Twenty-five remarkable young people are being recognized for their work addressing the challenges of a changing world.
NEWARK, N.J., Feb. 15, 2022 – Prudential Financial today announced its inaugural class of Prudential Emerging Visionaries — 25 young people from across the country with an inspiring commitment to improving the lives of others.
Prudential Emerging Visionaries recognizes young leaders ages 14-18 who have fresh, innovative solutions to pressing financial and societal challenges in their communities. The program is a collaboration between Prudential Financial and Ashoka, a leading social impact organization, with advisory support from the Financial Health Network, an authority on financial health and longtime partner of The Prudential Foundation. It’s an evolution of the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, the country’s largest youth recognition program, which for 26 years honored more than 150,000 outstanding youth volunteers.
“Emerging Visionaries is another way Prudential is demonstrating its commitment to our purpose: to make lives better by solving the financial challenges of our changing world,” said Chairman and CEO Charles Lowrey. “The students we’re honoring have a sense of possibility that drives them to look beyond themselves. Their vision and dedication are key to creating fully inclusive communities, and we are humbled and inspired by their work.”
That work includes addressing needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic, combating economic inequality, advocating for inclusion and closing the digital divide. This inaugural group of young leaders was selected based on four main criteria: their solution is innovative; it can create meaningful impact in the future and can scale to a wider community; it demonstrates a deep understanding of the issue; and it inspires the visionary to lead or take action and motivates others to do the same.
Each of the 25 winners will receive $5,000 in funding as well as an invitation to participate in an awards summit from April 23-26, 2022. The summit will include a lively agenda packed with skills development workshops, coaching sessions, networking opportunities and special recognition events.
Select winners will also have an opportunity to participate in a pitch-off where a grand prize winner will receive an additional $10,000 in funding. What’s more, Prudential employees will vote to name an Employees’ Choice Award winner, who will receive an additional $5,000.
2022 Prudential Emerging Visionaries
Applicants focused their projects on two categories: Financial Solutions for a Changing World and Societal Solutions for a Changing World.
Financial Solutions for a Changing World Award Winners
Ella Gupta, 17, of Raleigh, North Carolina, started the “Initiative for Financial Literacy Exploration” to address gender economic inequality by helping young women gain self-confidence and invest in themselves through financial education.
Isaac Hertenstein, 15, of Greencastle, Indiana, founded “Students Teaching Finance,” an initiative to promote financial inclusion in his rural community by empowering high school-aged changemakers to teach the importance of financial education to K-8 students.
Rachel Holmes, 18, of San Jose, California, started “Black Girls Mean Business,” a career development and networking program for Black high school girls that fosters the skills and confidence needed to become successful in their careers — ultimately increasing their representation in the corporate world.
Sahana Mantha, 15, of Charlotte, North Carolina, co-founded “Foundation for Girls,” which connects mothers experiencing homelessness with long-term coaches who accompany them on their journey to financial health and economic security.
Faaris Zuberi, 17, of Rockville, Maryland, is a leader of “Financial Literacy Introduction Program,” which offers financial literacy to student members of the Youth Economic Initiative — the largest coalition of economics clubs worldwide — to equip students with the tools and knowledge they need to prepare for their futures.
Societal Solutions for a Changing World Award Winners
Jonah Basi, 17, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, founded “MangroLife” to restore South Florida’s waterways. Since October 2020, Jonah has organized 90 community events ranging from trash cleanups to park restoration projects that have removed 1,800 pounds of trash from local ecosystems, while planting hundreds of mangrove trees across South Florida.
Amelie Beck, 15, of Louisville, Kentucky, co-founded “MedTechConnect,” a health accessibility initiative that offers senior citizens personalized training, support and simplified technology solutions.
Jordyn Cambeiro, 16, of Henderson, Nevada, is the creator of “Empowering Immigrants.” The organization helps Spanish-speaking students access supplementary language-learning resources to grow their English proficiency.
Esther Chan, 15, of Honolulu, Hawaii, founded “Cyber Safe Seniors,” an initiative that helps older adults protect themselves from cybercrime. She has partnered with local nonprofits and senior centers to offer video courses and more than 40 resources on staying safe online.
Kayli Joy Cooper, 17, of Studio City, California, created “Girl Well” to make self-care accessible for teenage girls facing displacement, transition, or homelessness by curating self-care kits that emphasize physical, emotional and mental wellness.
