Rupa Balasubramanian is a strategic advisor, working at the intersection of philanthropy, policy advocacy and social movements. Currently she serves as a Vice President at the Pop Culture Collaborative, a philanthropic resource and funder learning community that uses grantmaking, convening, narrative strategy, and research to transform the narrative landscape for marginalized communities. Formerly a Partner at Fundamental, a boutique philanthropic advising firm, Rupa has nearly 20 years of experience managing private and family foundations in Los Angeles, supporting organizations focused on education, women’s health, the environment, civic engagement, and civil rights. Rupa worked with Barbra Streisand and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to create the Women’s Heart Alliance, a national non-profit organization aimed at increasing the awareness of women’s heart disease and advocate for gender-specific research. She serves on the board of directors of Vote.org and Planned Parenthood Los Angeles. Rupa previously worked in crisis management at Hill & Knowlton, Inc., a leading international communications firm. During the Clinton Administration, Rupa worked in the Press Secretary’s office at the White House. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara and earned her Masters degree in Public Administration at the University of Southern California’s School of Policy, Planning and Development.
For information or questions about our board, please contact [email protected]
Xav Briggs is an award-winning scholar and educator whose work addresses economic opportunity and inequality, housing and urban development, democracy, and government effectiveness, he is also an experienced leader in government and philanthropy. Xav was a senior policy official in the Obama White House, a faculty member at Harvard and later the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and most recently vice president of the Ford Foundation. He serves on the boards of Just Capital and the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences and is an elected fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. His books include The Geography of Opportunity: Race and Housing Choice in America, Democracy as Problem Solving: Civic Capacity in Communities across the Globe, and Moving to Opportunity: The Story of an American Experiment to Fight Ghetto Poverty. Xav earned an engineering degree at Stanford University, an MPA at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and a PhD in sociology and education at Columbia University. He was a Rotary Scholar at the Federal University of Bahia in Brazil.
Ruth Wooden is a retired Communications and Policy professional who served as President of both the Advertising Council and Public Agenda. She has served as a Director or Trustee of a number of nonprofit boards including CARE, Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, Columbia University School of a Public Health, Independent Sector, Research America, Partnership for Drug Free America, and Encore.org where she served as board chair for six years. She is currently the board chair of Futures Without Violence. She also served as a Director of the US Trust Company. She has been a Director of Demos since 2000. She is a native of Minnesota and a graduate of the University there. She received an MA in Religious Studies in 2016 from Union Theological Seminary and currently directs the Encore Transition Program there. She lives in New York City and Callicoon, New York.
Stephen McConnell, Ph.D., is the Past President of the Civic Participation Action Fund, a time-limited non-partisan 501(c)4 grantmaking organization devoted to creating a more progressive policy and political environment by expanding civic engagement among low-income communities and communities of color. Prior to launching CPAF, Steve was U.S. Country Director for the Atlantic Philanthropies. He has also served as Vice President for Advocacy and Public Policy at the Alzheimer’s Association, Chief of Staff for the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, and professional staff member for the U.S. House of Representatives, Select Committee on Aging. Earlier, he held a research associate appointment at the Andrus Gerontology Center of the University of Southern California. Steve earned both his Ph.D. in Sociology and a B.A. from the University of Southern California. He currently resides in Santa Fe, NM.
Naomi Aberly is a political activist, civic volunteer and donor who devotes her efforts to building progressive infrastructure, with a particular focus on reproductive justice. She has been deeply involved in progressive politics, policy making and fundraising at the state and federal levels for two decades.
Naomi has extensive experience in the formation and governance of political and charitable organizations — as an advisor, board member, committee chair, and board chair.
Naomi began her work in politics and policy in Texas, helping to found Annie’s List in 2003, chairing the board of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, and co-founding Battleground TX in 2013. In addition, Naomi served as co-chair of Wendy Davis’ gubernatorial race in 2014.
