American Express NGen Leadership Award

Meet the 2020 American Express NGen Award Recipient

The 2021 NGen Award application period is now open. Submit your application by June 28, 2021Questions? Please contact

Each year Independent Sector presents the American Express NGen Leadership Award to one emerging leader age 40 and under whose creative and collaborative leadership is accelerating transformative social and community change. We are proud to announce that our 2020 award winner is Terence Lester, speaker, activist, author, systemic poverty thought leader, and founder and executive director of Love Beyond Walls.

In 2013, Terence founded Love Beyond Walls, a nonprofit that provides dignity to the homeless and poor by offering a voice, visibility, shelter, community, and grooming and support services to achieve self-sufficiency in Atlanta and beyond. In 2019 he launched Dignity Museum, the first traveling museum in the U.S. that represents homelessness out of a shipping container, using interactive technology, research, storytelling, exhibits, and thought-provoking questions that help visitors confront their ideas of homelessness and challenges of escaping it.

Terence was among a pool of more than 80 nominees considered by IS staff and our Selection Committee. As the recipient of the award, Terence was honored and delivered remarks on the Main Stage during Upswell 2020, and all award finalists were featured as key thought leaders in the Upswell program.

2020 Finalists

The process began in May with more than 80 nominations. IS staff and our outstanding Selection Committee conducted a rigorous review of the submissions. And after careful deliberation, we’re proud to present the six exceptional finalists for the 2020 American Express NGen Leadership Award!

You’ll get to meet these talented emerging changemakers and learn about their work to accelerate transformative change in communities across the country this fall during the Upswell Summit, October 14-16.

In the meantime, get to know our finalists during a special Twitter Town Hall, Wednesday, September 23, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm ET. They’ll introduce themselves, and answer your questions about what inspires their collaborative work to make a significant impact in an intractable community or social issue area.

Brandon Anderson
Founder & Executive Director

Chanel Hampton
Founder and CEO
Strategic Community Partners

Laxmi Parthasarathy
Chief Operating Officer
Global Press

Niya White
Congress Heights Campus of Center City Public Charter Schools

Noah Blue Elk Hotchkiss
Tribal Adaptive Organization

Terence Lester
Founder & Executive Director
Love Beyond Walls

Selection Committee

It takes an amazing group of sector leaders to carefully consider an outstanding group of emerging leaders working to accelerate transformative change in communities across the country, whittle that group down to six amazing finalists — and then one extraordinary winner of the 2020 American Express NGen Leadership Award.

We are honored to have found such a group, and thank the members of our Selection Committee, shown below, who dedicated their time and consideration to identifying the six award finalists.

C. Diane Wallace Booker, Esq.
Chief Strategy Officer & Executive Vice President
U.S. Dream Academy, Inc.

Mary V. Bordeaux
Vice President of Operations & Programs
First Peoples Fund

Carly Bad Heart Bull
Executive Director
Native Ways Federation

Paul D. Daugherty
President & CEO
Philanthropy West Virginia

Rebecca English
Senior Manager of Governance and Membership
Hispanics in Philanthropy

Lauren Gilbert
Chief Executive Officer

Jonathan Hayden
Director Of Operations
Leadership Foundation’s Colangelo Carpenter Innovation Center

Megan Jacobs, MPH
Managing Director, Product, Innovations
Truth Initiative®

Barbara Johnson
Senior Director of Race and Gender Equity
YWCA Greater Pittsburgh

Kelley Kuhn
Vice President
Michigan Nonprofit Association

John Miller
President & CEO
Guide Dog Foundation and America’s VetDogs

Ciara Myers
Strategic Communications Manager
Meyer Foundation

Donald M. Ragona
Director of Development/House Counsel
Native American Rights Fund

Darlene Slaughter
Vice President & Chief People Officer
March of Dimes

Jacques Steinberg
Author of The Gatekeepers and The College Conversation

Jim Taylor
Vice President of Leadership Initiatives

Past Recipients

Megan Jacobs
Truth Initiative

Stacy Stout
City of Grand Rapids

Sarah Eagle Heart
Native Americans in Philanthropy

Diana Nambatya Nsubuga
Global Health Corps

Julieta Garibay
United We Dream

Sarah Kastelic
National Indian Child Welfare Association

Sarah Johnson
Carnegie Hall’s Weill Institute of Music

Jeff Edmondson

Ai-jen Poo
National Domestic Workers Alliance

Darell Hammond

The American Express NGen Leadership Award is supported by