Sophia Bracy Harris
Sophia Bracy Harris | Distinguished Taconic Fellow
Sophia Bracy Harris joins us as a Distinguished Taconic Fellow. In December 2015, Sophia stepped down from her 43-year role as Executive Director of the Federation of Child Care Centers of Alabama (FOCAL) and Alabama Director of the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative for Economic and Social Justice (SRBWI, formed in 2001). In 1972, Sophia co-founded FOCAL to protect the rights of low-income African-American families to care for their children in their own communities by demanding fairness and uniformity in the state and county licensing procedure for child care centers. Forty-three years later, under Sophia’s leadership, FOCAL has continued its mission to measurably improve the lives of children and families through child care training, leadership development, advocacy and community organizing. In addition, Sophia’s leadership and work on behalf of children has been rewarded with a number of prestigious awards and recognitions. She was awarded the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur “Genius” Award, the Rockefeller Public Service Award, and the Gleitsman Foundation’s “People Who Make A Difference.”
Sophia’s fellowship will focus on drawing the lessons for her experience and activism over the years with FOCAL, supporting the groundwork for the establishment of the FOCAL Legacy Project and engaging with and bolstering CCC’s childcare learning circle.
Richard Healey | Community Change Fellow
Richard Healey joins us as a Community Change Fellow, while continuing his role as Executive Director of the Grassroots Policy Project (GPP), which he founded in 1994. GPP is focused on long-term strategies for transformative change in the United States, in particular on power, ideology, and movement infrastructure. They work with national networks of community organizations and many state and local groups and consult closely with these organizations about how to integrate these concepts into their daily practice.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s Richard was active in the civil rights and anti-war movements. From 1970 to 1982 he helped found and lead the New American Movement, a democratic socialist organization involved in many local organizing efforts, including housing, energy and unemployment. Richard also became involved in community environmental health organizing. During the 1980s Richard was involved in disarmament and anti-intervention activities. He was Director of the Coalition for a New Foreign and Military Policy and Nuclear Times magazine. He also served as Director of the Institute for Policy Studies and was a co-founder of the Study Circles Resource Center.
Richard is a board member of the Center for Social Inclusion, the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity, the See Forward Fund, and the One World Fund. He is an advisor to the Solidago Foundation. As a Community Change fellow, Richard will focus on writing a number of pieces for publication and distribution to social movement leader that build on his past work at GPP. He will also explore the development of a political education curriculum and support and engage with the Community Change economic justice team, capitalizing on possible synergies and overlap with his ongoing work.
Our Fellowship Programs tap the special strengths of leaders at various stages in their careers, including both seasoned professionals who bring expertise in specific areas and young people eager to get started in the social justice field.
Community Change is a proud recipient of funding from the venerable Taconic Foundation, which for decades has supported progressive visionaries, often before anyone else knew their names – leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., and Caesar Chavez, whose work continues to inspire and inform millions.
Other partners – Unbound Philanthropy, the Moriah Fund and Petra Foundation – are helping our Fellows to change how Americans think about race and immigration and to support Community Change’s signature movement-building training.
Together, we’re planting the seeds for a mighty future. For upcoming fellowship opportunities, please check the careers page.