Ashoka Youth Years is on the forefront of a movement to inspire every young person to become a changemaker - anyone who takes action to solve problems or create opportunities for the greater good. In partnership with young people and influential institutions, we build and activate communities of change leaders that are shifting the framework on how society views youth and how youth view themselves.

Our Why

Society needs to see the youth years as a time of possibility where young people are capable of solving problems and taking action. We will not rest until every young person realizes their power to create change and their voices are heard by society.

What we do

Ashoka Youth Years is leading a global movement to recognize and equip youth as powerful actors in solving problems in their communities and beyond.

How we work

Select, support, and spotlight young changemakers.

Build diverse communities of change leaders. 

Facilitate collaboration and innovation within our community that encourage all young people to become changemakers. 

Katie Eder

For the past 40 years, Ashoka has built the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs – individuals who change the systems and patterns of societies around the world to make them more equitable and just. But it doesn’t take a social entrepreneur to know that we’re living in an unprecedented moment in human history, with change happening all around us and  at an accelerating rate. This rate of change contributes to unforeseen social problems almost daily but it also opens new opportunities to make our societies better for everyone. 

At Ashoka, we believe that in order to thrive in this changing world, every person must recognize his or her power as a changemaker. This means mastering empathy, leading through collaboration, and taking action to solve problems or create opportunities for the good of all. 

The time is now for a fundamental shift in how people see the world and the role of young people within it. That’s where we come in. Ashoka Youth Years and our partners are working to reshape how young people grow up and redefine success, both inside and outside formal education.

Young Changemaker Spotlight

Laya yalamanchili

At the heart of this movement are the Ashoka Young Changemakers: a carefully selected network of young people who have found their power to create change for the good of all, and who are engaging their peers and the entire society in realizing a world where everyone is a changemaker.

Changemaker Community Spotlight

changemaker communities program
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Changemaker Communities

We know that there are many influences in a young person’s life that lead them on a path towards changemaking.  To ensure that every young person realizes their power to create change, we bring together the ecosystem that surrounds a young person. In various local communities around the US, we partner with influential institutions – school districts, government, organizations, corporations – to integrate changemaking into their mindset, systems, and culture.

Ashoka Youth Years is building a community of young people and adult allies around the world who are empowering more young people to become changemakers. Join us!

Check out Ashoka’s storytelling initiative to hear about young people creating change in big and small ways. Amplify youth voices by sharing your favorites with family, friends and coworkers!

Do you know an outstanding young person who is taking radical action to address a pressing social issue and helping other young people discover their power to lead change? Nominate them to become an Ashoka Young Changemaker.

Learn More

Since 1981, Ashoka has brought together and supported the world’s leading social entrepreneurs working to address the issues shaping our world, from income inequality to climate change. Together, we are working to build a world where everyone has the opportunity to express love and respect in action, a world where everyone is a changemaker. Learn more about Ashoka’s work in finding and supporting changemakers and innovators throughout the United States.

Changemaker Identity

Based on our research, we have found that young people begin to see changemaking as a key part of their identity at this part of the journey.


Young people tend to repeat this step multiple times before moving on to the next stage of the journey.


Youth serving organizations in our network value changemaking culture for their employees as well as the young people they work with.  They help grow changemaker mindsets in their employees and provide opportunities for youth to practice empathy and changemaking at various points in their day.


Ashoka partners with the most innovative corporations ready to co-create a multi-faceted partnership that engages various parts of their business. Ashoka looks for corporations that embrace changemaking culture internally with their employees as well as within their broader business.

Over the years Ashoka Youth Years US has partnered with over 50 corporations to encourage tens of thousands of young people to become changemakers and grow changemaking culture within their businesses.


Ashoka has many media partners that are dedicated to spreading the everyone a changemaker message. Some of our partners are below.

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Forbes logo
The Christian Science Monitor Logo
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Bloomberg News logo

School districts

We live in a world of unprecedented change. How are we preparing students to navigate and contribute to this world? We need to re-imagine education to support teachers, parents, and administrators to prepare students to thrive in their rapidly changing world. Our partner School Districts commit to shifting their culture towards one that embraces changemaking by spending a school year integrating changemaking into the mindsets of their teachers, school curriculum, larger systems, and district culture.

A changemaker identity for educators and superintendents is one that will ensure resilience and creativity to overcome the classroom’s and district’s many obstacles. 

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Ashoka has defined the field of social entrepreneurship around the idea of systems change. Our work as the Youth Years team continues this work by engaging with visionary policy makers at all levels to ensure that the outcomes which lead to an everyone a changemaker world are solidly embedded in the structure and systems of education in ways that support the next generations of changemakers.


The Unions with whom Ashoka works represent hundreds of thousands of nurses, teachers, paraprofessionals, higher education faculty and public employees who work day in and day out to teach our kids, keep our families healthy and improve our communities. Ashoka works closely with our unions partners and the communities they serve to create a future where everyone can discover their power to be a changemaker and where young people learn to thrive in this volatile and rapidly changing world.