Who’s Breaking Through?

Help YES! find the unsung heroes who are building a better world.
15th Anniversary y.e.s. balloon

One of the most popular sections of most any news website is the entertainment page, where you can indulge the guilty pleasure of reading about the exploits and dirty secrets of the famous. YES! has spent 15 years covering the lifestyles of a different kind of star—ordinary people who are making breakthroughs that have the power to transform our lives.

Some of those breakthroughs start quietly but have a profound ripple effect. A writer in New York decides to see if he and his family can live for one year with no environmental impact—and inspires thousands more people to do the same. A plaid-tie-wearing banker from South Dakota makes loans only to people who are going to do some good in his community—and models a better form of banking. Some are big, ambitious, and spectacular—artwork large enough to be seen from space inspires climate activism around the world; social media feeds mass street demonstrations in Madison, Wisc., or Tunisia or Egypt

In our 15th anniversary year, YES! will celebrate our Breakthrough 15: people who are developing some of the most promising new movements, practical solutions, or powerful ideas. They won’t be people who make the tabloids, but they will be people we think you should know about—individuals who are fundamentally changing what’s possible.

We’ll tell you some of their secrets, hopes, habits, turning points, triumphs, and stumbling blocks. These won’t be people to gawk at; they’ll be people to inspire us. Because at YES!, we believe that everyone can be powerful if given the tools.

So we’re asking, who is influencing the world around you? Who are your heroes, famous or unsung? Post your ideas in the comments below. If there’s a breakthrough hero you think we should recognize in the magazine or on our website, give us a few sentences that explain why and include links that provide information about their work.


  • Video: 15 years ago, YES! Magazine's founders wondered if, amid the doom and gloom, there was a place for journalism about hope and possibility.
  • Van Jones and Bill McKibben helped us celebrate our 15th birthday at a party in Seattle, and brought down the house. to watch their speeches.
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