Philanthropy's Response to Our Nation's High Stakes Budget and Tax Debates: 14th Annual Briefing and Strategy Discussion for Grantmakers

March 1, 2017 
Washington, DC

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Deepak Bhargava, President, Center for Community Change
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Deepak Bhargava is President of the Center for Community Change, a social justice organization that empowers low-income and people of color to build social movements to improve their lives.  Since joining the Center for Community Change, Deepak has stewarded the organization’s pioneering work to support and grow the immigrant rights movement including the successful campaign to achieve major executive action. During his tenure, the organization has also helped its partner organizations strengthen their leadership and civic engagement capacity, and contributed to significant policy change in areas such as healthcare, retirement security, affordable housing, improved refundable tax credits for low-income families, and access to good family-sustaining jobs.  Deepak emigrated to the US from India as a child, grew up in the Bronx (go Yankees!) and currently resides in New York City with his partner Harry Hanbury.

Amy Brown, Senior Program Officer, Civic Engagement and Government, Ford Foundation

Amy Brown is part of the Civic Engagement and Government team. Previously, Amy was part of Ford’s Economic Opportunity and Assets program, where her work focused on two goals: financial justice (ensuring that the financial services marketplace in the United States is fair and affordable and meets the needs of low-income families and communities of color) and asset building (promoting public policies that build economic security from birth through retirement, including addressing the racial wealth gap). Before joining Ford in 2010, Amy was a senior consultant to the Aspen Institute's Economic Opportunities Program. Prior to that, she launched New York City’s earned-income tax credit campaign and was a professional staff member at the US Senate Agriculture Committee, where she worked on food stamp, child nutrition, and health care legislation. Amy also ran a community-based organization that provided emergency food, benefits advocacy, health care, and other services to residents in Brooklyn, New York.  Amy earned a master's degree in public administration from Columbia University and a bachelor's degree in art history from Columbia College.

Ryan Canney, Program Officer, Wellspring Advisors

Ryan joined Wellspring after 15 years of organizing and campaigning on a range of issues. He recently served as a Program Director at UltraViolet where he ran a $5 million program to increase millennial support for abortion access. In the past, Ryan ran an experimental organizational model utilizing online and traditional grassroots organizing to tackle issues like childhood hunger and corporate tax reform.  Ryan has also served as the deputy and interim field director for USAction (now People’s Action), as well as deputy field director at where he directed nationally scaled community events on election reform, health care, and more. Ryan got his start in organizing with Midwest Academy and Citizen Action/Illinois.  Ryan recently moved from Chicago to Washington, DC and received his Masters and Bachelors of Science in Political Science from Illinois State University.

Wendy Chun-Hoon
, Co-Executive Director, Family Values @ Work 
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Wendy leads the organization’s efforts to gain support for policies such as paid sick days and family leave insurance in the nation’s capital. A skilled coalition-builder, she coordinates much of FV@W’s network of thousands of workers, activists, small business owners, academics, public health experts and elected officials to build momentum for family-friendly policies.  Before joining FV@W, Wendy served as the associate director for the Special Fund for Poverty Alleviation, a special initiative of the Open Society Foundations (OSF) aimed at responding to the economic crisis by leveraging resources to promote opportunity and ameliorate poverty. She has also held positions as the chief of staff for Maryland’s welfare and child welfare agency, and as a program officer at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. She brings more than a decade of experience working with direct service providers, local residents, advocacy groups and funders.  Wendy is a frequent speaker at conferences around the country, and her work has appeared in the media, including NPR’s Diane Rehm Show and the Washington Blade. She serves on the boards of the National Employment Law Project and the Consumer Health Foundation, organizations dedicated to increasing economic security for working families.  Wendy received her B.A. in Urban Studies from Vassar College, and her M.A in Philanthropic Studies and M.P.A in Nonprofit Management from Indiana University. An avid soccer player, Wendy lives with her wife and their four-year-old son in Silver Spring, MD.

