Social Justice Accelerator
Through our Social Justice Accelerator, we bring regular classes of new fellows into the UJC fold, where they gain access to our resources, experiences, community, and infrastructure. This enables them to leap over the hurdles of being an early stage nonprofit and get directly to serving their constituency.
The SJA is designed to shepherd new and early-stage social justice organizations through the challenges of developing a well-functioning operation, by bringing them into the UJC community, where they will be mentored by expert leaders in the nonprofit and entrepreneurial fields. Individuals invited into the Accelerator will receive up to two years of concrete tools, support, and resources to help accelerate the growth of their initiatives.
The SJA grows out of our decades-long history of incubating and supporting organizations that stand with marginalized communities, fight for inclusive communities, and push for transformative system-level change.
Watch the video below to find out more about the SJA, or scroll down to see the bios of key SJA staff, information on our recently graduated first SJA class of projects, and our 2020 SJA In Review report. Our next cohort will begin in September of 2021.
Key SJA Staff
Doug Lasdon: Executive Director, UJC
Doug Lasdon launched the UJC as a one-person operation in a burned-out building in East Harlem. In addition to leading the UJC and spearheading the Social Justice Accelerator, Doug is an Adjunct Professor at the Cornell Law School, teaching Poverty Law and Social Entrepreneurship and mentoring students on launching their own social justice projects. He was previously an Adjunct Professor New York University. Doug has served as a consultant to the World Bank, and as a Wasserstein Fellow at Harvard Law School.
Brooke Richie-Babbage: Director, Social Justice Accelerator
Brooke Richie-Babbage is an organizational design and social impact strategy advisor and consultant. Brooke is also an Adjunct Professor of nonprofit leadership and social innovation at the Baruch Graduate School of Public Affairs, as well as the Director of Impact Network Initiatives at the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation. Brooke has been a nonprofit leader, social entrepreneur, social impact strategist, and lawyer at social change organizations for the past 21 years. She has advised and presented papers at law schools throughout the country, and has served on and Chaired multiple nonprofit boards. She is a graduate of Harvard Law, an Echoing Green Finalist, and a Harvard Law School Wasserstein Fellow.
Nick Taranto: Entrepreneur Consultant, Social Justice Accelerator
Nick Taranto was born in New York to a Turkish dad and a mom from Minnesota. After earning his MBA at Harvard Business School, Nick commissioned as an infantry officer in the US Marine Corps. Post active duty, Nick spent six months on Wall Street before leaving to found Plated, a technology-driven food company whose mission is to create a world where healthy, affordable, and delicious food is available to everyone. Plated has created over 1,000 jobs in four states, and has shipped tens of millions of meals across the United States. Nick is a husband and father of two young daughters. He is the author of The Evolved Eater.
Our 2019-2021 class
SJA in Review
Read our 2020 SJA In Review report, which details the incredible successes of our first class of Social Justice Accelerator fellows.