Van Jones

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Van Jones is founding president of Green For All and a senior fellow with the Center for American Progress. He is also the author of The Green Collar Economy (Harper One 2008), which is endorsed by Nancy Pelosi, Tom Daschle and Al Gore.

Green For All is a U.S. organization that promotes green-collar jobs and opportunities for the disadvantaged. Its mission is to build an inclusive, green economy - strong enough to resolve the ecological crisis and lift millions of people out of poverty.

A 1993 Yale Law graduate, Van is a husband and the father of two small boys. He is a tireless advocate, committed to creating "green pathways out of poverty" and greatly expanding the coalition fighting global warming.

A champion for the toughest urban constituencies and causes, Van has won many honors, including: the 1998 Reebok International Human Rights Award; the International Ashoka Fellowship; selection as a World Economic Forum "Young Global Leader"; the Rockefeller Foundation "Next Generation Leadership" Fellowship; and the Puffin/Nation prize for "Creative Citizenship".

Among Van's honors this year: the Elle Magazine Green Award 2008; selection as one of the George Lucas Foundation's "Daring Dozen 2008;" Hunt Prime Mover Award 2008; Campaign for America's Future "Paul Wellstone Award 2008;" Global Green USA "Community Environmental Leadership" Award 2008; designation as one of the nation's "Plenty 20" in the October/November 2008 edition of Plenty Magazine; San Francisco Foundation Community Leadership Award 2008; selection as a TIME Magazine 2008 Environmental Hero; and designation as one of Essence Magazine's 25 most influential/inspiring African-Americans of 2008.

In 2008, Tom Friedman profiled Van in his bestselling book, Hot, Flat & Crowded. Also in 2008, Wilford Welch featured him in the book Tactics of Hope, and Joel Makower highlighted Van's ideas in the book Strategies for the Green Economy.

In 2005, Van produced the "social equity track" for the United Nations' World Environment Day 2005 summit, which was themed "Green Cities: Plan for the Planet." As a result of Van's advocacy, the resulting Accords called upon the world's mayors to: "Adopt a policy or implement a program that creates environmentally beneficial jobs in slums and/or low-income neighborhoods." The adoption of these accords marked the beginning of the global movement for "green jobs."

In 2007, Van helped the City of Oakland pass a "Green Jobs Corps" proposal. The City allocated funds to train Oakland residents in eco-friendly "green-collar jobs."

At the national level, Van worked successfully in 2007 with U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), U.S. Rep. Hilda Solis (D-CA), U.S. Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) to pass the Green Jobs Act of 2007. That path-breaking, historic legislation authorized $125 million in funding to train 35,000 people a year in "green-collar jobs."

In 2008, Green for All partnered with the Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection to launch the Green For All Academy. The Academy trains U.S. grassroots leaders to effectively advocate for an inclusive, green economy.

On September 27, 2008, Green For All worked with national partners to produce "Green Jobs Now" – the first-ever "national day of action" calling for green-collar jobs in the United States. More than 600 communities in all 50 states participated, with more than 50,000 signing a petition that called for federal government action to spur green jobs.

In 1996, Van co-founded the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, which advocates for juvenile justice reform, police reform, youth violence prevention and green-collar jobs. The Center's "Books Not Bars" campaign has successfully blocked construction of a super-jail for youth, closed two abusive youth prisons and helped to reduce California's youth prison population by 30 percent.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Van co-founded Color Of Change. Boasting 400,000 members, Color of Change has become the nation's biggest online advocacy organization that focuses on African-American issues.

Van is also a co-founder of a new national coalition that promotes the idea of a national "Clean Energy Jobs Corps." This multi-billion-dollar federal initiative would put hundreds of thousands of people to work rewiring and retrofitting the energy infrastructure of the United States.

Additionally, Van is a founding board member of the National Apollo Alliance and 1Sky, two national organizations promoting clean energy jobs and climate solutions.

Van's efforts have received attention from prominent news sources. This year, he appeared on CNN's "Feature #1," FOX News "Your World With Neil Cavuto," NPR's Living On Earth and Steven Colbert's "The Colbert Report." Van has also been featured in Good Magazine, Time Magazine, Newsweek, The New York Times, and many online blogs.

A proud native of Jackson, Tennessee, Van Jones, 40, is proud to champion some of the most hopeful solutions to America's toughest challenges.

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