Michael McAfee, President, began his service at PolicyLink in 2011. Under his leadership, PolicyLink has emerged as a national leader in building cradle-to-career systems that are ensuring that all children and youth in America have a pathway into the middle class. Central to this equitable systems-change are communities of opportunity, where all children can grow up with access to great schools and strong systems of family and community supports that prepare them to attain an excellent education and successfully transition to college and/or a career. As a result of his partnership with leaders across America, more than $1 billion has been invested in our nation’s most distressed communities; and nearly 300,000 children are being positively impacted. Congress recently recognized the leaders’ ability to get results by making Promise Neighborhoods a permanent federal program through the authorization of the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015.
As President, Michael joins the Executive Team and Program Teams in strategic planning, policy development, policy campaign strategy, and programmatic design and implementation at the local, state, and national levels.
Prior to 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 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. While serving as Director of Community Leadership for The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation and Affiliated Trusts, he was instrumental in helping build the organization’s capacity to raise $121 million from individual donors. This accomplishment earned the Foundation the honor of being recognized by The Chronicle of Philanthropy as receiving more contributions than any community foundation in America.
Michael is determined to create conditions that will allow equity to flourish all across America — just and fair inclusion into a society where all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. He believes that every American deserves access to opportunities that give them a fair shot at succeeding in life. His unremitting commitment to equity is why he refuses to accept the world the way that it is.
Michael 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 and completed Harvard University’s Executive Program in Public Management. He 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.