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Michael McAfee


Michael McAfee, President, leads PolicyLink executive and program teams in strategic planning, policy development, policy campaign strategy, capacity building, and programmatic design and implementation at the local, state, and national levels. He came to PolicyLink in 2011 as the inaugural director of the Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink. Under his leadership, PolicyLink has emerged as a national leader in building cradle-to-career systems to ensure that children and youth in our nation’s most distressed communities have a pathway into the middle class. His partnership with local leaders in more than 60 communities contributed to significant improvements in the educational and developmental outcomes for children and helped attract public and private investments that exceed $1 billion. Through the 2015 authorization of the Every Student Succeeds Act, the Promise Neighborhoods program is now a permanent federal program.

Before joining PolicyLink, Michael served as senior community planning and development representative in the Chicago Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). While at HUD, he managed a $450 million housing, community, and economic development portfolio where he partnered with local leaders to create more than 3,000 units of affordable housing and 5,000 jobs and ensure access to social services for more than 200,000 families. He also served as the lead instructor with HUD’s Leadership Development Program. He is most proud of personally ensuring the successful matriculation of more than 168 senior executives through the Leadership Development Program and providing fundraising, leadership, management, and organizational development technical assistance to more than 1,000 persons and 800 grassroots faith- and community-based organizations. His partnership with the White House and HUD's Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships has resulted in nonprofit organizations accessing more than $1 billion in federal resources.

Michael believes that every American deserves access to opportunities that give them a fair shot at succeeding in life. He is an Annie E. Casey Foundation Children and Family Fellow, Aspen Institute Ideas Scholar, and Leap of Reason Ambassador. He served in the United States army, completed Harvard University's Executive Program in Public Management, and earned his doctor of education in human and organizational learning from The George Washington University. He is an avid off-road hiker and practitioner of Bikram yoga.

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