We celebrate the work that often goes unheralded, and the people and organizations that keep our vision for a just world alive. Too frequently, we focus only on the final outcome of a campaign instead of taking a moment to honor the often-unsung heroes behind the scenes. The Community Change Champion Awards were created to do just that: to recognize the people and organizations whose work is making progress toward social justice a reality. We honor work that reshapes the political landscape and challenges us to press forward toward a better world:
The organizers and leaders who inspire people to identify the changes they need and take action to fight for them.
The public servants who carry the voices of the people with them into the corridors of power.
The artists and thinkers who envision a more just future, and what it will take to get us all there.
The donors and philanthropists who help build a broader movement by connecting people with resources that help them fight for change.
Our partners in the labor movement, who share CCC’s commitment to rights and opportunity for hard-working people.
The organizations that bring people together and build their communities with grassroots power.
And the activists who demonstrate bravery, determination and resolve, even when the obstacles seem insurmountable and change seems out of reach.
This Year's Honorees
President, and the Young Leaders of Planned Parenthood
Jeffrey David Cox, Jr.
President, American Federation of Government Employees
The Leaders of the Texas Organizing Project and Executive Director
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Previous Years Honorees
Quinn Delaney, President of Akonadi Foundation
George Gresham, President of 1199 SEIU United Health Care Workers East
Pramila Jayapal, Executive Director of OneAmerica
Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera
Frances Fox Piven, Professor of Political Science CUNY
Congressman Raúl Grijalva, Arizona’s 7th District
Communications Workers of America
Paulette Meyer and David Friedman
Ohio Organizing Collaborative Award
Mary Kay Henry
Angelica Salas and Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles
Susan Sandler and Steve Phillips
Katrina vanden Heuvel and The Nation
Dorsey Nunn and All of Us or None
Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund
Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
Jonathan and Connie Heller
Arnie Graf and the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation
Anthony “Marc” Perrone
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Champion in Philanthropic Leadership
Donna Hall is President & CEO of the Women Donors Network, a national community of 200+ progressive women who together and individually make contributions of more than $180 million a year toward social change. Recognizing that race, gender, and class are inextricably linked, WDN’s collaborative work takes an intersectional approach. We partnered with Gulf South Allied Funders to help rebuild the NOLA region after Hurricane Katrina, recently created the Jean Hardisty Catalytic Impact Fund which is supporting grassroots leadership in the Movement for Black Lives, and incubated the Reflective Democracy Campaign to address the severe underrepresentation of women and people of color in political power. WDN is based in San Francisco, California.
Champion in Community Activism
Wade Henderson is the president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the nation’s premier civil and human rights coalition, and The Leadership Conference Education Fund. Under his stewardship, The Leadership Conference has become one of the nation’s most effective advocates for civil and human rights. Mr. Henderson is also the Joseph L. Rauh, Jr., Professor of Public Interest Law at the David A. Clarke School of Law, University of the District of Columbia. Prior to his role with The Leadership Conference, Mr. Henderson was the Washington Bureau director of the NAACP. Mr. Henderson is a graduate of Howard University and the Rutgers University School of Law. He is a member of the Bar in the District of Columbia and the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Henderson has received countless awards and honors, including the prestigious Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights and the Charles Hamilton Houston Medallion of Merit from the Washington Bar Association.
Champion in Community Organizing
Gloria Walton has been called one of the country’s most exciting “next generation” political leaders. She is President & CEO of Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE), a South L.A.-based community organization that ensures poor and working-class communities have an equal voice in the democratic process.
Under her leadership, SCOPE has played a pivotal role in passing statewide propositions. Ms. Walton also led the organizing effort for SCOPE’s green jobs and training programs.
She is a recipient of the James Irvine Foundation’s Fund for Leadership Advancement grant and was named one of Liberty Hill Foundation’s Leaders to Watch in 2011. She has recently received the 2016 NAACP-LA’s Empowerment Award and the LA League of Conservation Voters Environmental Justice Champion Award.
She currently serves on the Board of Directors of California Calls, the Coordinating Committee of the Black Worker Center, and is a Founding Advisory Board member of a national collaborative known as BOLD (Black Organizing for Leadership & Dignity).
Champion in Labor Partnership
Maria Elena Durazo is Vice President for Immigration, Diversity and Civil Rights at UNITE HERE. UNITE HERE represents 270,000 members working in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation, and airport industries in the U.S. and Canada. Maria Elena served previously as Secretary Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO (2006-2015), and as an organizer, and then President of Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union (HERE) Local 11. In 2003, Maria Elena was National Director of the Immigrant Workers’ Freedom Ride, a national campaign to address the nation’s immigration laws.
Emerging Change Champion
Cherri Delesline is a Fight for $15 fast food worker organizer from Charleston, SC. She has worked as a cashier for McDonalds for 10 years, and has been organizing and fighting for living wages and better treatment of fast food workers. She takes bold risks and is a frontline organizer, having been arrested at McDonald’s headquarters, and also organizes amidst Klan intimidation in her neighborhood. She inspires other workers to fight this fight, and continues to build, even with limited access to resources and infrastructure.
These awards are all about honoring an outstanding group of leaders in the fight for economic equity and social justice. Each year we celebrate social justice heroes – both sung and unsung – who have dedicated their work and, in some cases, their lifetimes to change the lives of low-income people and people of color across the country.
The Emerging Change Champion Award was established by the Center for Community Change and the Petra Foundation to recognize emerging or overlooked champions of change, who work to build power for greater social and economic justice in low income communities, specifically low income communities of color. The application for nominating potential Emerging Change Champions is now closed.
Nominate a Champion
The Emerging Change Champion Award was established by the Center for Community Change and the Petra Foundation to recognize emerging or overlooked champions of change, who work to build power for greater social and economic justice in low income communities, specifically low income communities of color. With this award, the Center for Community Change will acknowledge an up-and-coming leader who has demonstrated high levels of leadership and promise, with the potential to reach beyond organizational boundaries to build a broader movement.
Individuals nominated for the Emerging Change Champion Award should display a combination of activism and thought, force of character, independence of judgment, and clarity of expression.