Prime Movers

Social movements have repeatedly re-woven the tapestry of our country’s history. We’ve invested in men and women who seek to bend the arc of history toward justice, believing we would see a significant return on our investment as these individuals engage millions in pursuit of social change, thus strengthening civic engagement across the United States.

Prime Movers are emerging and established social movement leaders working from the local to national level in the US to create a more just society. The fellowship emphasizes the professional development of individual leaders who engage masses of people. The program cultivates community development among the leaders, establishing a resource-rich network aimed at sharing knowledge and building supportive relationships across movements. This focus allows leaders to think beyond their organizations and take on broader, more pivotal roles within their movements.

We provide financial support, public policy contacts, advocacy training, networking occasions, opportunities for reflection, and a peer network to strengthen their leadership.

What the Fellows Do

Prime Movers convene in various settings—from informal gatherings to more formal seminars, retreats, and peer-to-peer phone calls. As a community, Prime Movers openly discuss intersecting issues and discover new pathways for leading change. Activities include:

Prime Movers opt into expert-led seminars covering everything from movement strategy and personal strategic positioning to theoretical discussions related to mobilizing masses of people. For example, one seminar examined public narrative through Marshall Ganz’ curriculum on identity, agency, and action.

Reflection Retreats
Prime Movers participate in retreats, cloistered away from the demands of movement leadership. The time spent together focuses on a mixture of movement-based conversation and relationship building.

Peer-to-Peer Calls
Prime Movers nourish one another as leaders and discuss current issues that are “top of mind.” The peer community selects topics and fellows take turns serving as facilitators. The goal of these conversations is to have concrete takeaways for participants.

Individual Learning
Prime Movers received grant funds for customized professional development. The grant was distributed over the first two years of their fellowship and is strictly for individual development purposes, not organizational support.

Prime Movers Fellows

Ai-jen Poo
2010 Fellows – Labor Rights

Alan Khazei
2005 Fellows – National Service

Alexia Salvatierra
2008 Fellows – Economic Justice

Anim Steel
2010 Fellows – Environment

Annie Leonard
2014 Fellows – Sustainable Production and Consumption

Ben Burkett
2007 Fellows – Environment

Benjamin Todd Jealous
2013 Fellows – Civic Engagement, Economic Justice, Racial Justice

Bill McKibben
2009 Fellows – Environment

Billy Parish
2009 Fellows – Environment

Cheryl Dorsey
2007 Fellows – Social Entrepreneurship

Cheryl Jacques
2005 Fellows – LGBT Rights

Christine Neumann-Ortiz
2007 Fellows – Immigrant Rights

Cristina Jimenez Moreta
2014 Fellows – Immigrant Rights

Daisy Khan
2007 Fellows – Racial Justice, Women’s Rights

Darell Hammond
2005 Fellows – Children’s Rights

Dave Anderson
2011 Fellows – Children’s Rights, Foster Care Reform

David Flink
2010 Fellows – Learning Disabilities, Learning Rights

Dune Lankard
2008 Fellows – Environment

Eboo Patel
2005 Fellows – Interfaith Youth Cooperation

Ellen Goodman
2014 Fellows – End of Life Care

Emily May
2014 Fellows – Anti-Street Harassment

Eric Schwarz
2005 Fellows – Children’s Rights, Education Reform

EunSook Lee
2008 Fellows – Immigrant Rights

Geoffrey Canada
2005 Fellows – Children’s Rights, Education Reform

George Goehl
2011 Fellows – Economic Justice

Giovanna Negretti
2008 Fellows – Immigrant Rights

James Rucker
2011 Fellows – Racial Justice

Jarrett Barrios
2011 Fellows – LGBT Rights

Jennifer Chrisler
2007 Fellows – LGBT Rights

Jim Wallis
2005 Fellows – Economic Justice

Jonah Edelman
2005 Fellows – Education Advocacy

Josh Viertel
2010 Fellows – Environment

Judith Browne Dianis
2013 Fellows – Voting Rights

Kevin Bales
2009 Fellows – Anti-Trafficking

Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner
2008 Fellows – Women’s Rights

LeeAnn Hall
2008 Fellows – Economic Justice, Immigrant Rights

Majora Carter
2008 Fellows – Accessible Job Creation

Malcolm Lazin
2007 Fellows – LGBT Rights

Malkia Cyril
2013 Fellows – Media Democracy

Marc Freedman
2005 Fellows – Redefining Aging

Maria Teresa Kumar
2009 Fellows – Immigrant Rights

Marielena Hincapie
2014 Fellows – Immigrant Rights

Mark Hanis
2010 Fellows – Anti-Genocide

Mauricio Lim Miller
2013 Fellows – Anti-Poverty

Maya Enista Smith
2011 Fellows – Civic Engagement

Michael Petit
2005 Fellows – Children’s Rights

Pablo Alvarado
2011 Fellows – Immigrant Rights, Labor Rights

Paul Rieckhoff
2007 Fellows – National Service, New Veteran’s Rights

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins
2011 Fellows – Environment

Rachel Lloyd
2010 Fellows – Anti-Trafficking

Rea Carey
2013 Fellows – LGBT Rights

Rebecca Onie
2011 Fellows – Health Care Reform

Rinku Sen
2009 Fellows – Racial Justice

Rosanne Haggerty
2009 Fellows – Homelessness

Saket Soni
2011 Fellows – Immigrant Rights, Racial Justice

Sara Horowitz
2005 Fellows – Labor Rights

Sarita Gupta
2013 Fellows – Worker’s Rights

Saru Jayaraman
2011 Fellows – Labor Rights

Shawn Dove
2014 Fellows – Black Male Achievement

Tony Massaro
2005 Fellows – Environment

Van Jones
2008 Fellows – Economic Justice, Environment, Racial Justice

Will Allen
2013 Fellows – Urban Agriculture

Zachary Norris
2014 Fellows – Ending Mass Incarceration

Zainab Salbi
2007 Fellows – Women’s Rights

Note: The Prime Movers Fellowship Program is no longer accepting new applicants.

Program Leadership

  • Iman Abdul-Musawwir, Director