Biden-Harris Administration appoints two new board members to national service agency

WASHINGTON, D.C. – AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and volunteerism, announced the confirmation Leslie Bluhm of Chicago and Lisette Nieves of New York to the board of directors. Bluhm and Nieves were confirmed by the US Senate on July 27. They join chair of the board Catherine McLaughlin of Delaware and previously confirmed board members, Alvin Warren of New Mexico, Fagan Harris of Maryland and Flor Romero of California.

The bipartisan Board of Directorssets policies and direction for AmeriCorps and oversees actions taken by the CEO concerning policies, programs and initiatives to carry out the mission of AmeriCorps. 

“I am proud to welcome Leslie and Lisette to the AmeriCorps Board of Directors,” said Michael D. Smith, AmeriCorps CEO. “Their unique experience with social entrepreneurship, volunteerism and nonprofit development will strengthen the board’s work to tackle some of our nation’s biggest challenges. Together with partners and stakeholders, the AmeriCorps board will continue our focus to alleviate poverty and advance racial equity,address public health needs, respond to disasters and build climate resiliency, and expand education and economic opportunity.” 

Leslie Bluhm is a social entrepreneur who empowers people to tackle challenges through collaborative action. She serves on the board of directors of Chicago Cares, The Chicago Community Trust, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, OneGoal, Whitney Museum of American Art, Shining Hope for Communities, and Rush Street Interactive, Inc.

Bluhm co-founded Chicago Cares, Inc. in 1991, the city’s leading volunteer service organization. Chicago Cares builds group volunteer programs that meet the community’s critical needs while using the volunteer experience to educate volunteers from diverse communities about each other, building trust, empathy, and connection.

Bluhm was named one of six Chicagoans of the year by Chicago Magazine in 2011 and was named in Crain’s 40 under 40 in 1995.

She earned a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.

Lisette Nieves is president of the Fund for the City of New York, charged with developing and helping to implement innovations in policy, programs, practices and technology to advance the functioning of government and nonprofit organizations in New York City and beyond. Nieves is also a distinguished clinical professor at the New York University. She oversees doctoral students and supports change and innovation research initiatives in the doctoral program Leadership and Innovation, which she co-founded. 

Nieves is an experienced social entrepreneur and public sector leader through her prior work with Lingo Ventures, a company she co-founded focused on growth, talent recruitment and retention, and change management. Nieves also served as the Belle Zeller distinguished visiting professor in public policy at the City University of New York at the Brooklyn College. Nieves was the founding executive director of Year Up NY, an innovative workforce development program. She began her career serving full-time in New York as a City Volunteer Corps member before she attended the Brooklyn College. She was a proud team member of the AmeriCorps launch under the Clinton Administration.

Nieves earned a B.A. from Brooklyn College, a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Oxford, an M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, and a doctorate with distinction in higher education management at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a Truman Scholar, Rhodes Scholar, Aspen Pahara Fellow, and a 2020 Richard P. Nathan Public Policy Fellow.

Additional Board Members

Catherine McLaughlin, Chair, Board of Directors, AmeriCorps

Catherin McLaughlin serves as the founding executive director of the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware. The institute, established in 2017, brings students together with accomplished, respected practitioners from a broad diversity of backgrounds and a wide range of policy fields to equip aspiring public servants to elevate civil discourse and take on pressing policy challenges facing our nation.

Before joining the Biden Institute, McLaughlin served as the executive director of Harvard University’s Institute of Politics for 22 years where she oversaw all programming including the JFK Jr Forum, the resident and visiting fellows program and national conferences for new-elected mayors and members of Congress. McLaughlin has created a national consortium of similar institutions that bring together students from across the country annually to identify ways to engage college and university students in the political process. She also co-founded the institute’s Biannual Youth Survey on Politics and Public Service. She previously served as tour manager for the Boston-based band New Kids on the Block and as director of the Office of Alumni Affairs and coordinator in the Press and Public Liaison Offices at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

McLaughlin earned her B.A. from Saint Anselm College, where she currently serves as a member of the board of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. 

