The Boulder Fund

2020 Recipient

David Johns
Executive Director
National Black Justice Coalition
Issue Areas:
Youth Development, LGBTQ+, Communitynbsp;Engagement, Advocacy
Washington, D.C.


Thriving Summits builds internal capacity of student leaders, specifically LGBTQ+ students of color, by centering their voices in the education reform discussion and helping adults better understand the needs of LGBTQ+ youth of color. Thriving Summits challenge traditional notions of what students “need” and address the complex issues that students and their families face in the pursuit of cognitive, social, and emotional development opportunities.

Too often students from communities that are under-supported do not have the opportunity to contribute to education reform. These students do not have access to the skills, experiences, relationships, and credentials needed to be successful in school and beyond. Furthermore, educators and policy makers seldom account for the unique needs of students who are Black and Latinx, are poor and/or are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or same gender loving (LGBTQ+). This lack of consideration makes it difficult for students from these marginalized communities to succeed. Thriving Summits is a powerful solution to these vexing and enduring challenges. They center student voices, facilitate leadership development and civic engagement, and help schools and communities enable student leaders from traditionally under-supported communities to thrive.


David J. Johns is known for his passion, public policy acumen and fierce advocacy for youth. He is an enthusiast about equity—leveraging his time, talent, and treasures to address the needs of individuals and communities often neglected and ignored. A recognized thought leader and social justice champion, David’s career has focused on improving life outcomes and opportunities for Black people.

On September 1, 2017, David Johns began his next life chapter as the executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC)—a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS. NBJC’s mission is to end racism, homophobia, and LGBTQ+ bias and stigma.