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Source: Ashoka

Making Change: Nick Tilsen

This article originally appeared on Bill Moyers

In this video, Ashoka Fellow Nick Tilsen discusses his inspiration for starting a sustainable community development initiative on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota - a 60 million dollar project that will span over ten years.



Early on, Nick realized that many of the most effective changemakers were those with deep personal ties to the communities that they sought to improve. In his case, he knew the challenges of sparking innovation in historically disadvantaged Native American communities, and was determined to make a difference. Through the Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation, Nick is helping to build a sustainable community that will provide housing and utilities for the population of Pine Ridge Reservation. Nick also talks about generationalism as one of the main challenges in building the project, and the biases that can prevent young people from taking charge. 

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Ashoka insight

"Everyone has the ability to be a changemaker," says Nick Tilsen, Ashoka Fellow and founder of the Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation. "I think that to be a changemaker is directly related to mobility. Once people have their basic needs met, the ability to innovative, to motivate others, to help one another, to look beyond what your basic things are right in front of you, is a game changer."