Policy Council

Robert Balfanz
The Everyone Graduates Center
Johns Hopkins University

Melody Barnes
Melody Barnes Solutions
Vice Provost for Global Student Leadership Initiatives
Senior Fellow at the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University

Brock Bierman
Managing/Senior Advisor
Civic Ancestry

John J. Dilulio Jr.
Frederic Fox Leadership Professor University of Pennsylvania

William Galston
Senior Fellow, Governance Studies
Brookings Institute

Michael J. Gerson
Hastert Fellow at Wheaton College
Columnist, The Washington Post

Stephen Goldsmith
Daniel Paul Professor of Government
Harvard's Kennedy School of Government

Amy A. Kass
Senior Fellow
Hudson Institute

Robert D. Putnam
Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy
Harvard University

Timothy Shriver
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Special Olympics

Randal C. Teague
Legal Counsel

Senator Harris Wofford
Former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania
Assistant to President John F. Kennedy
Chair of America's Promise Alliance
About Us

Civic Enterprises is a public policy and strategy firm that works with corporations, nonprofits, foundations, universities, and governments to develop and implement innovative initiatives and public policies to strengthen our communities and the country. Created to enlist the private, public, and nonprofit sectors to help address our Nation's toughest problems, Civic Enterprises works in the fields of education, social mobility, and civic engagement among others. Civic Enterprises draws on the knowledge and experience of its staff and policy council, who have served in the government and the for-profit and non-profit sectors, as well as the latest research and information to achieve measurable results.


Staff Members

John Bridgeland

President & CEO

John Bridgeland is President & CEO of Civic Enterprises, Co-Chair of The Franklin Project at The Aspen Institute to make a service year a common expectation and opportunity for all 18-28 year olds, Co-Convenor of GradNation to reach a 90 percent high school graduation rate by 2020, and Vice Chairman of Malaria No More, a nonprofit working to end malaria deaths in Africa by the end of 2015. Previously, Bridgeland was appointed by President Obama to serve on the White House Council for Community Solutions. He also served as Director of theWhite House Domestic Policy Council, Assistant to the President of the United States, and first Director of the USA Freedom Corps under President George W. Bush. He is a member of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Commission on Political Reform. He is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Virginia School of Law and has given commencement addresses at the College of William & Mary, Johns Hopkins University, Saint Anselm College, Hamline University and Ripon College. In addition, he was named a Non-ProfitExecutive of the Year in 2009 for his work in developing the Serve America Act that was signed into law.  


For a full bio click here.


kathleen mcmahon

chief of staff

Kathleen McMahon is the Chief of Staff at Civic Enterprises, where she manages the project portfolio, operations, and staff. She brings 14 years experience in the nonprofit sector where she has worked on issues related to dropout prevention and recovery, civic engagement, and college access. Prior to joining Civic, Kathleen most recently served as the Deputy Director of Capital Partners for Education, a mentoring and college preparation organization for low-income DC youth where she led the organization’s fundraising and communications efforts during an unprecedented period of growth. She previously worked for the Points of Light Foundation (now the Points of Light Institute) and later for Work, Achievement, Values & Education (WAVE), Inc. - a national dropout prevention and recovery organization. She also spent a year in Bangkok, Thailand teaching sixth grade English. Kathleen has been a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the National Capital Area since 2005, where she co-founded the DC Volunteer Council. She earned her M.S. in NGO/Nonprofit Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania and holds a B.A. in Public Policy and French from Syracuse University (Phi Beta Kappa)


jim capretta

principal

James C. Capretta is Principal of Civic Enterprises, LLC. Mr. Capretta is also a Fellow in the Economics and Ethics Program of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, an Adjunct Fellow with the Global Aging Initiative of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and an Adjunct Fellow with Hudson Institute. Mr. Capretta served as a Visiting Lecturer at the Sanford Institute of Public Policy at Duke University in 2006 and was a Visiting Fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution in 2005-2006. From January 2001 to May 2004, Mr. Capretta served as the Bush Administration's top budget official for health care, Social Security and pensions, education, and labor policy. He was the lead official in the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for all aspects of Medicare and Medicaid reform policy development and implementation as well as for the development of the President's other important domestic policy initiatives in education and labor. From June 2004 to August 2006, Mr. Capretta was a Managing Director of Wexler and Walker Public Policy Associates, where he performed a wide range of consulting and advocacy services for clients. Prior to joining the White House in 2001, Mr. Capretta served for nearly a decade as a Senior Policy Analyst on the Republican Staff for the U.S. Senate Budget Committee under Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM), handling health care and Social Security issues, and as a Professional Staff Member of the House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Health. Mr. Capretta began his career as a budget examiner at OMB from 1987 to 1990 after graduating with an MA in Public Policy Studies from Duke University. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1985, receiving a BA in Government.


tess mason-elder

Senior policy analyst

Tess Mason-Elder is a senior policy analyst at Civic Enterprises, where she works on a wide range of policy areas including national service, civic engagement, and economic opportunity. She also serves as a policy advisor to the Franklin Project at the Aspen Institute. Prior to joining Civic Enterprises, Tess served as Assistant Deputy Secretary of State in the California Secretary of State's office, where she focused on voter education and outreach and legislative affairs. She also served as legislative affairs associate at California Volunteers, the state office charged with increasing the number of Californians engaged in national service and volunteerism. Tess was a California Executive Fellow in 2006-2007.  She earned a Masters in Public Administration at American University and holds a BA in Government and Religious Studies from Claremont McKenna College.


