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CSSP Welcomes an LGBTQ Rights Leader and an Education Innovator to Board of Directors

Kate Kendell, NCLR Executive Director and Sondra Samuels, Northside Achievement Zone President and CEO, have joined CSSP's Board of Directors.Washington, D.C. (Nov. 14, 2016)—The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP, @ctrsocialpolicy) has named Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR); and Sondra Samuels, president and CEO of the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ), to its Board of Directors.

"It's hard to think of two more perfect people to join CSSP's board at this time," said Frank Farrow, CSSP's Director. "Kate and Sondra both exemplify a commitment to CSSP's social justice ideals and our goals around improving outcomes, reducing inequities and expanding opportunities for children and families—and holding systems accountable to do the right thing for those facing the greatest barriers. They each come with remarkably fresh ideas and new energy that will complement our existing board."

Through direct litigation and advocacy, Kendell leads one of the nation’s premier organizations working to change discriminatory laws and to create new laws and policies benefiting the LGBTQ community. Under Kendell's leadership, NCLR has focused on immigration, employment, family and relationships, health care, housing, poverty and youth. 

“Kate's commitment to equity and social justice is exemplified in all of her work and she will bring a new level of dynamism to leadership in every area of CSSP's work,” said Farrow. “From public policy at the federal and state levels to promoting rigorous system reforms to effect change in the lives of children and families, she is a consummate strategist who will add to our board’s breadth of talent and experience.”

Samuels leads the ground-breaking work of ending multigenerational poverty through education at the Northside Achievement Zone, a collaborative that hosts a coalition of more than 40 nonprofits and schools to prepare 2,500 low-income North Minneapolis children to graduate from high school ready for college. NAZ is one of the most notable grantees of the federal Promise Neighborhoods program which is committed to implementing multifaceted community strategies to help children and families succeed.

“Sondra is both a pioneer and leader in the hard work of weaving together all of a community’s resources to help ensure that children get a good start in life and continue to thrive as they move through school,” said Farrow. “She not only advocates for cradle-to-career solutions but has provided the leadership in North Minneapolis and nationally to help demonstrate that this approach makes a difference in children’s lives.” 

The appointments of Kendell and Samuels come as Sandra Moore, former head of St. Louis-based Urban Strategies, and Mark L. Joseph, Case Western Reserve University professor, step down from the board following a three-year and five-year term, respectively. Both are now CSSP senior fellows.


The Center for the Study of Social Policy is a national organization recognized for its leadership in shaping policy, reforming public systems and building the capacity of communities. We support elected officials, public administrators, families and neighborhood residents to take the actions they need. Our goal is to make sure children can learn, develop and thrive with the support of strong families, in safe and healthy communities. Visit us online at and join our conversations on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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