Congratulations to John Okhiulu '21 who was awarded the Tom Ford Fellowship in Philanthropy. Fellows will work 11 months at any U.S. foundation or grant-making institution of their choice with a high level mentor.
John Okhiulu was born and raised in the South Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas, TX. Growing up in a Baptist community and a family dedicated to ministry, John learned the importance and healing power of service in daily life.
On campus, John has taken up the mantle to work as a first-year mentor to Black frosh and as an Ujamaa staff member. He is the first and only undergraduate on the President’s Black Community Council, and he also directs Stanford’s Talisman a cappella group.
Through his volunteer work with youth in his hometown; in Brooklyn with Children of Promise, NYC; and in the Bay Area with The Phoenix Scholars and College Track, John has developed a passion for young people’s holistic wellness. He hopes to continue to explore the value of talk-based therapy, art-based therapy, and abolitionist praxis in helping youth feel empowered, inspired, and in control of their destinies.
Through coursework and a creative honors thesis with the Institute for Diversity in the Arts, John has grown familiar with community-based restorative justice practices that foster healing in communities impacted heavily by settler-colonialism and the prison-industrial complex. During his junior year, John worked directly in philanthropy as a Global Health Equity intern with the Emerson Collective.
With the Ford Fellowship, John aims to deepen his understanding of philanthropy and continue to build community with social innovators dedicated to exploring the role of the arts and mental wellness projects within justice and liberation work.