Alan Khazei

Alan Khazei is a leading nonprofit entrepreneur and lifelong public servant. He is the co- founder of City Year, and the founder of Be the Change, Inc., two innovative nonprofits that have touched the lives of millions by inspiring Americans from all walks of life to unite in service and work to bring the American Dream within reach of every citizen. In 2006, US News and World Report named Alan one of America's 25 Best Leaders and the Boston Globe Magazine identified him as one of 11 Bostonians Changing the World.
Alan was raised with strong values and is a tough minded idealist. He has dedicated his life to the idea that nothing is more powerful than citizens from all backgrounds working side by side to strengthen their communities and guide our democracy toward a better future. His Italian-American mother, a trained nurse anesthetist, grew up in Kittanning, Pennsylvania. Alan’s father, a surgeon, was born in Iran, studied medicine in Switzerland, and immigrated to America in the 1950s to practice medicine and conduct cancer research. Alan was born in Pittsburgh in 1961 and spent his early years in the Boston area, before moving with his family, which includes a brother and two sisters, to Bedford, NH.
In 1988, after graduating from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Alan co-founded City Year in Boston as a model domestic Peace Corps to engage young Americans of all backgrounds in a year of service in exchange for a stipend and an award to help them further their educations. Through his leadership and that of his colleagues, City Year grew from 50 corps members with a budget of $200,000 to more than 1000 corps members in 16 cities across America and in Johannesburg, South Africa, serving more than 75,000 children and a budget of 46 million dollars. Over the past two decades, City Year has inspired more than 12,500 young Americans to give a year of their lives to their communities, and they have contributed more than 20 million hours of service, and tutored and mentored more than a million children. After visiting City Year in 1991, President Bill Clinton was inspired to use it as a model for AmeriCorps, established in 1993, which has engaged 575,000 Americans who have contributed more than 700 million hours of service.
In June of 2003, when the Americorps program experienced a dramatic funding cut of 80 percent overnight due to mismanagement in Washington and partisan politics, Alan gathered with other service leaders to organize the Save Americorps coalition. This effort included an extensive grassroots and grasstops campaign which culminated in a 100 hour round the clock "citizens hearing" on Capitol in which more than 700 service leaders, Americorps supporters, community leaders, Americorps alumni, business leaders and governmental leaders testified. This effort led to half of the Americorps funding being restored in 2003 and to all of the funding plus a 100 million dollar increase appropriated for 2004 -- enough to grow Americorps from 50,000 participants annually to 75,000.
In 2007, Alan launched Be The Change, Inc., which is dedicated to building national movements of citizens and leaders to push for bold solutions to some of our nation’s most stubborn social problems, from failing schools to chronic poverty. Be the Change’s first major campaign, ServiceNation, organized a coalition of more than 200 non-profits, with a reach of some 100 million Americans, to promote voluntary service as a front-line strategy for improving education, mentoring youth, preserving the environment, supporting and engaging Veterans in civilian service, and fighting poverty. The Service Nation Summit, held on September 11 and 12th, 2008, united both Presidential candidates, then Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain, who expressed their strong support for citizen service and the Serve America Act. As CEO of Be the Change, Inc., Alan worked closely with Senators Kennedy and Hatch and their staffs to craft and help enact the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act (signed into law by President Obama last April). This landmark legislation calls for the largest expansion of national service since FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps: an increase of AmeriCorps and other national service opportunities to 250,000 by 2017, a new social innovation fund and the creation of numerous programs and incentives to inspire Americans to volunteer together in community and faith-based service.
In 1991, Alan was appointed by President George H. W. Bush to the Commission on National and Community Service. He was confirmed by the Senate and served as a Vice- Chair of the Commission until 1993. Through his leadership in the service and non-profit entrepreneurship movements, he has worked with every Presidential administration since 1989: Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43 and President Obama.
Alan has travelled to more than 30 countries around the world visiting with non-profit and business leaders, young people, policy makers, and change agents. At the invitation of Nelson Mandela and President Clinton, he helped to bring City Year to South Africa.
Alan has served on the Boards of City Year, Citizen Schools, the Harvard Alumni Association, the Mass Service Alliance, New Profit, Inc., Serve Next, Share Our Strength, and Teach For America. He has also served on the Advisory Boards of The Ad Council, America’s Promise, the Leadership Council of Boston Medical Center, the Center for Public Leadership at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and the Partnership for Public Service. Alan has received honorary doctorates from Northeastern University, Suffolk University and Mount Ida College, and is a recipient of numerous awards including the Reebok Human Rights Award, the Jefferson Award for Public Service, The Caring Institute Award, The Boston Bar Association Award, the Harvard Law School Association Outstanding Alumni Award and the Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur Award. Alan lives in Brookline, MA with his wife, Vanessa Kirsch, daughter, and son.

Alan Khazei