President & CEO, Civic Enterprises
John Bridgeland is President & CEO of Civic Enterprises, a public policy firm in Washington, D.C. He is the also the Chair of the Franklin Project at The Aspen Institute, a new initiative to make the case for scaling a voluntary civilian national service counterpart to military service in the United States, and author of a forthcoming book, Heart of the Nation: Volunteering and America’s Civic Spirit. Bridgeland was recently appointed by President Obama to the White House Council for Community Solutions. Formerly, Bridgeland served as Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council in the first term of President George W. Bush, where he coordinated policy on more than 100 issues, and then as Assistant to the President of the United States and first Director of the USA Freedom Corps, where he coordinated policy on international, national, community and faith-based service in the aftermath of 9/11. Bridgeland co-led the Policy Transition for President Bush in 2000-2001.
Bridgeland was also the first CEO and is now Vice Chairman of Malaria No More and Senior Advisor to the United Nations Special Envoy for Malaria, which together are mobilizing the public and private sectors to end malaria deaths in Africa by 2015. His work on the high school dropout crisis helped bring national attention to the issue, with the TIME cover story "Dropout Nation" and two Oprah Winfrey shows prompted by his report, The Silent Epidemic. Bridgeland led the National Summit on America's Silent Epidemic with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Governors Association, TIME Magazine and MTV that prompted action at the federal, state and local levels around a 10-point plan of action to boost high school graduation rates and college and workforce readiness. Over the last three years, he has co-authored the report, Building a Grad Nation, showing progress across 29 states in boosting high school graduation rates and launching a "Civic Marshall Plan" to meet the national goal of a 90 percent high school graduation rate by the Class of 2020. The initial report was featured by President Obama in a broadcast from the Oval Office and on the PBS NewsHour, NBC and CBS and subsequent reports. He is the author or co-author of a dozen reports related to the dropout epidemic.
Bridgeland also was a co-convener of ServiceNation, a Presidential forum with Senators John McCain and Barack Obama on September 11, 2008, and a national summit that showcased a comprehensive plan to increase community, national and international service opportunities. The plan was included in the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which was signed into law within the first 100 days of the Obama Administration. For his work in promoting the national service agenda, Bridgeland was selected a NonProfit Times Executive of the Year.
Bridgeland also worked with the National Parks Conservation Association to help develop the Centennial Initiative and Challenge to strengthen our National Parks; helped the National Conference on Citizenship develop America's Civic Health Index and the Civic 100; co-leads Opportunity Nation to increase economic mobility and help restore access to the American Dream for low-income Americans; and co-authored a report, More to Give, with Robert Putnam and Harris Wofford, on the Greatest, Silent and Baby Boomer Generations for the 50th anniversary of the AARP. Bridgeland is an experienced public speaker and has appeared on the NewsHour, CNN's Anderson Cooper, Fox News, BBC, National Public Radio, among others.
Bridgeland also was a Teaching Fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he offered a class on Presidential Decision Making. Bridgeland began his professional career by practicing law in the New York and Paris, France offices of Davis Polk & Wardwell. He also served as Chief of Staff and Counsel to former U.S. Congressman Rob Portman, where he drafted or played a leading role in developing 9 bills that were signed into law. Bridgeland graduated with honors in government from Harvard University, studied at the College of Europe and Universite Libre de Bruxelles as a Rotary International Fellow, and received his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. He has honorary degrees from Saint Anselm College, Ripon College, Westwood College and Hamline University, where he delivered the commencement addresses. He currently serves on many non-profit boards, including City Year, Earth Conservation Corps, EARTH University in Costa Rica, Malaria No More, the New Hampshire Institute of Politics; and the National Conference on Citizenship. Bridgeland has an interest in American history, our earliest settlers and the Founding. He is a direct descendant of three passengers of the Mayflower, veterans of the American Revolution and Civil Wars, and is a member of the Sons of the American Revolution. He lives with his wife, Maureen, and their three children, Caily, Fallon and Regis in McLean, Virginia.