threads DONATE

Letter from Board Chair, Chanda Smith Baker

Dear Public Allies Community,


On Friday, August 11th, at our final FY23 board meeting, I had the honor of being elected to serve as the next Chair of the Public Allies Board of Directors. I am humbled by and grateful for this opportunity to lead and to be in community with you all.


Growing up and living in the Minneapolis community I served for most of my life, I am more than familiar with how communities, neighborhoods, people, and women are often described without anybody ever knowing them. I know how potential and opportunities can be limited simply by how someone looks or how others see you. When I was given the opportunity to bring Public Allies to the Twin Cities in 2012, Public Allies’ premise that “everyone leads” resonated with me to the core. And it still does.


Leadership is often easy to talk about when it’s unchallenged. Leadership emerges at a new depth when things don’t go as expected, when we’re forced to actually demonstrate the depth of commitment to the principles we espouse. Every organization will face hardships. The ones that survive find new meaning, reaffirmed meaning, reimagined meaning through adversity. 


History is not meant to be forgotten, but rather, it is a place from which we build. It becomes an essential element of our foundation. From when it was founded in 1992, Public Allies has attracted the most brilliant minds in the nation, many of whom came from underestimated communities. I rejoined Public Allies at this time in our history because I’m choosing to double down on what this network is and can be.


At this time when hard-fought policies in favor of social justice are being reversed and under-resourced communities are being even further marginalized, our mission to create opportunities for individuals to lead in every space is more critical now than ever. I look forward to working with you all over this next chapter to create not only a powerful network for Public Allies and its alumni, but also to continue to strengthen the futures of the communities in which Public Allies has made a difference over the past thirty years.


No organization succeeds or fails alone. Neither do leaders. I look forward to working closely with my fellow board members, with Jenise and her team, and with you all to reimagine a powerful future for our beloved community.


Please click here to see the full list of newly-elected officers of the board.


In service,

Chanda Smith Baker

Chair of the Board of Directors, Public Allies

Public Allies