Hidden Heroes 2015

Every year, The Andrew Goodman Foundation highlights excellence in social change leadership at the Annual Hidden Heroes Award Ceremony. Launched in 2009, the program aims to inspire, educate and reward people who take personal responsibility for healing the world. The Hidden Heroes program recognizes and provides a grant to mid-career non-profit and social enterprise leaders. In addition the program honors a Legacy Award, Humanitarian Award, Media Hero Award, and Social Justice Advocate Awards. A Fellowship opportunity for emerging leaders to work at Hidden Hero organizations is organized through a partnership with The Roosevelt Institute.

Twenty-one social change leaders have received over $105,000 in grants and resources since 2009; we’re excited to welcome five new change agents to the Hidden Heroes community!

2015 AGF Hidden Heroes: 

The Freedom Food Alliance is a collective of small rural and urban farmers, activists, artists, community members and political prisoners who use food as an organizing tool to address food sovereignty, environmental justice, prisoner justice and economic justice. The collective believes it is important to bridge the gap between urban and rural because strong regional unity can create sustainable alternatives and tackle injustices in communities.
Leah Penniman is an educator, farmer, and food justice activist from Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, NY. She is committed to dismantling the oppressive structures that misguide our food system, reconnecting marginalized communities to land, and upholding our responsibility to steward the land that nourishes us. As a core member of the Freedom Food Alliance, Leah cultivates life-giving food for incarcerated people and their loved ones. She also runs an on-farm restorative justice program that is an alternative-to-incarceration for area teens. Leah’s work as a farmer and educator has been recognized nationally by the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program, Presidential Award for Science Teaching, YES! Magazine, the Teaching Channel, New Technology Network, College Board, National Science Teachers Association, Edutopia, Center for Whole Communities, and Rethinking Schools. Leah holds a MA in Science Education and BA in Environmental Science and International Development from Clark University.

Justine Zinkin is CEO of Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners. She has overseen the dramatic growth of the organization since 2002, cultivating the organization as a national leader in the financial empowerment and asset development fields. Justine has more than 15 years of experience in nonprofit and community development work. Justine joined Neighborhood Trust Federal Credit Union and its nonprofit affiliate, Credit Where Credit Is Due (renamed Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners in 2012) in 2002 in order to support its mission of financial empowerment in the Washington Heights community. Neighborhood Trust’s signature Financial Empowerment Integration Model is now in over 30 locations in New York City, and their technical assistance arm has provided services in major cities nationally. In 2013 the New York City Mayor’s Office named Neighborhood Trust one of New York City’s ten most innovative nonprofits. Justine has been a featured speaker at various financial services innovation and asset development convenings, including the Center for American Progress, Center for Financial Services Innovation, Corporate for Enterprise Development, PopTech, and TEDx. Justine holds an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School, an M.S. in Population Studies from Harvard University’s School of Public Health, and a B.A. from Brown University.

The Reciprocity Foundation is a world-class, contemplative 501c(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2005 by Taz Tagore and Adam Bucko to help homeless and foster care youth to break the cycle of poverty by starting a meaningful career, entering a college program, finding independent housing and healing from abuse/trauma. They offer a unique combination of holistic and career-and educational advancement programs to facilitate “inner” and “outer” transformation in the lives of homeless youth. They are the only agency providing this unique set of services in the five boroughs of New York City and receive countless referrals from youth shelters, drop-in centers, legal clinics, foster care agencies and health clinics.The Foundation serves youth ranging in age from 15-25 years. Over 80% of youth served identify as both youth of color (primarily of African American or Hispanic descent) and as Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual. Roughly 15% of youth in their programs are HIV+ and 10% were formerly incarcerated. The Reciprocity Foundation collaborates with foster care agencies, supportive housing developments and shelters for homeless youth to provide seamless, long term programming and support.