The San Francisco Bay Area has not only been Levi Strauss & Co.’s hometown for the past 150 years. It’s also a renowned cradle of innovation, both for technology and social movements.

The Levi Strauss Foundation’s Pioneers in Justice initiative supports a group of next-generation leaders of “bedrock” San Francisco civil rights organizations as they retool their organizations to transform social justice movements by partnering with “unlikely allies” outside their sectors, and testing new technologies and social media tools to reach stakeholders.

With Pioneers in Justice, the Levi Strauss Foundation extends its legacy of identifying and supporting social leaders all over the world who embody the pioneering spirit of Levi Strauss, forging on his legacy of risk-taking and commitment to social justice.


The Levi Strauss Foundation supports these next-generation social justice leaders because they embody the unique characteristics of Levi Strauss & Co.’s pioneering spirit. These leaders share some common attributes:

  • They work at the front lines of social change on the social justice issues of our day;
  • They take value-based stands, challenging conventions and pushing the limits of what’s possible;
  • They explore new ways of leading, collaborating and communicating; and,
  • They advance the social justice sector, both locally and nationally.


We launched the Pioneers in Justice initiative in 2010 to redefine the relationship between the funder and grantee by helping next-generation leaders from five of the Bay Area’s leading social justice non-profits scale their impact by investing in capacity building and supporting new ways of working.

We invite you to read this collection of first-person reflections from the this first class – Voices: Pioneers in Justice. We hope that you are inspired by their candid stories on leadership, change management and resiliency during these turbulent political times. Meet the class.


The Pioneers 2020 class was convened in 2015 to support a new class of social justice leaders as they innovate through the power of networks and technology and mobilize their voices across sectors. Meet the class.