Sayers Grooms, 16, of Gainesville, Florida, created “Watch Me Run,” a nonprofit that enables those living with impaired balance access to Frame Running, an innovative sport that helps people with disabilities run freely.
Isabella Hanson, 16, of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, started “I Matter” to give young people a platform to advocate for social justice and equality through creative expression. The project’s poetry and art contests invite students of all backgrounds to share powerful messages about racial justice and advocate for change.
Aaron Li, 17, of Portland, Oregon, is the co-founder of “Project Lotus,” an initiative that destigmatizes mental health and provides culturally competent care for Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
Chris Matthews, 14, of McDonough, Georgia, is the creator of the “Blanket Box Project,” a social enterprise that provides free blankets to children dealing with challenging situations and empowers young changemakers to share these blankets with others facing hard times.
Arun Moorthy, 16, of Scottsdale, Arizona, created “HealthAI,” a collection of mobile health care apps that tackle health inequity by providing education, affordable screenings and access to preventative medicine.
Naomi Porter, 17, of Rancho Palos Verdes, California, founded “EntrepreYOUership” to make entrepreneurial education more accessible, equipping the next generation of innovators with skills and startup funds to launch their own businesses.
Tavish Sharma, 18, of Libertyville, Illinois, founded “Solve Hunger Corp,” a free mobile app that connects people to food pantries and soup kitchens, allowing users to contribute money, food or time. Tavish and his team have served more than 85,000 people through 50 food banks, pantries and kitchens in 13 states.
Anya Shukla, 18, of Bellevue, Washington, co-created “The Colorization Collective.” Her initiative created “by teens of color for teens of color” promotes diversity in the arts by providing young artists with opportunities to showcase their work, build their professional skills, and get matched with mentors who look like them.
Sriya Tallapragada, 15, of New Providence, New Jersey, created “Girls Who STEAM.” The organization works to close the gender gap in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) fields, empowering more than 4,000 young women to pursue these subjects through creative workshops and lifelong mentorship opportunities.
Jonathan Tamen, 17, of Miami Beach, Florida, started “Helping Hands MB” to provide 3D-printed prosthetic solutions for children in Haiti. The goal of Helping Hands MB is to reduce shame and stigma surrounding disabilities and give children greater mobility.
Khloe Thompson, 14, of Yorba Linda, California, started “PeachTree Pads,” a reusable, eco-friendly alternative to traditional menstruation products. PeachTree Pads tackles feminine hygiene waste while also providing an all-natural pad product.
Arnav Tripathi, 17, of Cumming, Georgia, founded the “Georgia Homework Help Hotline” to help individuals obtain their GEDs. Through the free website, students can live chat with a tutor, submit a problem for help or sign up for weekly tutoring.
Stephanie Wang, 17, of Katy, Texas, founded “Project Unmasked” to increase students’ access to public health education through educational resources and advocacy work. So far it has reached more than 70,000 people.
Arthur Wang, 17, of Columbia, Maryland, started the “COVID Teacher Care Kits Initiative,” which has delivered more than 1,300 care kits to teachers and staff. The kits offer practical and moral support and include colorful, course-themed masks and accessories.
Elise Zeigler, 17, of St. Louis, Missouri, established “Selah Textiles,” a social enterprise aimed at creating financial opportunities for women immigrants, refugees and underserved individuals through the production of screen-printed textiles.
For more information about Prudential Emerging Visionaries and to learn more about their stories, visit prudential.com/emergingvisionaries.
About Prudential Financial
Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a financial wellness leader and premier active global investment manager, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Prudential’s diverse and talented employees help to make lives better by creating financial opportunity for more people. Prudential’s iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise and innovation for more than a century. For more information, please visit news.prudential.com.
Ashoka is the largest global network of leading social entrepreneurs — individuals with new ideas to systemically address the world’s biggest challenges and the entrepreneurial skill to transform those ideas into national, regional and global social impact. Over 40 years, Ashoka has supported more than 3,600 social entrepreneurs in 90 countries with solutions addressing society’s most pressing issues. Ashoka’s vision is a world in which Everyone is a Changemaker — a society that responds quickly and effectively to challenges, and where every individual has the freedom, confidence and societal support to address any social problem. For more information, visit ashoka.org.