As a political fundraiser at the federal level, Naomi began hosting events for Congressional candidates in 2005. Naomi joined the Obama for America National Finance Committee in early 2007 and continued as a National Finance Committee member for the 2012 election. Naomi served as a Vice Chair of the DNC from 2012-2015 and was a member of the Democratic Victory Task Force of the DNC in 2014- 2015.
Naomi served as Board Chair of Planned Parenthood Federation of America from 2017 – 2019 and co-chaired Planned Parenthood’s $250 million Second Century Campaign. She is a former member of the board of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and former Chair of the Planned Parenthood Federal PAC.
She currently serves on the board of the ACLU Foundation of Massachusetts, the Texas Future Project, the Fairness Project, the Voter Formation Project and the executive committee of Invest to Elect Boston. Naomi is a member and supporter of the Planned Parenthood Leadership Council, the Women Donors Network, Way to Win and the Movement Voter Project.
She lives in Boston, MA and shares her work with her husband, Larry Lebowitz, and their two young adult sons.
Shakeeb Alam is an investor and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in finance. His firm manages investments for many mission-driven organizations including philanthropic foundations, universities, museums and other institutional investors.
Beyond his business activities, Shakeeb is deeply engaged is his community and is active with several philanthropic and community organizations. Shakeeb currently serves on the Board of Directors of the University of Illinois Foundation where he is a member of the Investment Policy Committee that oversees the university’s endowment. Shakeeb also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Hartford Seminary where he is a member of the Strategic Planning and the Investment Committees.
Shakeeb grew up in Chicago and is a graduate of Chicago Public Schools. He earned a B.S. in Finance and from the University of Illinois and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
Cliff Albright is a 2020 Soros Equality Fellow and co-founder/Executive Director of Black Voters Matter Fund (and BVM Capacity Building Institute) which builds community and oters organizational capacity related to Black voting power. BVM received national attention in 2017 when they helped mobilize Black voters during the U.S. Senate race between Doug Jones and Roy Moore. Since then, Cliff and the BVM team have traveled throughout twenty primarily southern states in “The Blackest Bus in America” energizing voters and exposing voter suppression. He and his team recently played a critical role in the 2020 election cycle, including the historic Georgia runoff elections for U.S. Senate. Cliff was also at the forefront of the battle for voting rights legislation throughout 2021, during which he was personally arrested five times while engaging in non-violent civil disobedience. Cliff has served as an instructor of African-American Studies at several universities, and he has contributed articles to and been featured on the following outlets: CNN, MSNBC, ABC, BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, Politico and more. Cliff previously worked in the field of international development, focusing on the political economy of Eastern and Southern Africa, and he later lived in historic Selma, Alabama, where he focused on bringing financial resources to Alabama’s blackbelt region. Cliff attended Cornell University, where he obtained his B.S. in Applied Economics and an M.P.S. in Africana Studies. He also has an M.B.A. from the University of Alabama. http://www.cliffalbright.com/
Builder, creator, advocate, and organizer, Ashley Allison is an Obama-Biden Administration and Biden-Harris campaign senior staffer with more than 15 years of experience building campaigns and strategies that lead to victory. As the National Coalitions Director for Biden-Harris 2020 presidential campaign, she led nearly 500 staff and paid fellows to activate the most robust coalition of voters in modern history. Ashley's commitment to racial equity and civil rights has been proven throughout her career. She served as the Executive Vice President at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights from 2017-2021. Under her leadership, she led the organization’s strategies on how to run campaigns and policy efforts during the Resistance. Prior to joining The Leadership Conference, Ashley was the deputy director and senior policy advisor for the Obama White House Office of Public Engagement from 2014 to 2017. She honed her crisis management skills while leading the White House efforts on criminal justice and policing reform. Ashley’s organizing skills were first noticed in national politics when she joined the Obama campaign in the most contested battleground state of Ohio to run African American outreach for the Obama 2012 reelection. Before entering politics, Ashley began her career as a high school special education teacher in Brooklyn, New York and earned her master’s in education. She earned her law degree with a specialty in public interest law focusing on housing rights, voting and democracy, and racial equity. Ashley serves as the Board Chair for the Color of Change PAC Board and is a member of the Free Press Action Fund Board, is a political commentator for CNN, and the former host of the podcast, Pod for Cause.
