There has been a heightened awareness and a greater sense of urgency of the need to address the inequities laid bare by a cascade of crises in recent years. This has highlighted the work of leaders on the frontlines for social change. Leading Boldly, The USC Center on Philanthropy & Public Policy’s new series focuses on emerging leaders who are working on an array of issues and varying approaches to create a more equitable society.
Four remarkable leaders, whose life experiences give them inspiration and strength, share their personal stories, reflect on their leadership journeys, and offer lessons for philanthropy in conversation with Fred Ali, the retired President and CEO of the Weingart Foundation, and a former nonprofit leader. The interviews are inspired by the words of Booker T. Washington: “‘Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”
Desmond Meade overcame drug addiction, homelessness, and incarceration on a path to advocate for returning citizenship to the formerly incarcerated by removing/reducing barriers for fully participating in civic life. As President and Executive Director of the Florida Rights Restoration Commission, he led one of the most inspiring and successful grassroots campaigns in history – Amendment 4 – restoring voting rights to over 1.4 million “returning citizens” in Florida.