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Pioneers 2020: Investing in the Future of Social Justice


Since its founding in 1952, the Levi Strauss Foundation has taken courageous risks through innovative community partnerships – time and again raising the bar for what it means to be a corporate citizen. On Monday we will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s contributions to the civil rights movement. As we reflect on his legacy and profound impact on the generations that followed, we are inspired by new leaders that are courageously addressing the pressing social issues of our time.

Today, we are excited to announce our new class of Pioneers in Justice, the Levi Strauss Foundation’s signature hometown initiative. This second phase – called Pioneers 2020 – supports next-generation social justice leaders as they innovate through the power of networks and technology and mobilize their voices across sectors.

Our Pioneers carry a range of experiences and leadership tenures in civil rights organizations. They advocate for policy and systems change in the areas of gender, climate change, criminal justice, LGBT rights, racial equity, immigrant rights and gun violence.

Our Pioneers are problem-solvers whose vibrant ties to broader networks and movements make for greater impact. They are keen to collaborate across issues and sectors, and mobilize their voices as champions of the most marginalized to raise consciousness, inspire and drive action.

We can’t wait to work with these amazing leaders and organizations across the Bay Area: 

The political and economic climate has changed significantly since Pioneers in Justice launched in 2010. The Bay Area has witnessed a new “gold rush” fueled by the rapid growth of the technology sector, with soaring housing prices triggering dramatic population shifts. In addition, there has been a groundswell of activism on issues such as immigration, racial justice, income inequality and criminal justice.

Society on a broader scale has seen profound shifts in recent years. Occupy, marriage equality, Black Lives Matter…there’s no question that the past five years has seen inspiring change and progress. Our tools for enacting change have also evolved and the Pioneers 2020 leaders are primed to leverage these new tools and channels to have a greater impact on millennial constituents and movements.

The Pioneers were selected through a rigorous consideration process, based on their capacity, tenacity and commitment to create social change.

Congratulations to our Pioneers past and present. We look forward to rolling up our sleeves together.