MEDIA: A three-time NY Times bestselling author, Van hosts two shows on CNN: “The Van Jones Show” and “The Redemption Project.” He is the host of CNN’s “Incarceration, Inc.” podcast series. In 2013-2014, Van was a co-host of CNN CROSSFIRE, along with Newt Gingrich; he later hosted a special event series on CNN called “The Messy Truth.” He is the co-founder of Magic Labs Media LLC, a producer of the WEBBY Award-winning Messy Truth digital series.
SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR: Van’s life mission is to close prison doors and open doors of opportunity. He has been a leader in the fight for criminal justice reform for more than 25 years. To achieve his goals, Van co-founded a series of social enterprises, including: Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, ColorOfChange.org, GreenForAll.org, Rebuild The Dream and the Dream Corps. The Dream Corps houses three social impact initiatives: #YesWeCode, Green For All and #cut50. Today, Van is the CEO of the REFORM Alliance, an initiative founded by Jay-Z, Meek Mill and six billionaires to transform the criminal justice system.
SOCIAL IMPACT: In 2018, Van and #cut50 led the winning campaign to pass the FIRST STEP Act — a bipartisan federal bill that the New York Times called the most substantial breakthrough in criminal justice in a generation. This was not Van’s first history-making legislative victory: a decade earlier, Van was the primary champion of the Green Jobs Act of 2007. In 2009, he worked as the green jobs advisor to the Obama White House. Van has won numerous awards, 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”; the 2010 NAACP Image Award and; a 2017 WEBBY special achievement award.
Born in Jackson, Tennessee, Van lives in New York City and Los Angeles. He is a proud father of two sons.
In 2017, Van signed a management deal with Roc Nation, becoming the first political commentator in their family. In 1990, he earned a B.S. in communication and political science from the University of Tennessee at Martin. In 1993, Van earned a degree from Yale Law School.
- The Fight to Save Our Planet
Media personality and change-maker Van Jones is an environmental leader heralded for his solutions-oriented approach to climate change and promoting green business. Drawing on his experience working with President Barack Obama on environmental policy and the Green Jobs Act, and the research for his New York Times bestselling book The Green Collar Economy, Jones provides illuminating insight into the fight to save our planet and the policy initiatives that work. Delivering a much-needed economic and environmental two-pronged approach, he shares a wise, necessary, and eminently achievable plan for both saving the earth and rescuing working class Americans.
- Rebuild The Dream: The Next American Economy
Imagine a new economy, where the founding principle of our country— liberty and justice for all—is deeply rooted in our economic philosophy and design, where businesses can profit alongside flourishing communities. The next American economy must value production over consumption, savings over credit and ecological restoration over ecological destruction. To achieve sustained prosperity, we need to transform our ideas and understanding around ownership and wealth—transcending consumerism, transforming corporations, and revitalizing communities.
- Green Jobs Not Jails: Criminal Justice + Ecology
The USA has only five percent of the world’s population. Yet we produce: (a) about 25 percent of its greenhouse gasses and (b) about 25 percent of its prisoners. Coincidence? Van Jones doesn’t think so. He sees “mass incarceration” and the “mass extinction” as twin outcomes of the same false ideology: disposability. Industrial society behaves as if we have a throwaway planet – and throwaway people, too. To reverse course, Van says we must shrink the prison system and grow the green economy.
- Beyond Prisons: Don’t Criminalize – Humanize
Civil rights attorney and TV personality Van Jones seeks peaceful streets through approaches that are smarter, fairer and less costly. His organization, Dream Corps Unlimited, houses the Beyond Prisons campaign. That initiative works to safely and smartly reduce the prison population by at least 50 percent – by promoting proven, bipartisan solutions. Neither Democrats nor Republicans see much sense in locking people away for long periods of time, often for petty offenses, and then denying them a chance to work, vote, rent an apartment or get a student loan for the rest of their lives.
- #YesWeCode: Race, Gender & The Digital Divide
Former Obama advisor and CNN personality Van Jones created #YesWeCode to find real solutions. Housed at Dream Corps Unlimited, #YesWeCode is working to help 100,000 young adults of color – both women and men – find employment in the technology sector. Learn from the many insights that Van has gleaned by working directly with dozens of major tech firms, the Obama White House, and the nation’s top accelerated training programs. Hear how cultural barriers – on both sides of the divide – may be the biggest obstacles to an inclusive tech sector.
- Green For All: Can Environmentalism Include Everyone?
The solar industry is booming. The fight for climate solutions is accelerating. The movement for a greener future is regaining steam. But will this renewed “green wave” lift ALL boats? Or will some places enjoy clean energy, green jobs and organic food, while others fall further behind? How can we avoid “ecological apartheid”? Van Jones has answers. He was the primary advocate for the Green Jobs Act of 2007. He is the founder of Green For All, a national organization working to grow the green economy in communities of color. He wrote the bestseller, The Green-Collar Economy – the definitive book on green jobs. And he was the special advisor on green jobs and innovation to the Obama White House.
- Protest & Politics In Age Of Twitter
Van has unique insight into America’s turbulent political scene. He has worked closely with political players at all levels – and across the spectrum. On the left, he has been allied with everyone from Richard Branson to Black Lives Matter. On the right, he has campaigned to win criminal justice reform alongside Newt Gingrich and Koch Industries. George W. Bush signed his first legislative proposal, the Green Jobs Act. Then President Obama appointed him to be special advisor on green jobs. Most recently, Van was "on the ground" in Ferguson, Charleston and Selma (for the 50th anniversary of the historic civil rights march there).