Angelou Ezeilo

Ashoka Fellow
United States
Fellow Since 2016


This profile was prepared when Angelou Ezeilo was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2016.
The New Idea
Angelou Ezeilo is working to address the major disconnect in this country between people of color and the environment. To do so she founded the Greening Youth Foundation with the goal of changing the face of conservation in the United States while simultaneously providing pathways for skill development and into meaningful careers for young people of color in America. In cities like Atlanta, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Selma and beyond, African American youth in particular face unemployment rates well above the national average, and often limited opportunities for career development. Meanwhile, the leadership and workforce responsible for protecting and stewarding our public lands and championing the next phase of the environmental movement is less and less representative of our more diverse population, and is getting older. Beginning with launching talented young people into conservation careers, Greening Youth Foundation seeks to establish a new paradigm of ‘sustainable diversity’ whereby communities of color become the backbone of the next conservation workforce and the source of its leaders.

GYF has worked with thousands of young people and placed more than 750 in jobs around the country, but the goal is a broader paradigm shift: with federal agencies, universities and local municipalities across the country, as well as civil society partners, enabling a sector that has consistently failed to reach and engage the African American community to do so at time when its success and future relevance increasingly depends on it. And in the process, flip the narrative about young African American men and women by giving them pathways to be stewards and restorers of our shared natural resources.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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