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GivingTuesday Announces 2021 Cohort of the Starling Collective

5 Oct 2021 by GivingTuesday
50 grassroots leaders join the global movement’s learning fellowship, selected from 2,000 applications in 90 countries

October 5, 2021 — Today GivingTuesday announced the Starling Collective’s newest cohort: 50 grassroots activists,

artists, organizers, and changemakers inspiring generosity in

Starling Collective Logo

innovative and creative ways to tackle critical issues and heal their communities.

The Starling Collective is a global fellowship designed to upskill grassroots leaders through community building, movement learning, peer support, and connection to GivingTuesday’s global network of movement leaders. Participants will also receive microgrants to support leadership development or accelerate on-the-ground work. The initiative was launched in 2020 to identify and support individuals pursuing innovative approaches to catalyzing generosity, empathy, equity, and justice. 

This year’s cohort was selected from nearly 2,000 applications submitted from 90 countries. More than two-thirds of the applicants came from the Global South. Applications were reviewed by an international team of regional directors, who evaluated the submissions on how their work addressed generosity, leadership, vision, ingenuity, scalability, diversity, and belonging. The Starling Collective’s global regional directors also serve as mentors to participants and aid in facilitating the program’s learning community. 

Fifty applicants representing 29 countries were selected to participate in the six-month program, which provides a learning community and curriculum focusing on skills that are essential to movement building, including storytelling, mobilization, sustainability, and measurement. The cohort includes a wide range of approaches and issue areas; these leaders all share a common passion for creating a positive impact in their communities. This year’s Starlings include:


  • Sharifah Khadijah Syed Razif, a university student and community organizer who is using data and volunteer mobilization to improve the menstrual health and hygiene of women and girls in Malaysia.
  • Sherry Soon, a Singaporean advocate who is creating micro-employment opportunities for youths with special needs.
  • Collin Sserunjogi, a musician who is inspiring giving through music with a live music festival that is performed in different parts of Uganda.
  • Elizabeth Semende, a social justice activist in Zimbabwe who is launching a program to connect potential donors with global LGBTI+ entrepreneurs.
  • Vinod Kumar Pandey, a development worker who is establishing resource cafés in India to help migrants with employment and health programs.
  • Anya Nedungadi, a 16-year-old who is working to bridge the disparity between the quality of teaching in private schools and state schools in the United Kingdom.
  • Jessica Manfre, a community organizer who is launching a project to create in-school pantries and laundry rooms in Title 1 schools across the United States. 
  • Bernard Gabriel Kivuma, a doctor in Tanzania who is working to make mental health and wellness services easily available for vulnerable groups.
  • Gabriela Santiago, an 18-year-old who is working to reforest areas affected by fire in Brazil while educating communities on sustainability and conservation.
  • Imane Lakbachi, a gender equality advocate from Casablanca, Morocco, who is organizing a local youth-led initiative raising awareness about gender-based violence.

A full listing of participants and more information about their work to drive change is available online

”These leaders are doing extraordinary things to unleash generosity and have the ambition to create even more positive change, ” said Asha Curran, CEO of GivingTuesday. “The quality and ingenuity of Starling Collective applicants this year was impressive. There are too many grassroots organizers and community leaders who are overlooked and often don’t get the chance to tap into more learning and resources. The Starling Collective is designed to change that. The path to a more generous world—the world we wish to create together—will depend on these emerging talents and proximate leaders like them who are stepping up regardless of experience or background to strengthen and heal their communities.”

Created in 2012 at New York’s 92nd Street Y and incubated in its Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact as a day to do good, GivingTuesday has grown into a year-round global generosity movement with a distributed network of entrepreneurial leaders who spearhead national movements in more than 75 countries and hundreds of community leaders who create initiatives to increase generosity at a local level. These leaders form a collaborative community that co-leads the movement, shaping new ideas, and driving change worldwide.   

To learn more about the Starling Collective, visit  www.givingtuesday.org/starling


About GivingTuesday

GivingTuesday is a movement that unleashes the power of radical generosity around the world. GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past nine years, it has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity year-round. The movement is brought to life through a distributed network of entrepreneurial leaders who lead national movements in 75 countries and hundreds of communities worldwide, including more than 250 community campaigns across the U.S. alone. At the grassroots level, people and organizations participate in GivingTuesday in every single country in the world. 

To learn more about GivingTuesday participants and activities or to join the global generosity movement, please visit: www.givingtuesday.org and www.givingtuesdayspark.org or find GivingTuesday on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram


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