Washington, D.C. — Rebecca Vallas will lead the Center for American Progress’ Poverty to Prosperity Program, the organization announced today. Since joining CAP in 2014, Vallas has held various leadership roles with the Poverty to Prosperity Program, including serving as policy director and currently as the team’s vice president. Vallas began her career as a legal aid attorney working directly with low-income individuals and communities as a Skadden Fellow at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia.
Neera Tanden, president and CEO of CAP, issued the following statement:
We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Rebecca’s continued leadership for our Poverty to Prosperity Program. Rebecca has played an instrumental role in helping to grow the program over the past four years and is a fierce advocate and skilled communicator with a deep understanding of poverty alleviation policy. She has expanded the team in new and important directions, and we look forward to her vision in the coming years. Additionally, her background as a legal aid attorney means that she never loses sight of the important role that policy battles in Washington and state capitols play in the day-to-day lives of low-income people.
Vallas’ work during her time at CAP has led to a range of important offensive as well as defensive wins with tangible impacts for low-income communities. She led CAP’s successful work to protect the Social Security Disability Insurance program from damaging cuts in the lead-up to needed rebalancing of the Social Security trust funds in 2015. She developed the groundbreaking clean slate policy model for automated clearing of criminal records, which became law in Pennsylvania last year and has since grown into a bipartisan national campaign in the states. And she has spearheaded CAP’s Hands Off campaign, bringing together dozens of leading progressive organizations to successfully stop cuts to programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which have faced unprecedented threats in the Trump era.
Vallas was also instrumental in launching CAP’s Disability Justice Initiative and Criminal Justice program.
Vallas has authored a wide array of papers and briefs on poverty, income security, Social Security, disability, and criminal justice policy and frequently testifies before Congress. She is also a sought-after media commentator on poverty, disability, and criminal justice issues, appearing in The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal and on MSNBC, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX News, PBS, NPR, and many other local and national media outlets. Vallas also hosts “Off-Kilter,” a nationally distributed weekly radio show and podcast about poverty and inequality.
She is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, where she was elected Order of the Coif, and Emory University, where she graduated summa cum laude and was elected Phi Beta Kappa. She was twice named one of Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30” for Law and Policy, in 2011 and 2014, and one of Emory’s “40 Under 40” in 2017. Vallas replaces Poverty to Prosperity Program founder Melissa Boteach, who is leaving the Center after nine years.