The Leading Edge Fund seeds, incubates and accelerates bold ideas from the next generation of progressive movement leaders in California.

Each fellow receives $250,000 in general support over three years to take on pervasive inequity and injustice in communities of color across California through organizing and policy advocacy. Fellows also receive individualized technical assistance in program development, fundraising and strategic communications, executive coaching, and annual convenings and networking opportunities.

Introducing the 2019-2021 Fellows:

The 2019-2021 fellows are building movements to fundamentally change the odds for, and with, the most disenfranchised Californians, with a particular focus on organizing people directly impacted by the criminal justice system.

Learn more about the 2019-2021 Leading Edge Fund fellows:

Through his New Breath Foundation, Eddy Zheng will transform opportunities for incarcerated Asian American and Pacific Islander people by connecting diverse stakeholders, including currently and formerly incarcerated leaders, immigrant rights organizations, philanthropy, and more.

Gina Clayton-Johnson and Essie Justice Group will help end mass incarceration by breaking the social and political isolation of women with incarcerated loved ones, mobilizing them as a powerful base to lead and win decarceration campaigns.

Jessica Nowlan and her team at Young Women’s Freedom Center will decriminalize women, girls, and trans and gender non-conforming people of color by helping system-impacted cis and trans women and girls build personal and collective power to lead radical, transformative work.

Lian Cheun and Khmer Girls in Action will lead a movement to divest funding from policing and invest those dollars into youth development, deeply engaging youth in disinvested communities of color to create racial, gender, and economic justice solutions for themselves and their families.

Malachi Garza will repair the harm caused by the war on drugs within communities of color by using cannabis legalization to create long-term economic opportunity through Innovative Justice Solutions.

Ramla Sahid will help transform the lives of refugees and asylum seekers in California by guaranteeing full rights and protections and advancing meaningful freedom for all through The Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans.

Taina Vargas-Edmond will create a comprehensive organizing training program that will mobilize people who are currently incarcerated, formerly incarcerated, and their loved ones to win policy reform through Initiate Justice.

Tamisha Walker will heal communities impacted by mass criminalization and racial disparity and secure universal protections against all forms of discrimination based on criminal history by developing highly skilled formerly incarcerated leaders through Safe Return Project.

Vonya Quarles will reunite Black and Brown families by restoring child custody, foster care and adoption rights for people with criminal convictions through Starting Over, Inc.

Foundation Partners:

Launched in 2016 by the Rosenberg Foundation in partnership with the Hellman Foundation, the Leading Edge Fund supports emerging movement leaders by providing unrestricted funding and leadership development so that they can pursue the vision for change that deep transformation demands. The Fund is generously supported by NoVo FoundationAkonadi FoundationThe California Wellness Foundation and the Heising-Simons Foundation.