RELEASE: Alexandra Cawthorne Gaines Named Vice President of CAP’s Poverty to Prosperity Program

Washington, D.C. — Alexandra Cawthorne Gaines will head the Center for American Progress’ Poverty to Prosperity Program starting November 18, the organization announced today. In this role, Cawthorne Gaines will lead CAP’s research and advocacy work to cut poverty and expand opportunity in the United States.

Cawthorne Gaines comes to CAP from the National Governors Association (NGA), where she directed the Human Services Program within the Economic Opportunity Division, focusing on state policies and programs that promote the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals, and communities. From 2008 to 2011, Cawthorne Gaines served as research associate for CAP’s Anti-Poverty and Women’s Health and Rights programs.

“Alex has a distinguished career advocating for low-income families and children,” said Neera Tanden, President and CEO of CAP. “Over the past few years, as the Trump administration and many state governments have waged a continual war on low-income people, developing and advocating for policies that bolster the safety net and create ladders to opportunity has become more important than ever. Alex brings deep policy knowledge and much hard-won advocacy experience to the Poverty to Prosperity Program. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have her return to CAP.”

In addition to her work at CAP and the NGA, Cawthorne Gaines also served as a legislative assistant with the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs in the U.S. Senate. She has held positions in several nonprofits, including the Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights and the Poverty & Race Research Action Council, where she assisted in the development of advocacy strategies around education and affordable housing policy. Cawthorne Gaines began her career in Washington, D.C., as a Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellow with the Congressional Hunger Center.

She is a graduate of Vassar College and holds a master’s degree in legislative affairs from The George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management.

For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Julia Cusick at or 202-495-3682.