Co-Founder of City Year, Founder of Be the Change, Inc.
Alan Khazei has pioneered ways to empower citizens to make a difference. In 1987, as a young graduate from Harvard Law School, he co-founded a nonprofit organization called City Year with his friend, Michael Brown. City Year unites young adults ages 17-24 from all backgrounds for an intensive year of full-time community service mentoring, tutoring, and educating children. It served as the model and inspiration for President Clinton’s AmeriCorps program and now operates in 20 U.S. cities and Johannesburg and London.
In June 2003, when AmeriCorps faced a drastic funding cut, Alan joined with other service leaders to organize the “Save AmeriCorps” coalition, an effort that led to an increase of $100 million dollars. Inspired by the success of the Save AmeriCorps campaign, in 2007, Alan launched Be the Change, Inc., a nonprofit that creates national issue based campaigns by organizing coalitions of non-profits, social entrepreneurs, policymakers, private sector leaders, academics, and citizens. In 2009, ServiceNation, the first campaign to be launched from this platform, played a key role in the enactment of the strongly bi-partisan Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act.
In the fall of 2009, Alan Khazei was a candidate in the Senate special election primary in Massachusetts. He was endorsed by the state’s leading newspaper—the Boston Globe, as well as the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, CapeCod Times, and the BlueMassGroup. He also received endorsements from public leaders such as General Wesley Clark, Mayor Bloomberg, and Senators Hart, Nunn, and Wofford. Jonathan Alter in a Newsweek column entitled “Khazei: Teddy’s Rightful Heir”, described Khazei as being the only candidate “carrying forward his reform ideas on the most important domestic issue of the 21st century.”
Alan has served on the boards of leading national non-profits and has received numerous awards, including the Reebok Human Rights Award, the Jefferson Award for Public Service, and the Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur Award. In 2006, US News and World Report named him one of America's “25 Best Leaders.” Alan is also the author of a new book, Big Citizenship: How pragmatic idealism can bring out the best in America, which will come out at the end of August. Alan lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with his wife, Vanessa Kirsch, and their two children.
Articles by Alan Khazei
Back to our staff page