jennifer depaoli

education advisor 

Jennifer DePaoli is the Education Advisor at Civic Enterprises.  Prior to joining Civic Enterprises, Jennifer served as an education policy researcher at Policy Matters Ohio, a state policy think tank, where she worked on state K-12 education policy analysis.  In this role, she authored Misleading Measurements, a report on highly rated urban public schools in Ohio and co-authored Avoiding Accountability, a report on charter school closure law in Ohio.  Jennifer also brings with her nearly a decade of experience teaching at the university and elementary/middle school levels.  She began her career in education as a 7th grade teacher at Leesville Road Middle School in Raleigh, NC, then later as a 5th grade teacher at C.O. Harrison Elementary School in Cincinnati, OH.  She most recently taught courses in educational foundations to pre-service teachers at the University of Akron and Ohio State University.  Jennifer earned her Ph.D in Education from Ohio State University, where she focused on state- and district-level K-12 education policy.  She also holds a Master's in Education and a B.A. in Communications from the University of Dayton.


erin ingram 

research Associate

Erin Ingram is a research associate at Civic Enterprises. Prior to joining Civic Enterprises, Erin served as an associate at Grantmakers for Effective Organizations for the Scaling What Works initiative, which worked to expand the number of grantmakers and public sector funders seeking to grow the impact of high performing nonprofits. In this role, she led communications and outreach efforts, assisted in the research and writing of publications, and the production of conferences and other learning opportunities that brought together innovative grantmakers from around the country. She has also helped to found a nonprofit providing education and healthcare to at-risk youth living in the slums of Nairobi, taught English to business professionals in Madrid, and served with City Year as a Senior Corps Member in a public school on the south side of Chicago. Erin earned her M.A. in International Development from the University of Pittsburgh, and holds a B.A. in History from the College of Wooster.


hina samnani

office and financial assistant

Hina Samnani is the Office and Financial Assistant at Civic Enterprises. Prior to joining Civic Enterprises, Hina worked as the development intern for the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution. She is a 2013 graduate of the University of Connecticut, with degrees in business finance and political science. During her time at UConn, she was involved in many volunteer and internship opportunities, including working as a advocacy fellow for Education Reform Now and Families for Excellent Schools in Brooklyn, NY.




Becky schamore

policy advisor

Rebecca Schamore Friant is a Policy Advisor for Civic Enterprises. She co-authored the report, Raising Their Voices: Engaging Students, Teachers and Parents to Help End the High School Dropout Epidemic (March 2010), and shared the findings on public radio and in newsprint. She also co-authored a report on the role of faith-based institutions in global health, including malaria control, in Rwanda. Friant has a longstanding career in teaching at the university and secondary school levels. She currently teaches 9th grade Honors English and 11th grade Advanced Placement Language and Composition at Dobyns Bennett High School in Kingsport, TN. Friant also taught French at Middle Tennessee State University, French and Developmental Writing at Armstrong State College and St. Leo College, and French and English at both East Tennessee State University and Northeast Community College. Friant's interests and career have also taken her to France, where she spent two years studying languages, and to Africa, where she has used her language skills to help those in need. Friant graduated with high honors in both French and English and received her master's degree in French from Vanderbilt University.


Michael Gerson

Senior Policy Advisor & Member, Policy Council

Michael Gerson is a nationally syndicated columnist who appears twice weekly in the Washington Post. He is the author of Heroic Conservatism (HarperOne, 2007) and co-author of City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era (Moody, 2010). Gerson serves as Senior Advisor at ONE, a bipartisan organization dedicated to the fight against extreme poverty and preventable diseases. He is the Hastert Fellow at the J. Dennis Hastert Center for Economics, Government, and Public Policy at Wheaton College in Illinois. He is co-Chair of The Poverty Forum and Co-Chair of the Catholic/Evangelical Dialogue with Dr. Ron Sider. From 2006 to 2009, Gerson was the Roger Hertog Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Prior to joining CFR, Gerson was a top aide to President George W. Bush as Assistant to the President for Policy and Strategic Planning. He was a key administration advocate for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI), the fight against global sex trafficking, and funding for women’s justice and empowerment issues. Prior to that appointment, he served in the White House as Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Presidential Speechwriting and Assistant to the President for Speechwriting and Policy Advisor. Gerson is a graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois. He grew up in the St. Louis area and now lives with his wife and sons in northern Virginia.


Senator Harris Wofford

Senior Policy Advisor & Member, Policy Council

As a former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, chair of America's Promise, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, and Special Assistant to President John F. Kennedy, Harris Wofford played a key role in passing the trailblazing legislation that created AmeriCorps, the Learn and Serve America program and the Corporation for National and Community Service. After helping launch the Peace Corps, Mr. Wofford held the post of special assistant to President John F. Kennedy, as well as chairman of the White House Sub-Cabinet Group on Civil Rights from 1961 to 1962. He also served as counsel to Rev. Theodore Hesburgh on the first U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and trustee to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Non-Violent Social Change. Mr. Wofford was president of both the State University of New York’s new College at Old Westbury (1966-70) and of Bryn Mawr College (1970-78). Additionally, Mr. Wofford is a member of the National Commission on Service-Learning chaired by Senator John Glenn. He also serves on the boards of Youth Service America and the Points of Light Foundation. He is the author of numerous publications including Of Kennedys and Kings: Making Sense of the Sixties (1980). In 1950, Senator Wofford and his late wife Clare co-authored the book India Afire, which reported on the first year of independence in India and urged the civil rights movement in America to adopt Gandhi’s strategy of non-violent direct action.


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