Social
Justice
Accelerator

The Social Justice Accelerator empowers up-and-coming leaders by putting the resources of UJC at their disposal, enabling them to leap over the hurdles of being an early stage nonprofit and get directly to serving their constituencies.

The SJA is designed to shepherd new and early-stage social justice organizations through the challenges of developing a well-functioning operation, by bringing them into the UJC community, where they will be mentored by expert leaders in the nonprofit and entrepreneurial fields. Accelerator project receive  two years of concrete tools, support, and resources to help accelerate the growth of their initiatives.

Our new cohort are tackling some of today’s most urgent issues, from mass incarceration, to interpersonal violence, to family separations, to anti-racist organizing. As leading nonprofit watchdog organization Candid has written, up to 1/3rd of nonprofits may be forced to close due to the ongoing pandemic. Where others are pulling back and disbanding, UJC is surging forward.

“We’re in a real moment to address some of our country’s most pressing issues: racism, police brutality, climate change, healthcare access, vitriolic partisanship, extreme wealth disparities, and more. We’ve recruited bold leaders with vision and solutions to seemingly intractable problems.”

– Brooke Richie-Babbage, Director, Social Justice Accelerator

The SJA grows out of our decades-long history of incubating and supporting organizations that stand with marginalized communities, fight for inclusive communities, and push for transformative system-level change.

Watch the video below to find out more about the SJA, or scroll down to see the bios of key SJA staff, information on our recently graduated first SJA class of projects, and our SJA In Review report.

Our 2022 class

Key SJA Staff

Doug Lasdon: Executive Director, UJC

Doug Lasdon launched the UJC as a one-person operation in a burned-out building in East Harlem. In addition to leading the UJC and spearheading the Social Justice Accelerator, Doug is an Adjunct Professor at the Cornell Law School, teaching Poverty Law and Social Entrepreneurship and mentoring students on launching their own social justice projects. He was previously an Adjunct Professor New York University. Doug has served as a consultant to the World Bank, and as a Wasserstein Fellow at Harvard Law School.

Brooke Richie-Babbage: Director, Social Justice Accelerator

Brooke Richie-Babbage is an organizational design and social impact strategy advisor and consultant. Brooke is also an Adjunct Professor of nonprofit leadership and social innovation at the Baruch Graduate School of Public Affairs, as well as the Director of Impact Network Initiatives at the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation. Brooke has been a nonprofit leader, social entrepreneur, social impact strategist, and lawyer at social change organizations for the past 21 years. She has advised and presented papers at law schools throughout the country, and has served on and Chaired multiple nonprofit boards. She is a graduate of Harvard Law, an Echoing Green Finalist, and a Harvard Law School Wasserstein Fellow.

Nick Taranto: Entrepreneur Consultant, Social Justice Accelerator

Nick Taranto was born in New York to a Turkish dad and a mom from Minnesota. After earning his MBA at Harvard Business School, Nick commissioned as an infantry officer in the US Marine Corps. Post active duty, Nick spent six months on Wall Street before leaving to found Plated, a technology-driven food company whose mission is to create a world where healthy, affordable, and delicious food is available to everyone. Plated has created over 1,000 jobs in four states, and has shipped tens of millions of meals across the United States. Nick is a husband and father of two young daughters. He is the author of The Evolved Eater.

Bradley Tusk headshot

Bradley Tusk: Entrepreneur Consultant, Social Justice Accelerator

Bradley Tusk is a venture capitalist, political strategist, philanthropist and writer. He created the first venture capital fund to embrace regulatory risk. He ran the campaigns across the United States to legalize Uber and has since done the same for tech startups like FanDuel, Lemonade, Roman, Bird and dozens of others. He ran Mike Bloomberg’s 2009 re-election campaign, served as the Deputy Governor of Illinois (and managed to come out clean), and served as Chuck Schumer’s Communications Director. He has funded and run the national effort to create mobile voting over the blockchain with 20 different jurisdictions (so far) offering deployed military and people with disabilities the chance to vote on their phones. Bradley is also the chair of a publicly traded gambling company (Ivory Gaming Acquisition Corporation). His foundation has passed legislation in a dozen states to bring regular meals to approximately 6 million children, college students and senior citizens. He is the co-founder of the Gotham Book Prize, the owner of P&T Knitwear — a new bookstore and podcast studio opening this fall on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School, the co-founder and chair of Exalt — a new startup attempting to digitize religion, the author of The Fixer: My Adventures Saving Startups from Death by Politics, the host of Firewall — a podcast about technology and politics, and writes a column for Fast Company. He is also working on a comedic novel about legalizing flying cars.

SJA in review

Read our SJA In Review report, which details the incredible successes of our first class of Social Justice Accelerator fellows. Or download it below.

Download

READ ABOUT OUR HISTORY OF SUCCESS

For more than 30 years, we have incubated trailblazing Projects – read about the first cohort of our SJA to find out more.

Our Success Stories

SUPPORT OUR SOCIAL JUSTICE ACCELERATOR

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