David A. Harris Will Bring Decades of Experience to Advancing Justice and Equity in Oakland and the Bay Area


David A. Harris will lead Urban Strategies Council as its next President and Chief Executive Officer, effective July 1, 2016 succeeding Junious Williams who has led the Council for nearly 20 years.

“David brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the many strategic initiatives of the Council,” said Robert A. D. Schwartz, chair of the Council’s Board of Directors. “After conducting an intensive search we feel extremely fortunate to have found a leader who is so strongly aligned with our history of community building to achieve social justice.”

DavidHarris450Harris has spent the majority of his professional career as a nonprofit manager and consultant, as well as a grantmaker at several of the nation’s leading philanthropic organizations. Most recently, he has provided leadership, program, resource and strategy development consulting services to nonprofit and philanthropic organizations; and led a regional equity planning initiative in the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area. Previously, Harris was Vice President of Grants and Initiatives at the Iowa West Foundation, Director of Regional Policy & Florida Philanthropy for the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, a Program Officer at the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and Executive Director of Jobs for Youth in New York City. David also worked at CBS, the Nigerian Television Authority, and Morgan Stanley earlier in his career.

“This is truly my dream job, I have worked with the Council for over twenty years” said Harris. “It’s a distinct honor and privilege to be entrusted with the Council’s stewardship and to work with such a committed and exceptional board and staff in a community I deeply respect and where I have both experience and strong relationships.”

“My vision for the Council is to continue providing the highest level of excellence and integrity in our work,” said Harris, “through strengthening our knowledge base and amplifying the voice of residents and partners, we will advance a healthy, opportunity-focused, and prosperous community for everyone, especially our most vulnerable residents.”

A Harvard College graduate and lifelong community builder, Harris is the volunteer President of the Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation working on environmental justice issues in Alabama, Florida and Georgia, and a board member of several organizations including the Charles Drew Community Health Center, African American Empowerment Network, and PlaceMatters.  Harris has been married for 34 years to Roxanne (his high school sweetheart), and has two sons, Marcus, a banker/multi-media artist in Philadelphia, and Malik, a U.S. Navy officer stationed in San Diego.

Urban Strategies Council, founded in 1987, brings together people and data for equity and social justice. The Council’s mission is to eliminate persistent poverty in the Bay Area by working with partners to transform low-income neighborhoods into vibrant, healthy communities.

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