Ashoka Welcomes 11 Social Innovators Taking on Society’s Big Challenges

Ashoka U.S. Announces 2018 Class of Fellows

ARLINGTON, VA — Today, Ashoka announces and welcomes its 2018 class of Ashoka Fellows from the United States.

These 11 systems-changing social entrepreneurs are celebrated for their innovative solutions and awarded a lifetime, non-residential Fellowship, the first three years of which include targeted strategic and financial support and participation in a unique global peer network.

“This group of Ashoka Fellows reminds us that even our most complex and tangled social challenges are solvable,” noted Simon Stumpf, Director of Venture and Fellowship at Ashoka. “Among these new Fellows are innovators transforming our food system, criminal justice system, workforce development sector, even the funeral industry. These people show us how to champion real, transformative change in a world that needs it.”

Ashoka evaluates more than 500 promising nominations every year in the United States and conducts hundreds of hours of in-person interviews before selecting Ashoka Fellows. This year’s Fellows come from small towns and urban centers all across the country. With creativity and commitment, they tackle complex challenges, imagine a new way forward and build it for everyone, for the good of all. They forge partnerships and pathways for everyone – all ages, backgrounds, walks of life – to contribute fully as changemakers.

“Ashoka welcomes Fellows into a community of social innovators whom I have grown to trust completely,” said Aleta Margolis, Founder of Center for Inspired Teaching and an Ashoka Fellow. “Ashoka understands what the Fellows are trying to accomplish and helps provide a path to get there, and that is of tremendous value.”

As part of the global community of more than 3,500 Ashoka Fellows welcomed since 1981, these more recently elected social entrepreneurs are able to learn from each other while Ashoka learns from them. With each success, Ashoka includes more and more people in a different kind of future: One where everyone looks inside themselves and finds a changemaker.


The 2018 Ashoka Fellows are:

BRANDON DENNISON | Coalfield Development | Wayne, West Virginia

Revitalizing the workforce in Appalachia and beyond, putting people and environment first.

ERICA GERRITY | Ostara Initiative | Viroqua, Wisconsin

Bringing high-quality birth care and health education to women’s prisons, and transforming the criminal justice system in the process.

JESS LADD | Callisto | San Francisco, California

Rebuilding sexual assault reporting to support survivors, identify serial perpetrators, and prevent future violence.

KARA BOBROFF | NACA Inspired Schools Network

Albuquerque, New Mexico | Building an education system based on indigenous traditions and prepares young people to shape their future.

KATRINA SPADE | Recompose | Seattle, Washington

Transforming our broken funeral industry with a new approach that reconnects death to natural cycles of life.

LAM HO | Community Activism Law Alliance | Chicago, Illinois

Transforming legal aid by making it work with, for, and alongside those fighting for justice.

MOLLY BURHANS | GoodLands | New Haven, Connecticut

Using GIS to transform the way the world’s largest private landholder, the Catholic Church, takes care of the planet and its people.

PAULA DANIELS | Center for Good Food Purchasing | Los Angeles, California

Setting a new national standard for how large institutions source their food.

RACHEL ARMSTRONG | Farm Commons | Duluth, Minnesota

Creating a new legal landscape that empowers our country’s farmers and entrepreneurs.

REGINALDO HASLETT-MARROQUIN | Regeneration Agriculture Alliance | Northfield, Minnesota

Building a global model for poultry-powered, planet-cooling, regenerative agriculture.

STEVE MILLER | HBCU Truth & Reconciliation Oral History Project | Henderson, Texas

Working with churches and universities to begin healing racial trauma through story-sharing alliances.


You can find more information about the 2018 Ashoka Fellows at

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For 35 years, Ashoka has pioneered social entrepreneurship – an entire field dedicated to fostering energetic problem-solving right in the communities where the problems exist. Through its time-tested growth platform, it finds, vets, and supports thousands of leading changemakers in the United States and around the world.


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