because of City Year that I am the person I am today. I look to Michael's leadership and vision as an example to scale a social venture and create long lasting, impactful change." Meet Kane 

Karim Abouelnaga
Practice Makes Perfect, Inc.

"Wendy Kopp's goal to provide every student with a high quality teacher has had an enormous impact on the world and, as seen in Louisiana, has proved that teachers can rebuild cities. Practice Makes Perfect hopes to build on the work TFA has done to accelerate achievement for inner-city youth." Meet Karim 

Neil Dsouza
ZAYA (formerly Teach A Class)

"I was inspired by the work that 2012 Fellows Akshay Saxena and Krishna Ramkumar are doing with Avanti in using technology to bring high quality education to children in low income communities. I have personally witnessed their journey from corporate life to social impact, and it gave me the confidence to pursue my passion without fear." Meet Neil 

Swaroop Samant & Kavita Shukla

"We have long admired the work that Share Our Strength founders Bill Shore, a 1991 Echoing Green Fellow, and Debbie Shore have done to reduce childhood hunger in America. We're inspired by their humble beginnings, their unwavering commitment to addressing the seemingly insurmountable challenge of childhood hunger, and their ability to scale their project to impact millions of children in communities across the country."

Neha Juneja & Ankit Mathur
Greenway Grameen Infra

Neha: "I first learned about Echoing Green through April Allderdice, a 1996 Fellow. Working with her and with her organization has had a direct and positive impact on my own work. Brief but intense interactions have made me see what make April and her motivations so special."
Meet Neha 

Ankit: "I am inspired by the work of 1998 Fellow Vikram Akula, as he brought the concept of for-profits for development to the forefront. He has been very frank about his experiences in recent developments in the microfinance space in India—a great service to the community and to young entrepreneurs who are better informed about the risks." Meet Ankit 

Bilikiss Adebiyi

"I have been inspired and encouraged by 2011 Fellows Ani Vallabhaneni and David Auerbach of Sanergy. We all went to MIT Sloan, and their dedication to their dream of providing the people in the slums of Nairobi with safe and dignified access to sanitation motivated me to commit to working on Wecyclers." Meet Bilikiss 

Vineet Singal
Anjna Patient Education

"Josh Nesbit and his team at Medic Mobile have been an inspiration to us and our work at Anjna. Their team has created an innovative model for the developing world that has impacted hundreds of thousands of lives in a very positive, meaningful way." Meet Vineet 

Christopher Ategeka
CA Bikes

"Andrew Youn inspires me by taking a new approach and leading a revolution in chronic hunger alleviation in Africa. More so, for his bravery in moving to a foreign country on a different continent, immersing himself in a new culture, and being able to create such an impact in a short period of time." Meet Christopher 

T. Morgan Dixon & Vanessa Garrison / GirlTrek

Morgan: "Wendy Kopp inspires me—so much so that I dropped everything, moved across the country and joined Teach for America. Wendy’s ethic, unwavering commitment, and clear impact has felt like a call to action, a schoolyard challenge, a throwing down of the gauntlet: be bold and unrelenting about the things you care about!"
Meet Morgan 

Vanessa: "Cheryl Dorsey is a powerhouse. She is both brilliant and full of grace. Her continued commitment to Echoing Green is truly inspiring, and she exemplifies what the fellowship is truly about: community." Meet Vanessa 

Anoop Jain
Humanure Power (HP)

"I saw Josh Nesbit speak about his work with Frontline SMS at a conference when I was a student at Northwestern. I was blown away by his singular passion for improving health outcomes, and realized that I wanted to affect change in the same way. I am so honored to be an Echoing Green fellow along with Josh." Meet Anoop 

Lesley Silverthorn Marincola
Angaza Design, Inc.

"Vikram Akula, founder of SKS Microfinance, inspires our work to promote financial inclusion with a for-profit approach. Angaza is applying microfinance principles to the energy space, and we believe we can also scale to impact millions by effectively merging social and financial returns. Vikram’s journey influences the everyday business decisions our company makes." Meet Lesley 

Diana Jue & Jackie Stenson
Essmart Global, Inc.

Diana: "Vikram Akula demonstrated how a social impact activity could be scaled up through a for-profit model and incorporate business best practices. Essmart sees similar capital constraints in the rural distribution problem and aims to tackle the issue with a for-profit model, inspired by the scale that SKS Microfinance achieved." Meet Diana 

Jackie: " In 2009, I quit a volunteer position with a non-profit that was limited by fundraising shortfalls and joined Jodie Wu at Global Cycle Solutions (GCS). I had never thought about combining for-profit models and international development, and working with GCS prompted my thinking about the role of business in bringing technologies to their intended users. Jodie remains a friend and impacts my views of sustainable development." Meet Jackie 

Maria Vertkin
Found in Translation

"I am inspired (and star-struck!) by Cheryl Dorsey, 1992 Fellow and Echoing Green President. Cheryl's venture, Family Van, delivered health care where it was needed most, but it also crossed neighborhoods, trampling the invisible barriers of inequality dividing people and communities. I share Cheryl's passion for equality in access to health care and opportunity." Meet Maria 

