Nicole Lee Ndumele is the senior vice president for Rights and Justice at American Progress, where she leads the organization’s cross-cutting work to advance bold, large-scale policy solutions that meet the long-standing challenge of racial injustice and seize the current opportunity to build a better America where all people have an equal opportunity to thrive. Ndumele comes to American Progress with broad expertise in racial justice, criminal justice, anti-poverty, and pro-democracy work. She has extensive experience working within government, the advocacy community, and philanthropy to promote racial justice.
Prior to joining American Progress, Ndumele served as the inaugural director of litigation strategy at Arnold Ventures. There, she led the organization’s efforts to develop a philanthropic investment portfolio leveraging high-impact litigation to foster criminal justice policy reforms. Ndumele previously served in the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice as both a prosecutor and legislative policy counsel. She has also served as a state public defender and worked as a counsel at Protect Democracy, where she was responsible for identifying and combating emerging threats to American democracy. Earlier in her career, Ndumele was a Skadden fellow at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and a judicial clerk for the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama.
Ndumele earned her J.D. from Harvard University and holds a B.A. in American civilization and African American studies from Brown University.