Joe Brooks, Much Love

A radical, an activist, a visionary. Instigator, originator, life-long student, and wise mentor. There’s no shortage of words to paint a vivid picture of Joe Brooks. The second staff member to join PolicyLink in 1999, Joe was truly a PolicyLink “founding father.” It was Joe who helped Angela Glover Blackwell, founder, name PolicyLink — with a capital L for the linkages between policy and the people doing the work.

PolicyLink, with its high-reaching goals and top-priority mission, was initially received with skepticism by many. Not Joe. Joe was 100 percent vested as soon as he heard Angela. Almost immediately he began calling it “OUR organization.” In Joe, Angela found a founding partner and lifelong friend who shared her vision and her values. 

Joe had a distinguished 60-year career, nearly half spent at PolicyLink. When interviewed, he stated, “It’s the longest I’ve ever worked at the same place — it’s family.” Hard-pressed to pick just a couple, Joe continued to wax pridefully about his proudest PolicyLink accomplishments. “Much of what I’m proud of during my time at PolicyLink is just working collaboratively to make lasting change and real progress toward equity,” he said. “Like the exciting and impactful work we did down in the Mississippi Delta — where I actually lived for some time,” Joe continued. “We got 25 or 30 nonprofit and community-based organizations to work together to get legislation passed and get real results in their communities. Collaboration not competition.”

Joe had a quick wit, an insatiably curious mind, and a kind heart. Like the man it’s named for, the Joe Brooks Conference room  -- in the Oakland office -- encourages collaboration, ideation, and a meeting of brilliant minds to address complex issues and ask tough questions. If you visit the Oakland office, be sure to spend a moment in the Joe Brooks Conference room. You'll be inspired and rejuvenated. 

"Be a risk taker; think outside the box. Yes, you might make some mistakes, but it's an invaluable opportunity to learn something new or see something differently."

~Joe's Words of Wisdom