Olivia Golden, who has run the poverty-fighting Center for Law and Social Policy since 2013, is stepping down early next year.
The 52-year-old organization, based in Washington, D.C., praised Golden’s leadership in advocating for strategies and public policies that seek to improve the lives of low-income people, especially people of color. She also was credited with guiding the center through the “devastating threats” of the pandemic and the Trump years without losing sight of long-term goals.
The center’s news release said Golden and her team continued to work effectively on an array of policy issues, including income-support, child care, youth, jobs and postsecondary policies. At the same time, she helped expand its network of partners and broadened out into health and mental health, criminal justice and immigrant family issues.
CLASP nearly doubled its annual budget and staffing and diversified its funding sources during her tenure as executive director.
She said in the statement that she was honored to have led the organization through some major challenges, but that this is a good time to step down because of its strength and her confidence in the staff and board.
“We have advanced a powerful policy agenda that may come to fruition this year after decades in the making and created deep partnerships across the racial and economic justice landscape with national and state advocates, people with lived experience, and on-the-ground leaders,” she said.
Before coming to the Center for Law and Social Policy, Golden served as commissioner for Children, Youth, and Families and then as assistant secretary for children and families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She helped expand and improve Head Start and create Early Head Start. She was also influential in overhauling the welfare system, tripling funding for child care, and doubling adoptions from foster care. She earned a doctorate in public policy from Harvard.