Diversity & Inclusion
Awards / Startups / Youth

This Newark teen founder was named a 2021 T-Mobile Changemaker

The Urban Garden Initiative and its founder, Megan Chen, are among the 16 winners of the 2021 Changemaker Challenge, and will move forward to a three-day immersive experience in Bellevue, Washington.

Megan Chen, founder of the Urban Garden Initiative, in 2019. (Courtesy photo)

Recent Newark Charter School graduate Meghan Chen founded The Urban Garden Initiative (TUGI) two years ago after learning about Wilmington’s food desert problems. The nonprofit’s gardening and sustainability education programs focus on a variety of gardening types, including container gardening, renovating underused community gardens, hydroponic gardens and vertical gardens in over 60 chapters globally, representing more than 30 U.S. states and 10 countries.

“We want to give youth the knowledge and resources they need to be the ones to create change,” Chen told Technical.ly in 2019.

Now, it is also officially a Changemaker organization, after being selected as one of only 16 teen-led social ventures as a winner of the T-Mobile Foundation’s 2021 Changemaker Challenge.

TUSI is one of five honorees in the Environment category. Chen’s team received $5,000 and will travel to the Changemaker Lab in Bellevue, Washington in October for a three-day immersive experience including mentorship from T-Mobile executives, skills training from Ashoka and networking with other winning teams.

Before founding TUGI, Chen was a participant in the design thinking program Dual School, and published a children’s book called Finding Tiger” about implicit bias.

Previous Delaware-based Changemaker Challenge winners include Dual School in 2018 and “STEM Queen” Jacqueline Means in 2019.

You can watch TUGI’s Changemaker Challenge video here:


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