DaMareo Cooper
, Organizing Director, Ohio Organizing Collaborative
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DaMareo is Organizing Director for the Ohio Organizing Collaborative (OOC), an innovative statewide organization uniting community organizations, faith institutions, labor unions and policy groups across Ohio. OOC is a coalition of 20 organizations with members in every major metropolitan area across the state, working on issues including minimum wage reform, ending mass incarceration, and combatting climate change. OOC manages a diverse portfolio of issue organizing, non-partisan electoral programming, leadership training and movement building work – employing a broad range of techniques, including faith-based, worker-led, neighborhood-based, student-led, and constituency organizing models.

Tamara Draut
, Vice President of Policy and Research, Demos
Email: | Twitter: @tamaradraut | Web:

As Vice President of Policy and Research, Tamara is responsible for developing and advancing the organization's goals through research, idea generation and policy development. Tamara is a member of the Demos Executive Team helping to develop and drive the strategic direction of the organization. She is the author of Sleeping Giant: How America’s New Working Class Will Transform America, published by Doubleday in April 2016. A member of the Demos team since 2001, Tamara developed the organization’s groundbreaking work on household indebtedness, middle-class insecurity and the economic challenges facing young people. Tamara's research has been covered by dozens of newspapers and magazines including the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Her writing has appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, The American Prospect, The Boston Globe and The Boston Review. She is a frequent television commentator and has appeared on the Colbert Report, Today Show, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC and many others. She is the author of Strapped: Why America's 20- and 30-Somethings Can't Get Ahead published by Doubleday in 2006.

Jesse Graham
, Executive Director, Maine People’s Alliance
Email: | Twitter: @graham_jesse | Web:

Jesse has worn many hats at Maine People's Alliance (MPA)/Maine People's Resource Center (MPRC) since he was hired in 1999, serving as Field Director, Environmental Organizer and Associate Director. He represents MPA in many coalitions including Rebuild Maine and Maine Voices/Votes. He co-chaired the successful minimum wage ballot initiative in 2016 and served on the steering committee for the Stand up for Students initiative which raised taxes on the rich to fund public education. He also maintains national relationships with many partners and serves on the board of People's Action.  A Maine native,  Jesse lives in Bar Harbor with his wife Dory and two children Porter and Alden.

Bob Greenstein
, President, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Email: | Twitter: @GreensteinCBPP | Web:

Bob Greenstein is the founder and President of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.  He is considered an expert on the federal budget and a range of domestic policy issues, including anti-poverty programs and various aspects of tax and health care policy.  He has written numerous reports, analyses, book chapters, op-ed pieces, and magazine articles on these issues.  In 1996, he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship for making “the Center a model for a non-partisan research and policy organization.”  In 2008, he received both the Heinz Award for Public Policy for his work to “improve the economic outlook of many of America’s poorer citizens” and the 2008 John W. Gardner Leadership Award, given annually by Independent Sector, which said “Mr. Greenstein has played a defining role in how people think about critical budget and tax policies…. [and] help[ed] the nation address fiscal responsibility, reduce poverty, and expand opportunity.”  Two years later, he received the 2010 Daniel Patrick Moynihan Prize from the American Academy of Political and Social Science, which cited him as “a champion of evidence-based policy whose work at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is respected on both sides of the aisle.”  In 2011, the New Republic listed him as one of Washington’s 25 “Most Powerful, Least Famous People.”  Prior to founding the Center, Greenstein was Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture under President Carter, where he directed the agency that operates the federal food assistance programs, such as the food stamp and school lunch programs, and helped design the landmark Food Stamp Act of 1977, generally regarded as the Carter Administration’s principal anti-poverty achievement.  He was appointed by President Clinton in 1994 to serve on the Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform and headed the federal budget policy component of the transition team for President Obama.  He is a graduate of Harvard College and has received honorary doctorates from Tufts University and Occidental College.

