Photo: Dale Robbins

Angela Glover Blackwell

Social Justice Advocate

Angela Glover Blackwell has spent most of her adult life working to advance the cause of economic and social equity for all. She is the founder and CEO of PolicyLink, a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity.

After growing up in racially-segregated St. Louis, Missouri in the 1950s, Blackwell attended Howard University and later earned a law degree from the University of California at Berkeley. For ten years, she was a partner at the renowned public-interest law firm Public Advocates, dedicated to serving the underrepresented. Blackwell won victories in several class action cases and helped develop the firm’s strategies in the areas of education, employment, health, and consumer affairs. In 1987, she left the firm to establish the Urban Strategies Council in Oakland, California. Blackwell earned national recognition for her work there, which involved community-building in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. Her approach was built around a thorough understanding of local conditions, community-driven institutional reform, and a commitment to accountability.

After leaving the Urban Strategies Council, Blackwell worked for three years as a senior vice president in the domestic and cultural departments at the Rockefeller Foundation. Her work there focused on policy issues surrounding race and inclusion, and she spearheaded the development of the Next Generation Leadership and Building Democracy programs.

In 1999, Blackwell founded PolicyLink, which is devoted to ensuring that equity issues are taken into account in policy-making decisions, with special focuses on investing in infrastructure, ending racial disparities in healthcare, and connecting economically disadvantaged Americans to employment, education, and affordable housing.

Blackwell’s extensive work has made her a leading authority on race and equity issues in America. She is a co-author of Uncommon Common Ground: Race and America’s Future (2010) and contributed to the anthology Ending Poverty in America:  How to Restore the American Dream (2007).