Jun Choi is CEO of Menlo Realty Ventures, a real estate investment firm focused on converting brownfield sites to clean, modern industrial use. He has held leadership roles in government and business. Before entering real estate, he served as Mayor of New Jersey’s fifth largest municipality, Edison Township, where he led a good government movement to improve government services, make democracy more inclusive and build a stronger sense of community. Edison received several honors under his watch including the “Best Place to Raise Kids” in NJ according to BusinessWeek magazine. Jun also served as Executive Director of a statewide Task Force to improve NJ's student achievement measures and began his career as a management consultant. Jun serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees of NJ Policy Perspective, the leading progressive policy organization in NJ, and serves on the Executive Committee of the Regional Plan Association.
Paul Egerman is businessman and entrepreneur. Paul was previously CEO and co-founder of eScription, Inc., a software company that provides speech recognition services to physicians. Formerly, Paul was the COO of IDX, a worldwide supplier of software solutions for healthcare organizations. Paul is also active with many community organizations.
Rev. Dr. Yvette Flunder, a San Francisco native, is the founder and Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, a multi-denominational fellowship of churches and faith-based organizations throughout the United States, Mexico, Asia and Africa. Her roots are in the Church of God in Christ, and she is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and the Metropolitan Community Church. Bishop Flunder is the founding pastor of City of Refuge UCC. She holds degrees from Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley (MA) and San Francisco Theological Seminary (D.Min). She recorded and performed with Walter Hawkins and the Family and the Love Center Choir. She serves as a Board member of Starr King School for the Ministry and as a Senior Fellow at Auburn Theological Seminary. She is an educator, and an adjunct professor at several seminaries including New York Theological Seminary, Union Theological Seminary, and Pacific School of Religion.
Josh Fryday was appointed California’s Chief Service Officer by Governor Newsom in 2019 to lead service, volunteer and civic engagement efforts throughout California. Prior to this appointment he served as the President of Golden State Opportunity (GSO), working to provide financial security to millions of low-income working people in California. He served in the military as an Officer in the United States Navy (‘09-‘13) as a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG). He was also stationed in the Office of Military Commissions, working on the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba detainee cases, and testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on the closing of Guantanamo. Before serving in the Armed Services, Josh worked as a political advisor and organizer on local, state and national campaigns, including the 2004 and 2008 Presidential elections. Josh received his law degree from the UC Berkeley School of Law and his undergraduate degree in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to his current position, he served as Chief Operating Officer (COO) for NextGen Climate, a leading national organization focused on climate change and clean energy.
Richie Goldman is currently the President of Encardia Wellness and Board Chair of San Domenico School. In his earlier career he was the co-Founder of Men’s Wearhouse (TLRD:NYSE). He is widely recognized as the marketing mastermind of MW, from his insistence on using TV as the main form of advertising as far back as 1975, to his careful nurturing and managing of the MW brand and image as the company expanded from one part of the country to another. In January of 2009, Richie released his book, Luck by Design Certain Success in an Uncertain World. The book, aimed at the children of Baby Boomers, received praise from educators, fellow authors, and reviewers. It won “Best General Non-Fiction” at the San Francisco Book Festival in 2009 and was a finalist in the Self-Help: Motivational category at the National Best Books 2009. Richie graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in English.
David Johnson is the founder of Act 4 Entertainment, a filmed entertainment and new media content company created to inspire social action. David was previously Senior Executive Vice President of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. and a partner of the law firm White & Case. David is a Life Trustee and former Chair of the Museum of Contemporary Art and a board member and former Chair of Public Counsel. Additionally, David serves on the boards of California Institute of the Arts, Demos, Human Rights Watch (California), Public Media Group of Southern California, The Smithsonian National Board, Voices of a People’s History of the United States, and the Yale School of Drama. He is a graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School.