Glenn Harris, President, Center for Social Inclusion
Email:  | Twitter: @theCSI | Web:

Glenn Harris has been working on issues of race and social justice for over twenty years. He has worked with community groups, foundations, and government agencies dedicated to building a more just and democratic society. He is the President of Center for Social Inclusion (CSI), a national non-profit organization that catalyzes community, government, and other institutions to dismantle structural racial inequity. CSI crafts and applies strategies and tools to transform our nation’s policies and practices, in order to ensure equitable outcomes for all.  Previously, Glenn worked as the Manager of the City of Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI), whose mission is to end institutionalized racism in City government and promote multiculturalism and full participation by all residents. The Initiative’s long-term goal is to change the underlying systems that maintain race-based disparities in order to achieve equity. Glenn has supported the start of similar initiatives in jurisdictions across the country, and helped to found the Government Alliance on Race and Equity.  Glenn also established the Seattle Office of the Community Police Commission in 2012, when the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and the City of Seattle entered into a settlement agreement to address concerns of excessive use of force and biased policing. The agreement included a substantive role for the Community Police Commission to monitor the implementation of police department reforms and to provide ongoing community input.  Glenn came to City government after serving five years as Development Director at Western States Center, an intermediary that provides technical assistance, training, research, and policy analysis in an eight-state region to grassroots organizations working to achieve social change. Glenn was also the Interim-Director at the MRG Foundation in Portland Oregon, and is currently a board member of the Philanthropic Initiative on Racial Equity, and the Willamette Valley Law Project, an Oregon based non-profit supporting farmworker rights.  Glenn has appeared on CNN and has written for numerous publications. An engaging speaker, he regularly conducts conference keynote addresses

Tamar Jacoby, President & CEO, Opportunity America
Email:  | Twitter: @tamarjacoby | Web:

Tamar Jacoby is president of Opportunity America, a Washington-based nonprofit working to promote economic mobility. A former journalist and author, she was a senior writer and justice editor at Newsweek and, before that, the deputy editor of The New York Times op-ed page.  Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Weekly Standard and Foreign Affairs, among other publications.  She is the author of “Someone Else’s House: America’s Unfinished Struggle for Integration,” and editor of “Reinventing the Melting Pot: The New Immigrants and What It Means To Be American.”  Since 2008, she has been president of ImmigrationWorks USA.

Nicholas Johnson, Senior Vice President, State Fiscal Policy, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Email: | Twitter: @NickCBPP | Web:

Nick Johnson serves as Senior Vice President for State Fiscal Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington, D.C-based research and policy institute.  He directs the Center’s State Fiscal Project, which publishes frequent reports on how state budget and tax decisions are affecting families and communities, and develops policies to enhance fiscal responsibility, equity, and accountability. Johnson’s analysis and commentary have been featured in national, regional, and local newspapers, and he is a frequent television and radio commentator on state fiscal issues.  He is a regular contributor to the Center’s blog, “Off the Charts,” and speaks regularly at conferences in Washington and around the country.  He also serves as an advisor to the members of the State Priorities Partnership, a network of independent state-level policy organizations.  In 2004 Johnson was awarded an Ian Axford Fellowship in Public Policy and served as an advisor to the New Zealand Treasury and the New Zealand Ministry of Social Development, conducting analysis of that country’s programs of tax relief and cash assistance for low-income families.  In 2014 Johnson was named to the Nonprofit Times Power & Influence Top 50. In 2010 State Tax Notes magazine named Johnson to its “All Decade State Tax Team.”   Johnson holds a graduate degree from Duke University's Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy and an undergraduate degree from Yale University.  He came to the Center in 1996 from the staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry.

Julie Kohler, Senior Vice President for Strategy and Planning, Democracy Alliance
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As Senior Vice President for Strategy and Planning, Julie Kohler oversees all work pertaining to the DA’s 2020 Vision, monitoring the work of the DA’s Investment Portfolio, overseeing the DA’s 2020 State Funds, developing content for conferences and other programming, and leading the DA’s inclusive economy and democracy-related work. In her prior roles as Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer, she worked closely with the President and the Board to develop and implement the Democracy Alliance’s strategic plan and annual goals. She has over a decade of experience in philanthropy, with deep expertise in civic engagement, state infrastructure, policy/advocacy, and social innovation grant making.  Prior to joining the Alliance, Kohler served as Director for Education & Civic Engagement at Public Interest Projects, where she managed four funding collaboratives designed to promote stronger participatory democracy and more equitable public schools. She also directed the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s National Venture Fund, which invested $13 million annually in civic engagement and social venture projects, and taught at the University of Maryland.  Kohler holds a M.A. and Ph.D. in family social science from the University of Minnesota and writes on topics pertaining to family structure and diversity.

