Roots & Shoots is Growing An Inclusive Network of Change-makers


Roots & Shoots just turned 28, and after 28 years of providing young people and educators the tools they need to make compassionate decisions for the planet we all share, we’re taking the program to the next level. With generous support from the Fund II Foundation, this year Roots & Shoots is proud to announce incredible partnerships that will increase the program’s reach by nearly 15,000 individuals! The JGI program will now be in even more communities to support even more youth activists, educators, and other change-makers working together to take action for people, other animals and the planet.  

How? Growing An Inclusive Network of Change-makers 

To continue realizing the Roots & Shoots vision to empower young people to make compassionate decisions that create a better world, we have to be intentional and bring in as many people in as possible. It’s important that young people, especially underrepresented and under-served youth, see themselves in movements of activism and have an outlet to become involved in making positive change happen for their communities. When it comes to issues of environmental and social justice, people of color are often both most affected and provided the least agency and access to grow solutions (Atlantic). This cannot continue.  

As Roots & Shoots is all about providing access and agency, we’re doing something about it. There have been many strides in our work towards this end, including our Fund II Foundation Roots & Shoots Fellowship program dedicated to fostering professional development of U.S. based young people of color alongside those with a commitment to serving youth of color in under-served communities. And while we’re providing these incredible change-makers with the tools to soar, we’re also working with partners who are already a part of their communities and know not only what tools and support they need, but how they need it. Because the R&S system is so adaptable – it’s a perfect fit!  Through our new partnerships, we seek to empower a greater number of young people to feel seen, be heard and take action.  

IMG_2399Through these partnerships, a larger and more diverse number of change-makers will be empowered to take action to make a positive impact in their communities, and in more communities geographically than ever before. Each 2019 Roots & Shoots partner has a shared mission to empower youth through the development of compassionate decision making skills, networking with other impactful peers/leaders and through providing professional development resources. The best part is that as much as we share in common – each one is unique, providing so many styles, tools and opportunities for every single person we reach!  

Who are our partners? 

Urban Specialists 

Urban Specialists changes the cultural environment of their communities in order to stop senseless violence. Through invading the most influential segments of Urban Culture, they intrude with actual alternative life experiences that transform and empower.[Text Wrapping Break]. Urban Specialists seeks to, “create lasting shifts in power, opportunity, laws and culture necessary to stop senseless violence.” 

The 100 Black Men of Indianapolis 

Founded in 1984, The 100 Black Men of Indianapolis is a youth development organization whose mission revolves around men giving real time to positively impact the development and outcomes of several hundred youth, K-12th grades in the Indianapolis communities.  

Aspen Institute Young Leaders Fellowship 

The Aspen Institute Young Leaders Fellowship, is a place-based multi-site program of The Aspen Institute, that serves as an initiative for youth engagement with local communities to develop the next generation of purpose-driven leaders nationwide. “Over 15 months, Fellows build skills necessary to engage effectively and lead change in their communities and beyond.” 

Democracy Prep Public Schools 

Democracy Prep was founded in 2005 and opened its first school in 2006. According to their website, “By 2009, DPCS became the highest performing school in Central Harlem and was ranked the number one public middle school in New York City.” Their mission is “To educate responsible citizen-scholars for success in the college of their choice and a life of active citizenship.” Currently operating 21 schools and one program in New York, New Jersey, Baton Rouge, Las Vegas, and San Antonio the DPCS is educating 6,500 citizen-scholars. 

They assert that, “By proving that students, regardless of what ZIP code they are born into, can perform at high academic levels, we seek to transform not only the lives of the students at Democracy Prep but also the expectation of what public schools can achieve.” 

East Harlem Tutorial Program 

Founded as a children’s reading group in 1958, The East Harlem Tutorial Program  now serves more than 1500 scholars in East Harlem each year. Their mission is to prepare students with the academic skills, strength of character, and emotional well-being to excel in high school and college, lead in their communities, and realize their best possible selves. Working largely in  

Connective, Inc. 

Connective, Inc’s mission is to help youth define their gifts, which in turn will help them define their purpose in the world and also in their own narrative universe. We aim to change lives and provide the structure that is instrumental to success. All dreams are attainable if the necessary tools are made accessible to those who pursue them. “Our approach is designed to be radical, receptive and ultimately effective towards permanent progress.” 

The National Wildlife Federation 

The National Wildlife Federation works to connect young people with the nature and the outdoors by promoting themes like habitat restoration, influencing policy makers and promoting a variety of outdoor programs to inspire youth to develop a relationship with nature. Using editorial pieces like Ranger Rick® magazine, and offering tools to parents and educators, and organizing youth around service learning projects, The NWF educates communities about the significance of connecting with the outdoors.  

We believe that EVERY individual has a role to play. It’s the Roots & Shoots vision that we can build a world where all young people are given the support and tools they need to make a difference. Through our partnerships this year and moving forward, we will be able to connect with even more incredible young people and achieve that vision of a more compassionate world, filled with compassionate citizens making compassionate decisions every single day.  

Want to get started with Roots & Shoots 


The Jane Goodall Institute is a global community conservation organization that advances the vision and work of Dr. Jane Goodall. By protecting chimpanzees and inspiring people to conserve the natural world we all share, we improve the lives of people, animals and the environment. Everything is connected—everyone can make a difference.

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About Author

Shelby Dye is the Community Engagement Associate at the Jane Goodall Institute for Roots & Shoots, where she works to connect young people to Dr. Jane Goodall's vision and the JGI mission. Shelby graduated from the University of Arkansas with a B.A. in Physical Anthropology and a B.A. in Journalism with a focus on advertising and public relations. Shelby is experienced in influencer marketing and public relations for non-profits. When she's not busy exploring the wonderful world of media, she likes learning new dance moves and reciting Disney movies word-for-word.