Van Jones is a CNN political contributor, regularly appearing across the network’s programming and special political coverage.
Jones has founded and led numerous social enterprises engaged in social and environmental justice.
– The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, which promotes criminal justice reform
– Color of Change, which works for racial fairness through its one million members
– Rebuild The Dream, a 21st Century “think tank” that champions innovative solutions to fix the U.S. economy and uplift the next generation.
– The Dream Corps, which promotes innovative policy solutions. The Dream Corps’ major initiatives are: #YesWeCode, committed to helping train 100,000 low-opportunity youth to become top-level computer programmers; #cut50, which is working to cut the U.S. prison population in half in the next 10 years; and Green For All, which lifts people out of poverty through green job training and job creation
Jones is a Yale-educated attorney. He is the author of two New York Times best-selling books, The Green Collar Economy (2008) and Rebuild the Dream (2012). The second book chronicles his journey as an environmental and human rights activist to becoming a White House policy advisor.
He was the main advocate for the Green Jobs Act. Signed into law by George W. Bush in 2007, the Green Jobs Act was the first piece of federal legislation to codify the term “green jobs.” During the Obama Administration, the legislation has resulted in $500 million in national funding for green jobs training.
In 2009, Jones worked as the green jobs advisor to President Barack Obama. In this role, Jones helped to lead the inter-agency process that oversaw the multi-billion dollar investment in skills training and jobs development within the environmental and green energy sectors.
Jones has been honored with numerous awards and spotlighted on several lists of high achievers, including: the World Economic Forum’s “Young Global Leader” designation; Rolling Stone’s 2012 “12 Leaders Who Get Things Done”; TIME’s 2009 “100 Most Influential People in The World”; and the Root’s 2014 “The Root 100.” He is presently a fellow at the MIT Media Lab.
AWARDS & HONORS
– One of The Root’s 100 Honorees for 2014
– One of National Priorities Project’s 30th Anniversary Democracy Champions
– One of Ebony Magazine’s 2013 Power 100
– One of The Root’s 100 Honorees for 2013
– One of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2009
– Recipient of the NAACP’s Image Award
– Rolling Stones’ “12 Leaders Who Get Things Done” in 2012
– One of Essence Magazine’s “25 Most Inspiring African Americans” in 2008
– One of Ebony Magazine’s 2011 Power 150
– One of Fast Company’s 12 Most Creative Minds on Earth
– Visiting Fellow in Collaborative Economics at Presidio Graduate School
– Member of the international Ashoka Fellowship
– A 2005 World Economic Forum “Young Global Leader”
– Former distinguished visiting professor at Princeton University
– Former Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and American Progress Action Fund
LEADERSHIP ON A CLEAN-ENERGY ECONOMY
Van is the founder of Green For All, a national organization working to get green jobs to disadvantaged communities. He was the main advocate for the Green Jobs Act; signed into law by George W. Bush in 2007, the Act was the first piece of federal legislation to codify the term “green jobs.” Under the Obama administration, it has resulted in $500 million for green job training nationally. He currently serves as a board member of Green for All.
LEADERSHIP ON HUMAN RIGHTS
While best known as a pioneer in the environmental movement, Van has been hard at work in social justice for nearly two decades, fashioning solutions to some of urban America’s toughest problems. He is the co-founder of two social justice organizations: the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Color of Change. He currently serves as a board member of the Ella Baker Center.
Van is on the board of several organizations and non-profits, including: Presidio, Campaign for America’s Future, Demos, Million Hoodies Movement for Justice and AFRON African Robotics Network.
"The students' response to Van's words and presence has been nothing less than marvelous. Many students came up to me afterwards to say thank you for inviting him to speak at UCSC. They described being moved to tears by things that Van shared. His visit was timely and he spoke to the experiences of young people today. Thank you for your help in making the visit a reality."- University of California, Santa Cruz
"Van was wonderful and I have only heard excellent things from students, staff and faculty around campus. "- Pitzer College
"Thank you for your efforts to help us bring Mr. Jones to the University of Denver. We had a wonderful day with him. He impressed and inspired our faculty and students. The AHSS Distinguished Speaker Series at DU is an important piece of our community and student engagement efforts. I was pleased and proud to witness so many guests deep in conversations about the important issues that Van addressed in his book, Q&A sessions and keynote address. We had hoped his lecture would be fuel for a healthy debate and discussion. It surely was."- University of Denver
"It was great. A really diverse group of students, faculty members and community members came out. We’ve already gotten a lot of feedback from people who really enjoyed the event and felt pushed in their thinking around the topic. We are really glad he was able to come and be here in person. He stayed to talk with students who really appreciated it. "- Stanford University
"His combination of green jobs and prison reform made me feel less hopeless about the state of our country. It provided a solution to a complex problem. Also his spiel on looking into the eyes of young people and looking up for the future and problem-solvers gave me goosebumps in a great way."- Tulane University
"Excellent. Van tailored his remarks and his approach very thoughtfully to the different audiences at our three events. He was inspiring and substantive and beyond generous with his time and energy. "- Washington University
"Van was TERRIFIC!! His presentation left an indelible mark on our students, and I feel that Mr. Jones has sealed a place in our institution’s cadre of legendary speakers! He was fantastic, and I sincerely thank you for all of your immediate help to us to bring him here! We appreciate all of your help and look forward to welcoming Mr. Jones back to Morehouse!"- Morehouse College