All too often, negative aspects of black culture and communities are predominantly emphasized. We hear about incarceration rates, high school dropout rates and poverty rates. We are flooded with images of entertainers and athletes as paradigms of success for black people and are constantly subjugated to unfair assumptions and stereotypes.

In honor of Black History Month this year, I wanted to highlight 14 social entrepreneurs I’ve engaged with who are perpetuating the narrative of black social innovation and catalyzing change within their community. These motivating individuals inspire me to continue to be an agent of change and I had the opportunity to hear more on what inspires them individually.

Here are a few of the notable ones on the list:

  1. Kelly Burton – Founder of Nexus Research Group/Founders of Color: Political scientist, serial entrepreneur, change agent and social critic. Kelly Burton is a modern-day renaissance woman who leads with passion, purpose and vision. She is the Founder of Nexus Research Group, a social impact firm that works with foundations and large-scale non-profits to help them catalyze change in local communities.
  2. Lee Cooley – Founder of Catalyst Development: Lee Cooley is a veteran business owner and self-described tech geek.  He is the Founder and Principal at Catalyst Development Technologies; a digital growth partner for small-medium sized business, non-profits, social ventures, and startups.
  3. Ebonie Johnson Cooper – Founder of the Young, Black and Giving Back Institute: Ebonie Johnson Cooper is the Founder and Executive Director of the Young, Black & Giving Back Institute (YBGB). YBGB equips young, black civic leaders with skills needed for effective community leadership and philanthropy through small cohort educational programs. YBGB has helped to prepare over 500 black leaders across the nation for effective fundraising, storytelling, nonprofit governance, board leadership, grassroots organizing and other social impact roles.

Read the full article about 14 social entrepreneurs of color by Brandon Parkes at Cause.