Back to What's New

Eight Bold Movement Leaders Named 2016 Leading Edge Fund Fellows

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The Rosenberg Foundation ( announced a new fund that is awarding $2 million to eight bold leaders who are taking on pervasive inequity and injustice in California. Created in partnership with the Hellman Foundation (, the Leading Edge Fund will seed, incubate and accelerate the work of next generation progressive movement leaders.

The eight new Leading Edge fellows each will receive $225,000 in general support over three years to tackle deep barriers to opportunity in the areas of criminal justice, immigrant rights and racial justice through policy change and movement building. In addition, the fellows will receive technical assistance on strategy, program design, fundraising and communications.

“We need to take a giant leap in order to put an end to business as usual and get rid of policies that have oppressed communities of color and low-income communities for decades,” said Tim Silard, president of the Rosenberg Foundation. “Justice, civil rights and equity are issues that are of utmost importance for California’s future. It is our privilege to support these incredible leaders to take risks and address these issues.”

From ending racialized police violence, to shining a light on disproportionate incarceration rates for Native Americans, to expanding the role of the public defender to ensure representation for immigrants, the fellows’ cutting-edge ideas have the potential to transform the state.

“The Leading Edge Fund incubates great ideas to create concrete change for some of the most disadvantaged communities in the state,” said Mick Hellman of the Hellman Foundation. “We’re enthusiastically investing in these innovative leaders with confidence that their work to bring equity and justice will make a tangible difference.”

About the 2016 Leading Edge Fund fellows:

Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, is leading a team to build a rapid response network of tens of thousands of Californians to eliminate state violence against people of color.

Meredith Desautels, a civil rights attorney, aims to dramatically reduce the incarceration of youth across the state, starting with an area that is ripe for reform: youth incarceration resulting from probation violations.

Morning Star Gali, a leader in the Native American community and a member of the Ajumawi band of the Pit River Tribe in Northeastern California, will organize the Native community to cut the imprisonment of Native Americans.

Michael Gomez Daly, an expert in voter engagement, will use data and tech to boost voter engagement and civic participation among immigrants and other people of color in California.

Raj Jayadev, founder of Silicon Valley De-Bug, will work to transform the role, make-up and decision-making powers of judges and juries in criminal courts across the state.

Raha Jorjani, an immigration defense attorney, will expand the role of the public defender in California to ensure representation for immigrants. This would include effective representation during criminal cases and extending to immigration court if immigrants are placed in deportation proceedings once the criminal case is over.

Nicole Pittman, Director of the Center on Youth Registration Reform, will work to eliminate the practice of placing children on sex offender registries. She will advocate for policy reform, build coalitions and shift the narrative around minors accused of sex crimes, exposing the irreparable, lifelong harm done by requiring them to register as sex offenders.

Samuel Sinyangwe, co-founder of WeTheProtesters, will help advance statewide and national policy change to end police violence by using data, technology and online organizing.

For more information about the Leading Edge Fund, please visit:

Stay Connected