Ben Jealous has spent his professional life at the nexus of social change, media, and emerging technologies. Jealous is currently serving as president of People For the American Way and People For the American Way Foundation and is a visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2), and the Wharton School. A former Rhodes Scholar, Jealous is a graduate of Columbia University and Oxford University. Jealous was the youngest person ever elected as National President & CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), where he served from 2008-2013. He is credited with bringing the organization into the digital age where he led a series of wholesale changes in how the organization used social media and related technologies to enhance its organization. He was also the 2018 Democratic Nominee for Governor of Maryland, former Executive Director of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), and for more than half a decade has been investing in social impact startups.
A self-described organizer, Ben has a great deal of experience working with communities to effect change. He founded one of the first high school chapters of the Student Environmental Action Coalition, helped launch Public Interest Research Groups’ neighborhood Green Corps program in 1994, and launched the NAACP national climate justice program in 2008. He also co-founded the Democracy Initiative, a collaboration of environmentalists and civil rights organizations to fight voter suppression in 2012.