Michael Laracy, Director, Policy Reform and Advocacy, The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Michael C. Laracy is director of policy reform and advocacy at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, of Baltimore, Maryland, where he fosters and supports the Foundation’s efforts to inform, guide, and influence public policy at the federal and state levels. He is also responsible for the Foundation’s KIDS COUNT network and State Fiscal Analysis Initiatives and grant-making portfolios in poverty reduction and in budget and fiscal issues. The Casey Foundation is a national philanthropy dedicated to helping build better outcomes for disadvantaged children in the United States. Its primary mission is to build better futures for millions of American kids at risk of poor educational, economic, social, and health outcomes. Laracy is a founding member of the Grantmakers Income Security Task Force and serves on the steering committee. Prior to joining the Foundation in August 1994, Laracy was Assistant Commissioner for Policy, Planning and Program Evaluation in the New Jersey Department of Human Services, where he served for seventeen years. He did his undergraduate and graduate work at Rutgers University, majoring in urban planning and public policy. He is married to Eileen McGinnis and has two teen-age daughters, Sean Colleen and Charlotte Grace. They reside in Pennington, New Jersey.

Judd Legum, Editor in Chief for ThinkProgress and Senior Vice President for Communications, Center for American Progress
Email: | Twitter: @JuddLegum | Web:

Judd Legum is the Editor in Chief for ThinkProgress and the Senior Vice President for Communications at American Progress. Previously, Judd was the research director for the Hillary Clinton for President campaign. He also worked at American Progress from 2003 to 2007 as Research Director. During that time, Judd founded and edited, the blog of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. He has appeared on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, CNBC, and numerous other television and radio outlets. His writings have appeared in Salon, The Nation, The Cincinnati Enquirer, and elsewhere.  Judd holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A. from Pomona College in public policy analysis. He is a member of the Maryland Bar and has worked as an attorney in private practice.

Ami Nagle, President, Nagle & Associates, GIST Co-Director, EITC Funders Network Coordinator
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Ami Nagle is President of Nagle & Associates, a national consulting firm focusing on three areas: consultation and support to innovative charitable foundations, public policy analysis and field research for non-profits and government agencies, and evaluation of community programs. Throughout her career, Ms. Nagle has conducted strategic planning and initiative development, authored numerous research and policy reports, implemented surveys, conducted focus groups, designed public information campaigns, and gathered data for a variety of private- and public-sector sponsored studies of human service, economic security, civic engagement, and education issues. Before founding Nagle & Associates, Ms. Nagle headed several major research and public education projects for Voices for Illinois Children and the Illinois Facilities Fund. She holds a master’s degree from Loyola University of Chicago (1994), where she was trained in research relating to family and child welfare, urban poverty, and nonprofit administration. She completed her undergraduate studies at Emory University (1990).

Greg Noth, Program Associate, Wyss Foundation

Greg Noth helps manage the Wyss Foundation’s Economic Opportunity and Women’s Equality programs. His portfolio includes programs on criminal justice reform, safety net enrollment, job quality standards, workplace equity, and financial products. Prior to his role at the Foundation, Greg spent time at the Center for American Progress and House of Representatives. He has a BA in International Relations from Knox College and is a native of Des Moines, Iowa.

Mark Rodgers, Principal, The Clapham Group
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Mark Rodgers is the Principal of The Clapham Group a company that seeks to influence culture upstream of the political arena.  Mark served as the third-ranking Republican leadership staffer in the U.S. Senate for six years overseeing strategic planning and strategic communications.  He also served as a high profile chief of staff to Senator Rick Santorum, working on Capitol Hill for a total of 16 years.  He was known on the Hill for his work on such issues as poverty alleviation and global AIDS, as well as protecting life at its most vulnerable stages.  Mark is a published writer and a speaker at large and small gatherings on the topics of faith and public life, culture and caring for the least of these.  His work over the years included an outreach to “culture creators,” and he has worked closely with artists such as Bono, Patty Heaton and The Fray.  He still collects pop culture artifacts, as the walls of his office attest.  Mark is a social entrepreneur, and enjoys finding ways to help people “do good while doing well.” In the 1980s, Mark worked at the Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation, a faith-based organization committed to addressing the social needs of Pittsburgh from a Christian perspective.  He also founded the National Institute of Lay Education (NILE), which developed adult education curriculum to encourage reflecting Christian involvement in public life.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from Penn State, and attended Trinity Episcopal School for ministry. He is currently a Policy Fellow with the American Conservative Union Foundation. Mark is married to Leanne, and the proud father of four children.

