Expertise: Poverty, child welfare, family economic security

Alexandra Cawthorne Gaines is the vice president of the Poverty to Prosperity Program at American Progress. Prior to her time at American Progress, Gaines directed the human services program within the Economic Opportunity Division at the National Governors Association (NGA). In this capacity, she provided leadership and strategic direction to the NGA’s human services program, which focuses on state policies and programs that promote the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals, and communities. Prior to her time at the NGA, she served as research associate for the Anti-Poverty and Women’s Health and Rights programs at American Progress.

Gaines has a career distinguished by service to organizations that advocate on behalf of children and families with low incomes. She has served in advisory roles to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, the Corporation for Supportive Housing, Results for America, and the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute. She currently serves on the board of directors of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities.

Before her focus on state policy, Gaines advocated for federal solutions to the issues that create barriers to economic success. She also served as a legislative assistant with the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs in the U.S. Senate. She has held positions in several nonprofits, including the Citizens Commission on Civil Rights and the Poverty and Race Research Action Council, where she assisted in the development of advocacy strategies around education and affordable housing policy. She began her career in Washington, D.C., as a Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellow with the Congressional Hunger Center.

Gaines earned her bachelor’s degree at Vassar College and a master’s degree in legislative affairs from The George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management.

By Alexandra Cawthorne Gaines
Helping the Jobless Helps Us AllCenter for American Progress ActionNovember 14, 2008