Co-Founder, City Year, Inc.
Founder and CEO
Be the Change, Inc.
Alan is a social entrepreneur who has pioneered ways to empower citizens to make a difference. As Founder of The Action Tank, he brings more than 25 years of experience in coalition building and the creation of collective impact to address our nation’s most pressing challenges.
Alan is the Co-Founder of City Year, a national youth service corps that inspired the development of AmeriCorps, America’s federal investment in national youth service. Founded in 1988 with 50 young people in service in Boston, City Year is now a global organization operating in 24 cities in America and in Johannesburg and London. City Year annually enlists more than 2,500 young adults from all backgrounds for a demanding year of full-time community service, civic engagement and leadership development.
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 a federal budget increase of $100 million dollars. In 2007 Alan launched Be the Change, Inc., a nonprofit that creates national issue based campaigns by mobilizing bi-partisan 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. Be the Change is also the driving force behind Opportunity Nation, an effort to improve social mobility and fight poverty in America.
In the fall of 2009, Alan was a candidate in the Senate special election primary in Massachusetts. He was endorsed by the Boston Globe, the state’s leading newspaper, and also received endorsements from public leaders such as General Wesley Clark, Mayor Bloomberg, and Senators Hart, Nunn, and Wofford.
Alan was appointed to the Commission on National and Community Service by President George H.W. Bush and served as a Vice-Chair from 1990-1992. He is a recipient of several honorary degrees, in addition to the Reebok Human Rights Award, the Jefferson Award for Public Service, The Caring Institute Award, the Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur Award, and the Harvard Law School Association Outstanding Alumni Award. In 2006 he was selected by US News and World Report as one of America's 25 Best Leaders and was chosen by the Boston Globe Magazine as one of 11 Bostonians Changing the World. Alan is also the author of Big Citizenship: How Pragmatic Idealism Can Bring Out The Best In America. Alan is an honors graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and currently lives in Brookline, MA with his wife, daughter, and son.