Ann O’Leary is a partner at the international law firm Jenner & Block with decades of experience in government, politics, social policy, and non-profit leadership. As a lawyer and crisis leader, she has worked on significant equity, climate, economic, and public health issues.
Ms. O’Leary currently serves in the firm’s Litigation Department and is Co-Chair of Jenner’s Government Controversies and Public Policy Litigation Practice. In addition, Ms. O’Leary created Jenner & Block’s Post-Dobb’s Task Force to address complex client facing issues that continue to develop in the aftermath the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Prior to joining Jenner & Block, Ms. O’Leary served as Chief of Staff to the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, serving during an unprecedented time of challenge for California in which she worked with the Governor to address the COVID-19 public health and economic response and manage the worst wildfires in the state’s history. Additionally, she led the development and implementation of the proactive agenda of the Governor to expand opportunity and affordability in California, including notable expansions of California’s Earned Income Tax Credit and Paid Family Leave.
Ms. O’Leary previously served as Senior Policy Advisor to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and Co-Executive Director of the Clinton-Kaine Transition Project. She was a Deputy City Attorney in San Francisco; Executive Director of UC Berkeley Law’s Center on Health, Economic, and Family Security and lecturer-in-law at UC Berkeley Law; legislative director for Senator Hillary Clinton; and a policy advisor with the White House Domestic Policy Council under President Bill Clinton.
Ms. O’Leary received her law degree from Berkeley Law, her master’s degree from Stanford University, and her undergraduate degree from Mount Holyoke College.
Michael Tubbs is the Founder of EPIC; the Founder of Mayors for a Guaranteed Income; and the Special Advisor to California Governor Gavin Newsom for Economic Mobility. In 2016, he was elected Mayor of Stockton at 26-years-old. He was the city’s first African-American Mayor, and the youngest Mayor of any major city in American history. As Mayor, Tubbs was lauded for his leadership and innovation. He raised over $20 million dollars to create the Stockton Scholars, a universal scholarship and mentorship program for Stockton students. Additionally, he piloted the first mayor-led guaranteed income pilot in the country.
Under his leadership, Stockton was named an “All-America City” in 2017 and 2018 by the National Civic League. The city saw a 40% drop in homicides in 2018 and 2019, led the state of California in the decline of officer involved shootings in 2019, and was named the second most fiscally healthy city in California. Additionally, it was recognized as one of the most fiscally healthy cities in the nation and was featured in an HBO documentary film, Stockton on My Mind.
Tubbs has been named a fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics and The MIT Media Lab, a member of Fortune’s Top 40 under 40, a Forbes 30 under 30 All Star Alumni, "the Most Valuable Mayor "by The Nation, the 2019 New Frontier Award Winner from the JFK Library, and the 2021 Civic Leadership Award winner from The King Center. Prior to his tenure as Mayor, Tubbs served as a council member for the City of Stockton District 6, a high school educator, and a fellow for the Stanford Design School and the Emerson Collective.
On November 16, 2021, Tubbs released The Deeper The Roots: A Memoir of Hope and Home. The book relates Tubbs’ story of growing up in poverty, but lays his vision for leadership and policy that is more empathetic and responsive to people who are struggling.
Charles Halpern was cofounder of the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), the Bazelon Center for Law and Mental Health, The City University of New York School of Law, and the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. He was the founding president of the Nathan Cummings Foundation. Currently, he consults on issues relating to the preservation and improvement of democratic practices and institutions, and on mindfulness and law.
Stephen Heintz is the president of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a foundation that advances social change for a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world. In 2010, he set an ambitious path to align investment of the Fund’s financial assets with its mission, resulting in the Fund’s 2014 decision to divest from fossil fuels. Stephen is a co-founder of Demos, and has devoted his career to strengthening democratic culture and institutions. In 2018, he was named by the Academy of Arts and Sciences as one of three co-chairs of a national Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship. He also served as executive vice president and chief operating officer for the EastWest Institute in Prague during the 1990s.He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development. He is the recipient of the Council on Foundations 2018 Distinguished Service Award.
