Leadership and Priorities
Just a few short years after the landmark victories of the Civil Rights movement and the assassination of Martin Luther King, Andrew Young became Georgia’s first elected black congressman since reconstruction—from a district that was mostly white—running with the campaign slogan of “Think Young.” His election wasn’t the first “impossible” thing he’s done, and it wouldn’t be the last.
With a belief in the possibility of change, the importance of leadership, and the necessity for collaborative action, Young helped bring about an end to legal segregation in America. He led Atlanta’s transformation from a sleepy southern town into a bold and booming international city
Now in his mid-80s, Andrew Young is “Thinking Young.” He is tackling humankind’s most persistent problems, still guided by the divine mandates he preached as a pastor: to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to heal the sick. Young doesn’t view these as impossible dreams. Indeed, the Foundation is energetically identifying and embracing new technologies, approaches to organizing, and collaborative strategies to drive change. The Foundation is bringing together the best thinking and resources of the public and private sectors to promote sustainable solutions for addressing hunger, creating economic opportunity, and promoting shared prosperity.
Jeremy the Copy below replace the project descriptions from the program book with the following
Achieving the vision of widely shared prosperity and human flourishing requires more than philanthropy: it requires discovering and implementing sustainable solutions to the global challenges of poverty, hunger, and food insecurity. The Andrew J. Young Foundation is supporting innovative projects that will “feed the hungry” in a world of increasing uncertainty while creating economic growth and opportunity for generations of farmers and entrepreneurs.
The Foundation has launched a program that will address both rural poverty in the U.S. and the need for a cost-effective alternative protein source for people around the world. Reflecting Ambassador Young’s commitment to collaborative leadership, the program is bringing together the expertise of the agricultural research programs of the federal government and Historically Black College and Universities to design and launch a program to investigate the best means of cultivating Duckweed for human consumption.
The program will benefit farmers, rural communities, people who need access to affordable protein, entrepreneurs who will find ways to profit from and promote the industry, and the educational institutions, faculty, and students who will develop new processes, products and technologies to move Duckweed cultivation from research to full-scale commercialization.
The Mississippi River flows through the American heartland and plays a crucial role in sustaining the nation’s agricultural sector. Its annual economic impact exceeds $400 billion. But much of the infrastructure needed to support transportation and tourist and recreational uses, including levees, locks and dams, is at or beyond its functional lifespan, a situation that threatens local communities and the nation’s economic vitality. There is no viable source of public funds sufficient to meet the massive need for infrastructure investment.
The Andrew J. Young Foundation, building on Ambassador Young’s successful deployment of private investment to turn Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport into the world’s busiest, is partnering with river advocates to seek private and direct foreign investment to tackle the long-term needs of communities along the river. The Foundation is partnering with the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative, a coalition of 75 cities in ten states working to promote economic and environmental security and stability along the Mississippi River Corridor. Mobilizing investment in this crucial national recourse will allow local officials to rebuild infrastructure that is efficient, economically and environmentally sustainable, and promotes multiple uses of the river.
With forces of division and reaction threatening the gains of the past half century, we are witnessing the harm caused by political leaders who inflame our fears and deepen our divides in service of their own advancement. But we are also witnessing the potentially transformative impact of people finding their voices as leaders who can awaken others’ consciences and guide their energies into effective action.
Ambassador Young believes that leadership is not just a function of age or experience. His own experience in the youth-led Civil Rights Movement gives him an appreciation for the energy and innovative organizing strategies being deployed by young organizers today. These efforts will only be successful if we nurture and support successful leaders, which is the goal of the Foundation’s Lead Young project.
Lead Young believes that “passing the torch” is not a passive act to be taken reluctantly, but a form of strategic social activism. We are seeking out social entrepreneurs with big ideas and the determination to achieve them. And we are providing training, administrative support and mentorship to young leaders while their projects develop the ability to operate independently.
We recognize that for young people today the Civil Rights Movement is history. But it is a history with great relevance to the movements of this moment. We have a unique opportunity to build bridges between generations of change agents. Making full use of the hard-won lessons of the past and the remarkable technologies of the present, we can and must develop strategies for sustainable long-term change — and leaders with the ability to carry them out.