Michael Belinsky & Avnish Gungadurdoss / Instiglio

Michael: "One of the first times I met Taylor Thompson, he tried to explain to me a crazy idea of tagging drug packaging to reduce the prevalence of fake drugs. Then he dropped out of college, flew to India, and turned this idea into a reality. For Echoing Green to support that bold move—to bet on a brilliant kid with no experience—really moved me." Meet Michael 

Avnish: "Neil Buddy Shah, from the 2012 Echoing Green cohort, has been a personal inspiration and a reliable mentor as we grow Instiglio. Watching Buddy and his co-founders of IdInsight transform an idea into an organization was a truly inspiring process that opened my eyes and mind to new ways of harnessing my own potential." Meet Avnish 

Benjamin Cohen

"Juan Maldonado and Edrizio De La Cruz from Regalii have an innovative solution that is based on something that they are passionate about and committed to. I have watched them continue to persist as they pursue what they believe in, through both the good and bad times. This has been quite an inspiration to me as I learn from the actions that they take." Meet Benjamin 

Jason Panda
B Holding Group, LLC / B condoms

"I am inspired by the work of 1993 Fellow Ian Rowe. Ian successfully blended media and entertainment with social impact, leveraging MTV's mainstream media platform to educate teens and drive them to create grassroots change in their communities." Meet Jason 

Laura Weidman Powers

"Reid Saaris has inspired me personally and is paving the way for organizations like CODE2040 to succeed. Reid was a classmate at Stanford and I saw his passion for and commitment to his organization day in and day out. His work with with Equal Opportunity Schools sets each student up for success, opening the door for them to benefit from the opportunities CODE2040 provides." Meet Laura 

Chelsey Roebuck

"I have had the opportunity to get to know and learn from 2010 Fellow Scott Warren of Generation Citizen. Scott and his team have been an inspiration to me, helping me to dream bigger and turn my college passion into a sustainable nonprofit organization capable of impacting thousands of learners from around the world." Meet Chelsey 

Kalimah Priforce
Qeyno Labs

"1994 Fellow Van Jones' example as an outspoken community builder permeates the imagination of the change-agent community in California. My only hope is to leave a tremendously positive impression as his has, and that I, too, can be a black male role model symbolizing achivement and success in the face of adversity." Meet Kalimah 

Harlyn Pacheco & Ricardo Rodriquez / Qlovi

Harlyn: "The vision of 2006 Fellow Anthony Jewett has greatly infludenced us as aspiring fellows ready to craft innovation. We're also inspired by Edrizio De La Cruz, 2012 Fellow, as he is a living example that the success we strive towards is not only for "ourselves", but also for our communties, our countries, and our binding ties." Meet Harlyn 

Ricardo: "I feel honored to be a member of the same community that propelled Wendy Kopp and Michelle Obama to achieve their dreams. The scale and the social benefit that their organizations have achieved are, for me, a dream—but also a reference point which I will use to measure my accomplishments. As a new BMA Fellow, it gives me confidence that I will achieve great things." Meet Ricardo 

Jen Porter & Jane Wilson
The Reset Foundation

Jen: "David Domenici's work with the Maya Angelou School provides an insightful and inspiring precedent for our work. Not only has his work given us visionary direction, but his pioneering has opened doors of disbelief that would otherwise remain shut." Meet Jen 

Jane: "1998 Fellow Raj Vinnakota set out to accomplish a task no one had tried or thought possible before: start a network of high-performing residential charter schools for underserved youth. Not only did Raj manage to secure funding to open a school, but he has since scaled the model and demonstrated best-in-class results—further improving life outcomes for youth otherwise trapped in the system." Meet Jane 

Claire Blumenson & Sarah Comeau
The School Justice Project, Inc.

Claire: "Within fifteen minutes of hearing 2006 Fellow Laurie Parise speak on an Equal Justice Works panel, I raced outside to call Sarah and commit to our dream of opening the School Justice Project. Since October 2012, Laurie has been an incredible mentor and inspiration. We are both so grateful for her support and guidance." Meet Claire 

Sarah: "I'm inspired by the determination of 2011 Fellow Mark Hecker, founder of Reach Incorporated, to become the best in a centralized location so as to ensure optimal impact prior to national expansion. I strive to create and implement a localized model that guarantees systemic and total jurisdictional impact while serving as a baseline for all jurisdictions nationwide." Meet Sarah 

Momo Akade
GigaBryte (formerly TinkerTags)

"Though he has been recognized by others for his work in financial inclusion, I was struck most by Vikram Akula's ability to define a problem, develop a market-based solution, and use technology to scale his organization's impact. GigaBryte is focused on building a technology platform to address opportunity gaps in education. Vikram's work provides an apt model as we build our technological and organizational capacity to empower others." Meet Momo