Young social entrepreneurs with big hearts and dreams now have big bucks in the bank. Thanks to Echoing Green (and partners Newman’s Own Foundation and Open Society Foundations), 35 good go-getters around the world are receiving seed funding (about $90k) and technical assistance over the next two years to help them launch their organizations. From America to Africa and Asia, from education to environment, the ideas worthy of Echoing Green Fellowships are bold and already having an impact on society.
Two of the 35 fellows are GirlTrek street-organizers Vanessa Garrison and T. Morgan Dixon. The former Teach For America high school teachers now motivate African American women and girls to live their healthiest – simply by walking. (Some of the simplest ideas are the best.) With a combination of traditional grassroots organizing (posting flyers, sharing stories) and savvy social media campaigns, their two-year old nonprofit GirlTrek has attracted and inspired an active community of 150,000 black women and girls to walk. The big trek is scheduled for March: it’s an 8-week walk in Washington, DC in honor of Harriet Tubman. GirlTrekkers walk 30 minutes per day, at least 5 days per weeks, for 8 weeks straight. Last year, top trekker Vonda Vass Summers walked 7,472 minutes. Over the last two years, she’s lost 100 lbs.