Van Jones: Biography at a Glance

  • Political Contributor for CNN
  • Host of The Redemption Project with Van Jones, which takes viewers into the US prison system as offenders come face-to-face with those impacted by their violent crimes as part of the restorative justice process
  • Former green jobs advisor to President Barack Obama, leading the inter-agency process that oversaw the multi-billion dollar investment in skills training and jobs development within the environmental and green energy sectors
  • Author of New York Times best-selling The Green Collar Economy and Rebuild the Dream
  • Founded Rebuild The Dream, a 21st Century "think tank" that champions innovative solutions to fix the U.S. economy and uplift the next generation
  • President & co-founder of Dream Corps, which houses powerful initiatives like #cut50, #YesWeCode, and Green For All, work to close prison doors and open doors of opportunity
  • Named one of TIME magazine's "100 Most Influential People"

 

Biography

Van Jones is the CEO of REFORM Alliance, a social entrepreneur, CNN political contributor and host of Redemption Project and The Van Jones Show on CNN. Famous for his heart-felt election night coverage, Jones showed up as “the voice of reason” for people in red states and blue throughout the volatile 2016 political season.

Jones has founded and led numerous social enterprises engaged in social and environmental justice.

These include:

  • The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, which promotes criminal justice reform
  • Color of Change, which works for racial fairness through its over 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. which promotes innovative policy solutions.
  • The Dream Corps, an organization that brings people together to solve America's toughest problems. The Dream Corps' major initiatives are: #YesWeCode, aimed to help 100,000 young women and men from underrepresented backgrounds find success in the tech sector; #cut50,  an initiative focused on making communities safer while reducing the number of people in our prisons and jails. And Green For All, which advances environmental solutions that prioritize families and workers living on the frontlines of some of the worst pollution in America. In response to much civil unrest and energy post election, Jones launched the #Love Army -- a values based movement that is working for an America where everyone counts.
  •  Magic Labs Media, founded by Jones and where he currently serves as its President.

Jones is a Yale-educated attorney. He is the author of three New York Times best-selling books, The Green Collar Economy (2008) and Rebuild the Dream (2012) and Beyond the Messy Truth (2017). 

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. Together with #cut50, Van succeeded in passing the FIRST STEP Act (a bipartisan Federal bill that the New York Times calls the most substantial breakthrough in criminal justice in a generation)

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." In 2017, Van Jones signed a management deal with Roc Nation, becoming the first political commentator & activist in their family. Jones lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife & two children. 

Topics

“The students' response to Van's words and presence has been nothing less than marvelous.His visit was timely and he spoke to the experiences of young people today.”

University of California, Santa Cruz

“He was terrific! He was incredibly generous with his time. He gave a wonderful lecture andwas entertaining, thought-provoking and honest.It was a really special night.”

University of Iowa

“Van was wonderful and I have only heard excellent things from students, staff and faculty around campus.”

Pitzer College

“I was pleased and proud to witness so many guests deep in conversations about the important issues that Van addressed in hisQ&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.”

Stanford University

“His combination of green jobs and prison reform made me feel hopeful about the state of our country. It provided a solution to a complex problem. Hegave 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!”

Morehouse College

“People came away feeling more hopeful for the political future. Highly recommend as a speaker.”

Salt Lake Community College

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