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Date + Time

June 27, 2017 12:00pm - 3:00pm EDT

Venue Map + Directions

Rockefeller Brothers Fund
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 900
New York, NY 10115 United States


Glynda C. Carr at Higher Heights for America
(646) 206-5931
View Organizer Website

You’re invited to an important funder conversation and strategy discussion about Black women and civic engagement presented by 

Rockefeller Brothers Fund             

RSVP and please specifiy your preference to attend in person or join via webinar for this funder-only event


Black women have long held an essential role in the American political system — leading in the civil rights movement, the fight for women’s suffrage, the women’s rights movement, and in civic and electoral participation. Black women have championed roles, often unrecognized, to ensure the success of important social and political movements, participation of communities, and raising the voices of the most marginalized populations in America.

In facing current threats to American values and fundamental policies related to fair wages, immigration, housing, education, economic inequality, human rights, and governance — Black women are on the front lines, in national leadership and local community, speaking truth to power, and expanding opportunities for engagement for all women and people of color. Black women operate at the cutting edge of shaping and moving the national narrative and advancing public policies that will build a nation of economically stable, safe and healthy communities, families.

As communities and organizations develop strategy leading into 2020 and beyond, a meaningful and sustainable investment in strengthening Black women’s civic engagement and leadership opportunities is imperative.


This convening will include a dynamic panel discussion and briefing from leading experts as well as a group facilitated strategy conversation.

Valerie Rockefeller Wayne

Valerie Rockefeller Wayne

Valerie is the Board Chair of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and she serves as a trustee of Columbia University Teachers College, D.C. Preparatory Academy, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and the Asian Cultural Council. Valerie was a trustee of Spelman College, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Valerie’s professional background is as a middle school special education teacher for adolescents with learning differences and emotional disabilities. Valerie has a M.Ed. in Special Education from Bank Street College of Education and a MAT in secondary Social Studies from Columbia University Teachers College. She majored in International Relations at Stanford University, and worked as a confidential assistant to Secretary Richard Riley at the U.S. Department of Education during the first Clinton administration.


Joy Ann ReidJoy Ann Reid

Joy is the host of “AM Joy”, weekends from 10 a.m. to noon on MSNBC, the author of the book Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons and the Racial Divide (William Morrow/Harper Collins) which was released in paperback in September 2016, and a columnist at The Daily Beast. Joy previously hosted “The Reid Report,” a daily program that offered distinctive analysis and insight on the day’s news and served as Managing Editor for the TheGrio.com. During the 2004 presidential campaign, Reid served as the Florida deputy communications director for the 527 “America Coming Together” initiative, and was a press aide in the final stretch of President Barack Obama’s Florida campaign in 2008.

Glynda C. CarrGlynda C. Carr

Glynda is the Co-Founder of Higher Heights. Glynda is an advocate and political strategist recognized for her innovative leadership style, commitment to expanding the civic participation of women and communities of color as well as advancing progressive public policies to build sustainable communities. Formerly Glynda served as Executive Director for Education Voters of New York and Chief of Staff to New York State Senator Kevin Parker from Brooklyn, NY. In her role, Glynda managed the Senator’s key initiatives and shaped policy around youth and economic development.

Kelly Dittmar

Kelly Dittmar

Kelly is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University–Camden and Scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics at the Eagleton Institute of Politics. She is the author of Navigating Gendered Terrain: Stereotypes and Strategy in Political Campaigns (Temple University Press, 2015), as well as multiple book chapters on gender and American politics. Dittmar earned her B.A. from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, MI and her Ph.D. from Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

Letitia JamesLetitia James

Letitia James is the Public Advocate for the City of New York, the second highest ranking elected office in the City. As Public Advocate, she serves as a direct link between New Yorkers and their government, acts as a watchdog over City agencies, and investigates complaints about City services. Public Advocate James made history in 2014 by becoming the first woman of color to hold citywide office in New York City.

Public Advocate James successfully passed legislation to ban questions about salary history from the employment process to end gender wage discrimination.

Prior to being elected Public Advocate, Letitia James served as a City Council Member from 2004 to 2013. As a City Council Member, she fought for Paid Sick Leave, and passed the Safe Housing Act, which ensured that thousands of families in rental buildings receive prompt and full repairs to their apartments.

Michelle JawandoMichele Jawando

Michele is Vice President for Legal Action at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Michelle is an attorney and social justice advocate working at the intersection of policy, political strategy, and media. Previously, she served as general counsel and senior advisor to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) where she was responsible for a wide-ranging portfolio of policy issues pertaining to the federal judiciary and nominations; voting rights; women and labor issues; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, issues; education; telecommunications; technology; and ethics.


As with all FCCP events, the subject matter is strictly limited to non-partisan discussion as outlined in the agenda.