2024 SCI Idealist: Ayele Shakur
Ayele Shakur (she/her)President, Redstone Family Foundation
Ayele Shakur brings over three decades of experience as an innovator in urban education. She is currently President of the Redstone Family Foundation, whose mission is to combat racism and antisemitism primarily through civics and cross-cultural education for children, youth, and families while also including the broader community.
Previously, Ayele worked for BUILD.org for a total of 12 years – first as the founding Regional Executive Director for BUILD Boston, and then as Chief Executive Officer. Founded in 1999, BUILD is a national nonprofit whose mission is to use entrepreneurship to ignite the potential of youth from under-resourced communities to build career success, entrepreneurial mindset, and opportunity. Under her leadership as CEO, BUILD.org grew to serving over 8,000 students annually in 101 cities across the United States.
Prior to BUILD, Ayele was President and CEO of the Boston Learning Center, which provided tutoring and test preparation services to students in grades K-12. A veteran classroom teacher, Ayele taught for eleven years in the Los Angeles area and in the Boston Public Schools, and co-authored the book Boost School Performance – A Parent’s Guide to Better Grades Fast.
Ayele was recognized as a 2022 Influential Leader by AACSB and Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. She received the 2021 Hall of Fame Award for Educational Excellence presented by the National Association of Black School Educators (NABSE). She is also the recipient of the 2012 Boston Celtics Heroes Among Us Award and the 2007 Boston Children’s Museum’s Great Friend to Kids Award. From 2014-17, she served as Chair for the Boston NAACP Education Committee. She is a 2017 Barr Fellow, a distinguished group of outstanding nonprofit leaders in Boston, and in 2018 became part of the GK100 Most Influential Black Bostonians. Since 2015, she has co-chaired the Opportunity and Achievement Gaps Task Force for the Boston Public Schools, which is an appointment by the Boston School Committee. She also served as an advisor to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Equitable Futures Initiative.
Ayele is a motivational speaker whose writing has been featured in the Huffington Post, The Hill, WBUR, Commonwealth, and Entrepreneur Magazine. A native of Boston, she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Boston University and a Master’s degree from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.