Advocate Ai-jen Poo to Receive 2011 American Express NGen Leadership Award

(WASHINGTON, July 28, 2011) — Independent Sector is proud to announce the 2011 recipient of the American Express NGen Leadership Award is Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, a coalition of domestic workers in the United States who advocate for recognition and labor standards.

The American Express NGen Leadership Award recognizes one accomplished nonprofit leader age 40 or under who has already demonstrated significant impact in addressing society’s critical needs.

“Ai-jen’s achievement is remarkable. She has united workers, employers, and advocates to transform the lives of one of our nation’s most vulnerable groups, domestic workers,” said Diana Aviv, president and CEO of Independent Sector. “As her movement empowers others to open doors for groundbreaking legislation and powerful new alliances, Ai-jen aligns the needs of her partners to create positive change.”

Ai-jen began organizing immigrant women workers in New York in 1996. In 2000, she helped start Domestic Workers United (DWU), an organization of nannies, housekeepers, and elderly caregivers in New York organizing for power, respect, fair labor standards, and to help build the social justice movement. DWU led the way to the passage of the first Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, statewide legislation to extend labor rights to domestic workers in 2010. Recognizing that the work of the future required greater scale and capacity, as well as new forms of collaboration, Ai-jen helped found, and now directs, the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA).

Ai-jen’s approach to mobilizing is rooted in the belief that people must come together from a place of love and respect to improve the lives of all. Under her leadership, NDWA has grown from an organization of 13 domestic workers organizations to more than 30 organizations representing domestic workers in 17 cities across the country. NDWA has also worked closely with the International Labor Organization, the U.S. Government, and AFL-CIO to approve the first international labor standards for domestic workers.

“I am honored to receive the American Express NGen Leadership Award,” Ai-jen said. “This award will give us new momentum and opportunities for collaboration on Caring Across Generations, our new, long-term, multi-sector initiative to transform how we as a nation honor and care for our loved ones who are aging and disabled, as well as the workers who care for them.”

Nominations for the American Express NGen Leadership Award were evaluated by a selection committee of nonprofit and philanthropic leaders. The finalists submitted answers to essay questions, and participated in a webinar to share their views on leadership, impact, and the opportunities and challenges within the sector.

Ai-jen will receive the award at the John W. Gardner Leadership Dinner October 31 at the IS Annual Conference in Chicago. She will also keynote a session at the NGen: Moving Nonprofit Leaders from Next to Now pre-conference program October 29-30.


Independent Sector is a nonprofit, nonpartisan coalition of 600 charities, foundations, and corporate philanthropy programs, collectively representing tens of thousands of charitable groups in every state across the nation. Its mission is to advance the common good by leading, strengthening, and mobilizing the nonprofit and philanthropic community.

Types: Press Release
Global Topics: Civil Rights, IS Member, Leadership Development, Race, Equity, and Inclusion