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National Fellowship Program Announces Second Cohort of Emerging Social Change Leaders

The Fund for New Leadership (FNL), a multi-year program that supports promising early-stage organizations, announces 10 new fellows working on educational equity, housing rights, global healthcare and other priorities.

NATIONWIDE (July 17, 2023) — Today the Fund for New Leadership (FNL), a national fellowship that aims to supercharge America’s emerging social changemakers, announced its second cohort of 10 fellows. FNL supports early-stage leaders who have not had access to traditional philanthropic support but are working on novel ideas to tackle our nation’s most pressing challenges.

The announcement comes two years after the selection of FNL’s inaugural cohort of fellows who are now in the final year of their fellowship. 2023 fellows were selected over a six-month search involving 10 advisors, 125 talent scouts, 172 submissions and 70 interviews.

The three-year program—$75,000 per year, per person in unrestricted funds—offers a unique blend of peer learning, executive coaching, and mentorship opportunities aimed at expanding each fellow’s organizational infrastructure and impact

While traditional philanthropists often partner with already established initiatives, FNL looks for leaders with innovative, and sometimes unorthodox solutions to problems.

“We congratulate this year’s cohort of courageous and hard-working fellows. FNL is focused on finding talented leaders—folks who have big ideas and who are discovering ways to make change in their communities even with limited resources and support. Our objective is to get in their corner and do everything in our power to support their leadership and ventures,” said Alan and Kim Hartman, founders of the Fund for New Leadership. “Like our first cohort, this group represents a broad cross section of America, harnessing our country’s powerful diversity, bringing the boldest ideas to the biggest problems. From New York City to Houston, Atlanta, Milwaukee, and elsewhere, our second cohort represents exactly the kind of leaders we look for who are ready to grow amongst a community of other changemakers and elevate their efforts to the next level.”

The new FNL fellows have already made tangible impacts in their communities. Whether it’s improving outcomes for housing-insecure foster youth in Chicago through education, preventing violence in Philadelphia through youth social-emotional learning on the football field, ensuring access to high quality education for incarcerated people in Georgia, or mobilizing Project Based Section 8 tenants in Chicago to demand fair housing, this cohort’s fellows are offering solutions to complex issues.

“We are thrilled to have selected our second cohort of 10 changemakers who are putting in the work and creativity so desperately needed to address seemingly intractable challenges,” said Simon Greer, Managing Director of the Fund for New Leadership. “It has also been an honor to see the growth of our inaugural cohort of fellows who, in the first two years of their fellowship alone, have been able to use the resources, training and mentorship provided by FNL to make waves both locally and nationally: from rehabilitating homes in historically redlined neighborhoods in Baltimore; to fighting back against wage theft in the Los Angeles car wash industry; to producing the nation’s first zero-waste socks; and more. We have seen firsthand how direct funding and tailored support can make all the difference for these leaders, and we’re excited to continue this work with our new cohort.”

The second cohort of fellows include:

  • Mohammed Al Samawi, Founder and Director, Abrahamic House: Abrahamic House is the first-ever national, multi-faith incubator that seeks to build sustainable interfaith understanding and action by fostering an environment of learning, respect, and social change.
  • Danielle L. Campbell, Co-Director, 2A Forward: 2A Forward engages marginalized groups of gun owners around a solution-oriented framework of investment in community safety, violence prevention, economic justice, and support for policy solutions.
  • Shanté Elliott, Founder, TasselTurn: TasselTurn is an edtech nonprofit improving transition outcomes for foster care-involved and housing-insecure youth through educational attainment.
  • Zion Escobar, Founder, Freedmen’s Town Community Investment Project: The Freedmen’s Town Community Investment Project works to catalyze community-serving businesses, build community wealth, and promote community-led equitable economic development within Houston’s Freedmen’s Town.
  • Henry Iseman, Executive Director and Board Chair, Penta Medical Recycling: Penta Medical Recycling is a global nonprofit working to bring affordable prosthetic care to low-and middle-income countries while repurposing what would otherwise be considered medical waste in the United States.
  • Lilly Lerner, Co-Founder and Co-Director, Tenant Education Network (TEN): TEN empowers Project Based Section 8 tenants, primarily low-income women of color, to transform their housing and communities.
  • Valencia Peterson, Founder and Executive Director, Open-Door Abuse Awareness Prevention (ODAAP): ODAAP seeks to prevent all forms of violence, including sexual assault and intimate partner violence, through trauma-informed education for youth using sports as a medium of change.
  • Adam Procell, Founder, The Central DOOR (The Department of Organized Reentry): The Central DOOR aims to close the revolving door of incarceration by opening a one-stop shop for a coordinated reentry experience. 
  • Patrick Rodriguez, Co-Executive Director, Georgia Coalition for Higher Education in Prison (GACHEP): GACHEP builds and advances equitable, high-quality educational pathways to higher education for incarcerated people throughout the state of Georgia.
  • “IRON” Mike Steadman, Founder and CEO, IRONBOUND Boxing: IRONBOUND empowers local community members by offering free amateur boxing, entrepreneur training, and employment opportunities to Newark youth and young adults.

The Fund for New Leadership is a philanthropic effort that supports America’s emerging social changemakers through a three-year program that offers a unique blend of financial support, peer coaching, leadership training and mentoring opportunities. To learn more, visit


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