Bill Vandenberg
, Director, U.S. Special Initiatives and Partnerships, Open Society Foundations

Bill Vandenberg directs U.S. Special Initiatives and Partnerships for the Open Society Foundations. In this role, Vandenberg serves as the lead grant-making liaison to the Foundations’ largest U.S. multi-issue advocacy grantees and develops strategies for civic engagement and nonpartisan political participation, particularly within people of color and low- and moderate-income communities.  Beyond grant making, Vandenberg has staffed two Open Society future-focused investigations, including a “future of work” exploration of how emerging technologies could impact workers and the nature of work over the next 25 years. He currently heads up Project 2020, which is developing strategies to address the convergence of opportunities in 2020 around the United States’ decennial census, presidential election, and redistricting processes.  Vandenberg graduated from Boston College and was a Rockwood Leadership Institute transformative leadership fellow. He worked for 15 years as a grassroots political organizer, state-based strategist, and executive director at a number of advocacy organizations, including the Colorado Progressive Coalition, the racial and economic justice membership organization that he cofounded. Since joining the Open Society Foundations in 2008, Vandenberg has served in philanthropic leadership roles on civic and youth engagement and state-level activism and organization building.

Roger Vann, Executive Director, State Voices
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During his 25-year career as a non-profit manager and volunteer leader, Roger C. Vann has held a variety of positions dedicated to civic participation, progressive issue advocacy and grassroots leadership development. Most recently, as chief operating officer and chief of staff for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Vann oversaw day-to-day management of the 105-year-old civil rights organization, and led the development and implementation of the NAACP’s successful 2012 civic engagement strategy which was responsible for securing over 430,000 voter registrations nationwide. He also led the organization’s recent strategic planning process. Vann previously served as the NAACP’s national membership director, chief development officer and senior vice president of field operations and membership.  His 20-year long association with the NAACP began when, at age 28, he was elected the youngest president in the history of the Greater New Haven, Connecticut Branch in 1994. Under his leadership, the branch grew to one of the largest in the nation and helped win critical victories on a range of issues including living wage, public sector employment diversity and police misconduct. In 1999, as president of the Connecticut NAACP, Vann led a statewide grassroots effort to win passage of one of the nation’s first laws addressing racial profiling.  A lifelong champion of civil liberties and workers’ rights, Vann has served as executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Connecticut as well as director of the African American Hiring Initiative for the International Union UNITE HERE.  Vann is an accomplished radio personality and programmer with more than 10 years experience as a news director and talk show host. He also worked as a community organizer on affordable housing issues and began his career developing and directing a pioneering manhood mentoring program for Planned Parenthood of Connecticut.  In addition to serving on the boards of several community and philanthropic organizations, Vann has demonstrated his commitment to social change through public service. In his native state of Connecticut he served as a member of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Affordable Housing, the State Treasurer’s Task Force on Individual Development Accounts and the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.  A graduate of Brown University, Vann lives in Virginia with his wife and three children.

Felicia Wong
, President and CEO, Roosevelt Institute
Email: | Twitter: @feliciawongri | Web:

Felicia Wong is the President and CEO of the Roosevelt Institute, which seeks to re-imagine the social and economic policies of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt for the 21st century. She has helped lead the Roosevelt Institute's work on a rewriting the rules agenda, a comprehensive economic program and narrative that has become increasingly politically influential.  Felicia came to the Institute from the Democracy Alliance, and previously ran operations and product development at a venture-funded education services company. Her public service includes a White House Fellowship in the Office of the Attorney General and a political appointment in the Office of the Secretary of the Navy. She holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley. Her doctoral dissertation on the role of race and framing in K-12 public education politics received the 2000 American Political Science Association award in Race, Ethnicity, and Politics. She is a co-author of the forthcoming Rewrite the Racial Rules: Building an Inclusive American Economy.