Heather designs and promotes solutions to inequality in America. Over her career in public policy, Heather has crafted legislation, testified before Congress and helped shape presidential campaign platforms. Her book The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together spent 10 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and was longlisted for the National Book Award and Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction. The paperback version will be out in February 2022. The Sum of Us will be adapted into a Spotify podcast by Higher Ground, the production company of Barack and Michelle Obama in June 2022, and into a young adult readers’ version by Random House Children’s in 2023. Heather is an educator, serving currently as a Visiting Lecturer in Urban Studies at the City University of New York’s School of Labor and Urban Studies. She has also held visiting positions at Yale University’s Brady-Johnson Grand Strategy Program and the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics. She is the recipient of honorary degrees from Muhlenberg College, Niagara University, and CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy. For nearly two decades, Heather helped build the non-partisan "think and do" tank Demos, serving four years as president. Under McGhee’s leadership, Demos moved their original idea for “debt-free college” into the center of the 2016 presidential debate, argued before the Supreme Court to protect voting rights in January 2018, helped win pro-voter reforms in five states over two years, provided expert testimony to Congressional committees, including a Supreme Court confirmation hearing in 2017, and led the research campaigns behind successful wage increases for low-paid workers on federal contracts, as well as at McDonalds, Walmart and other chain retailers. As an executive, McGhee transformed Demos on multiple levels. She led a successful strategic planning and rebranding process. She designed a Racial Equity Organizational Transformation which led to an increase in staff racial diversity (from 27 percent people of color to 60 percent in four years), an original racial equity curriculum for staff professional development and a complete overhaul of the organization’s research, litigation and campaign strategies using a racial equity lens. McGhee also nearly doubled the organizational budget in four years. A strong coalition-builder and trusted cross-movement leader, She holds a B.A. in American Studies from Yale University and a J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law,. McGhee is the chair of the board of Color Of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization, and also serves on the boards of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Open Society Foundations’ US Programs and Demos.
Miles Rapoport is the Executive Director of 100% Democracy: An Initiative for Universal Voting. He is also the co-author, with E.J. Dionne, of the book,100% Democracy: The Case for Universal Voting. Miles served as President of Demos for 13 years, from 2001-2014, helping to lead the organization from a start-up to a strong and well-established progressive policy center. Prior to his tenure at Demos, Miles served as an elected official for 14 years in the state of Connecticut, where he was a strong advocate for economic and racial justice, and a fully inclusive democracy. He was a state legislator from 1985-1994, and then Secretary of the State from 1995-1998. From 2016-2022, He was Senior Practice Fellow in American Democracy at the Ash Center of the Harvard Kennedy School, He writes frequently on democracy issues for The American Prospect magazine, and serves on the Boards of Everyday Democracy, The American Prospect, and the Scherman Foundation.
Amelia Warren Tyagi is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Business Talent Group. She was previously a management consultant and an entrepreneur, and is a nationally recognized writer.
Amelia co-founded HealthAllies, a venture capital-backed health benefits firm which was later acquired by United Health Group, the second largest health insurer in the U.S. She has completed numerous consulting engagements, first as an Engagement Manager at McKinsey&Company and later as an independent consultant.
She is the co-author of two best-selling books, “The Two-Income Trap” and “All Your Worth”. She has written for Harvard Business Review, Time, USA Today, and other publications on a variety of topics including the US economy, health care, and women and work. She was a regular commentator for the nationally syndicated radio show Marketplace.
Amelia serves on the board of Fuse Corps, a leading nonprofit that enables local governments to leverage independent professionals to more effectively address biggest challenges facing cities today. Amelia holds a BA from Brown University and an MBA from the Wharton School. She lives in Los Angeles.