Alvin Warren, Member, Board of Directors, AmeriCorps 

Alvin Warren is a member of Santa Clara Pueblo where he lives with his wife Pamela, an Isleta Pueblo tribal member, and their children. He’s vice president of career pathways and advocacy for the LANL Foundation in Espanola, N.M. In this role, he’s responsible for expanding students’ access to academic and technical opportunities by supporting the growth of college and career readiness in districts, schools, communities and Native American Pueblos, Tribes and Nations. He leads the foundation’s work with secondary schools, universities, colleges, industry leaders and government representatives to develop and support a seamless educational continuum of well-articulated steps, cradle to career, coupled with strong support and connections to employment opportunities. Warren is a former cabinet secretary of Indian Affairs for the State of New Mexico, lieutenant governor of Santa Clara, program officer for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, national Tribal Lands Program Director for The Trust for Public Lands and land claims and water rights coordinator for Santa Clara. 

During his career Warren has helped tribes across the United States regain and protect traditional lands; ensured that over $120 million in state dollars flowed to tribes to build essential infrastructure; enacted state legislation establishing a framework for collaborative state-tribal governmental relations; developed and sustained tribal immersion and dual-language schools and positively transform public narratives about indigenous peoples. Warren is the president of the Kha’p’o Community School Board; co-chair of the New Mexico Broadband Collective, an advisory committee member for the Native American Relief Fund; and on the board of directors for the International Funders for Indigenous Peoples. He’s a longtime farmer who’s actively involved in the cultural life of his tribal community. Warren earned a B.A. in history from Dartmouth College and a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Flor Romero, Member, Board of Directors, AmeriCorps

Flor Romero is a social worker who has dedicated her career to historically marginalized communities in the Los Angeles area and is the daughter of first-generation Salvadoran immigrants. 

Romero serves as the associate director of career pathway connections at the LA Promise Fund. She leads programs dedicated to student success by strengthening career pathways across SLATE-Z, a federally designated Promise Zone with the mission to revitalize South Los Angeles. Through this initiative, she oversees programming including student internships, dual enrollment with a local community college, career development workshops, and more. Romero is passionate about working with youth and is proud to uplift underserved communities. 

Romero also spearheaded a successful reading program across the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest school district in the nation, working closely with schools in Los Angeles County and increasing literacy rates for over 2,000 students. Romero has also worked in marketing to guide clients on authentic and inclusive storytelling for their marketing strategies.

Romero earned a B.A. in psychology from the University of California Los Angeles and a Master of Social Work with a focus in social change and innovation from the University of Southern California.

Fagan Harris, Member, Board of Directors, AmeriCorps

Fagan Harris is a social entrepreneur, writer, and researcher who has dedicated his career to advancing impact career opportunities for underestimated communities. As the co-founder and CEO of Baltimore Corps, Harris has led his team to re-imagine recruiting, hiring and career advancement for underserved communities. Since its inception, Baltimore Corps has engaged thousands in public service and social entrepreneurship. In 2021, Baltimore Corps launched, which will deploy the organization's model in cities across the United States.

Harris currently serves as the assistant American secretary for the Rhodes Trust, where he helps oversee the scholarship's annual recruitment and selection process. He is a trustee at the Johns Hopkins Hospital at Bayview and the Enoch Pratt Free Library. He serves as the national board president of Lead for America. Harris is also a board member at several Baltimore-based social enterprises including B-360, Infinite Focus and H.O.P.E (Helping Oppressed People Excel). Harris chairs an impact consultancy that guides leading institutions to integrate Environmental, Social, and Governance into their core practices and operations. He started his career at College Track where he helped build its College Success strategy and program. In 2011, Harris staffed the White House Council for Community Solutions in the Obama Administration.

Harris is a proud graduate of Maryland Public Schools. He is an honors graduate of Stanford University where he was the recipient of its top undergraduate honor. He has a master's in philosophy from the University of Oxford where he was a Rhodes scholar.