Tag Archives: Urban Creators

Announcing the 2019 Tribute to Change Honorees

The Tribute to Change planning committee has selected a terrific group of honorees this year. We are pleased to introduce these world builders, disruptors, inventors, and creators.


2019 Tribute to Change Honorees

Francisco Cortes

Emerging Leader Award

Francisco Cortes is a Mexican immigrant and out gay Philadelphian. He intentionally and passionately advocates for immigrant and queer issues, and he currently serves as interim executive director of Galaei, a queer Latinx social justice organization.

Nancy Dung Nguyen

Trailblazer Award

Nancy Dung Nguyen is co-founder and executive director of VietLEAD, a grassroots group that organizes community and youth through a lens of social justice and anti-violence, health promotion and navigation, civic engagement, and community building projects.

Ron Whitehorne

Paul Robeson Lifetime Achievement Award

Ron Whitehorne advances education justice, workers’ rights, racial equity, and more through his commitment to groups like the Rainbow Coalition, Transport Workers Union, Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools, Youth United for Change, and 215 People’s Alliance.

Kara Tennis

Robin Hood Was Right Award

In 2016, Kara Tennis started on a journey of learning that redirected her focus to racial justice. Her work now includes paying direct reparations, fundraising for Bread & Roses, coaching other privileged people about white supremacy culture, and making and selling artwork through Justice Jewelry. She was a member of the 2018 Gender Justice Giving Project.

Philadelphia Coalition for Affordable Communities (PCAC)

Victory is Ours Award

PCAC is a citywide coalition of 65 community, disability, faith, labor, and urban agriculture groups that successfully organizes to win land and money for affordable, accessible housing, and green space.

Photo credit: Austin Horton

Urban Creators

Victory is Ours Award

Urban Creators, a diverse group of young students, artists, activists, organizers, and entrepreneurs, transformed a 2-acre garbage dump in North Philadelphia into Life Do Grow urban farm, a sanctuary and platform for organizing and nourishment.


These determined, imaginative organizers and grassroots groups are leading the way towards our shared vision of an abundant, just, and equitable future. Learn more about the 2019 Tribute to Change here.

Grantee Profile: Urban Creators

Urban Creators staff photo

Urban Creators staff members at Life Do Grow farm.
Photo credit: Austin Horton

“The current political moment calls for people of color and disenfranchised people to be at the head of work,” says Jeaninne Kayembe, co-executive director of Urban Creators, a Racial & Economic Justice Fund grantee.

Kayembe, Alex Epstein, and Devon Bailey founded Urban Creators in 2010 with a vision of empowering the community by providing resources and opportunities and helping young people develop leadership skills. Urban Creators’ organizing work reflects the legacy of artist activists like Arthur Hall and Lily Yeh of the Village of Arts and Humanities.

Urban Creators intentionally builds community through events like Hoodstock, an annual festival now in its fourth year that brings together local businesses, artists, and community members to celebrate art, activism, and farming in North Philly.

Kayembe notes that although the organization cultivates an intergenerational space, it also amplifies youth voices in its work. “There’s a lot of ageism in the nonprofit world,” says Kayembe. “We are showing the world what young people can do to change that world.”

Throughout the year, Urban Creators hosts youth leadership programs at Life Do Grow, the organization’s urban farm and community center. The youth apprentice program hires six young people from the immediate neighborhood to learn gardening and to engage in political education about food systems, gentrification, and institutional racism.

“We’re confronting the myth that urban agriculture in Philadelphia is white and male,” Kayembe says. “We work with marginalized folks, creating ideas and initiating work. We’re also challenging stereotypes around what women can do.”

In the future, Kayembe says, Urban Creators plans to train youth apprentice program alumni to run the program. “We’re a moving, breathing, living organism,” says Kayembe. “We’ll always be moving in a way that responds to community needs whatever the political climate is.”