Shirley Sagawa is a visiting senior fellow at American Progress. A national expert on children and youth policy, Shirley Sagawa has been called a “founding mother of the modern service movement” for her work on national service. Her new book, The American Way to Change, highlights ways that volunteer and national service is an important but underutilized strategy to solve problems in American communities.

Sagawa served as a presidential appointee in both the first Bush and Clinton administrations. As deputy chief of staff to First Lady Hillary Clinton, she advised the first lady on domestic policy and organized three White House conferences, including the first-ever White House Conference on Philanthropy. As special assistant to the president for domestic policy, Sagawa was instrumental to the drafting and passage of legislation creating the Corporation for National Service. After being confirmed by the Senate as the corporation’s first managing director, she led the development of new service programs for adults and students, including AmeriCorps. She also directed strategic planning for this new government corporation.

Sagawa was the founding executive director of the Learning First Alliance, a partnership of national education associations. She has served as the chief counsel for youth policy for the Senate Labor Committee, where she was responsible for child care, early childhood, and national service policy. She was responsible for drafting the National and Community Service Act of 1990, as well as early childhood legislation. She has also served as senior counsel to the National Women’s Law Center as an expert on children and youth, education, and military family issues.

Sagawa’s previous book The Charismatic Organization: Eight Ways to Grow a Nonprofit that Builds Buzz, Delights Donors, and Energizes Employees (with co-author Deborah Jospin, Jossey-Bass) describes how successful nonprofits use social capital to broaden their reach and deepen their impact. An earlier work, Common Interest, Common Good: Creating Value through Business and Social Sector Partnerships (with co-author Eli Segal, Harvard Business School Press) describes how business and social sector organizations can collaborate for mutual gain.

Shirley Sagawa was named a “Woman to Watch in the 21st Century” by Newsweek magazine and one of the “Most Influential Working Mothers in America” by Working Mother magazine. She blogs regularly for The Huffington Post.

Shirley Sagawa is the co-founder of sagawa/jospin, a consulting firm that provides strategic counsel to nonprofits working in the fields of civic engagement, youth, philanthropy, education, and law. Her work includes developing, with New Profit, a leading venture philanthropy organization, a national policy agenda for social entrepreneurs. She currently serves on the boards of directors of the National Women’s Law Center, City Year, and Pyramid Atlantic.

Sagawa graduated magna cum laude from Smith College. She holds an M.Sc. in public policy from the London School of Economics and is a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, where she was notes editor of the Harvard Law Review.

By Shirley Sagawa
Utilizing National Service as a 21st Century Workforce Strategy for Opportunity YouthCenter for American ProgressMarch 1, 2016
Expand National Service to Keep Workers Engaged During Tough Economic TimesSpotlight on Poverty and OpportunityFebruary 23, 2016
Expanding National Service to Address Long-Term UnemploymentCenter for American ProgressJanuary 14, 2016
Service as a StrategyCenter for American ProgressFebruary 13, 2013
The Great Public-Service Talent SearchCenter for American ProgressFebruary 13, 2013
Boosting Youth EmploymentCenter for American ProgressJuly 7, 2011
Why Conservatives Should Love AmeriCorps, Not Kill ItThe Huffington PostFebruary 14, 2011
The American Way to ChangeCenter for American ProgressApril 22, 2010
How Quickly Can National Service Grow?Center for American ProgressFebruary 16, 2010
Why We Need to Help Unemployed YouthCenter for American ProgressFebruary 3, 2010
National Service and Youth UnemploymentCenter for American ProgressNovember 16, 2009
Celebrating AmeriCorps Week 2009Center for American ProgressMay 14, 2009
The Promise of ServiceCenter for American ProgressApril 21, 2009
A Chance to Make America BetterCenter for American ProgressMarch 23, 2009
Students Can Improve National ServiceCenter for American ProgressMarch 10, 2009
America: A Service NationCenter for American ProgressSeptember 12, 2008
Making the Most Out of ServiceCenter for American ProgressApril 25, 2008
A Small Business Administration for Non-ProfitsCenter for American ProgressApril 21, 2008
Leaders for Every SectorCenter for American ProgressMarch 5, 2008
AmeriCorps Study Shows ImprovementCenter for American ProgressFebruary 13, 2008
Serving America: A National Service Agenda for the Next DecadeCenter for American ProgressSeptember 18, 2007
Summer of Service: A New Rite of Passage for Young TeensCenter for American ProgressJune 20, 2007
A Half-Million Strong: AmeriCorps Volunteers Make a DifferenceCenter for American ProgressMay 15, 2007