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Newsroom Press release

Open Society-U.S. Announces New Director of U.S. Advocacy

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Open Society Foundations are pleased to announce the appointment of Micaela Fernandez Allen as director of U.S. Advocacy in the Washington, D.C., office of Open Society-U.S., effective February 18.

Allen has a proven track record of effective advocacy on Capitol Hill, the West Wing, and in a variety of dynamic and challenging environments. She has served at the highest levels of government, including as Special Assistant to President Obama in the Office of Legislative Affairs. During her five years at the White House, she developed and executed the president’s legislative agenda and played a vital role in President Obama’s historic legislative accomplishments, including the Affordable Care Act and the administration’s response to the financial crisis. She previously served as advisor to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, where she helped shape the Speaker’s legislative agenda. She began her career in the office of U.S. Representative Juanita Millender-McDonald of California, and currently serves on advisory councils for both the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.

Allen joins Open Society from Walmart where she was director global public policy and led Walmart Policy Lab. She has created new stakeholder relationships for the company during a period in which the company launched major initiatives to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, raise the minimum wage for its workforce, and restrict sales of firearms and ammunition.

“We could not imagine a more important time to have someone of Micaela’s caliber join Open Society and our partners in the fight to advance a more just, inclusive, and democratic America,” said Tom Perriello, executive director of Open Society-U.S. “Her experience and credibility help us to meet this moment of both grave threats and historic opportunities to advance an open society in the United States. With this addition, we stand ready to elevate our advocacy for an America true to its highest aspirations.”

Allen takes on the role of U.S. advocacy director, alongside the recent addition of Sarah Margon as our director of foreign policy, at a time when Open Society has substantially increased its investments on nonpartisan political advocacy. Since 2016, the foundations have increased advocacy spending by nearly ninefold, often ranking as the only progressive or charitable donor among various corporate lobbying efforts among the top 10 spenders on political advocacy. At a time when hateful and repressive policies are on the rise alongside unprecedented corporate consolidation of wealth and power, Open Society is determined to support those fighting for the people to have a real voice, especially those communities under attack.

“This is a defining moment for what America stands for and what it means to be fully American,” said Allen. “I am delighted to join the foundations and their partners who stand boldly on the front lines of struggles for a more just, equitable, and democratic society.”

A graduate of Ohio University, where she received a bachelor of science degree in communication, Allen has served as a guest lecturer at Georgetown University, Miami University, and Central State University. She currently serves on the advisory council for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and recently served on the advisory council of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.

Open Society-U.S. supports efforts to advance equality, fairness, and justice, with a focus on the most marginalized communities and the most significant threats to open society in the United States. Open Society-U.S. combines grant making, advocacy, fellowships, and field office work to create a single entity dedicated to promoting full participation in the nation’s civic, political, and economic life—particularly for communities that are historically marginalized—and to ensure that the core institutions of civil society are effective, equitable, and accountable to the public.

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