The Leadership Conference Education Fund Welcomes New Board Chair, Members

Uncategorized 04.29.19

Contact: Shin Inouye, [email protected], 202.869.0398

WASHINGTON – The Leadership Conference Education Fund announced Carolyn Osolinik as new board chair, and the addition of James Rucker, co-founder of Citizen Engagement Lab; Stephanie Valencia, co-founder of EquisLabs; and Dr. Dorian Warren, president of Community Change and Community Change Action, to the board. The Education Fund also announced the departure of longtime board chair William “Bill” Robinson, former executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and longtime board member Dr. Mary Frances Berry, former chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

“The board helps set the direction and tone of the organization, and we are honored to have Carolyn take the helm, and to have James, Stephanie, and Dorian join,” said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Education Fund. “Each in their own right is an innovator, leader, and passionate fighter for civil and human rights. I am so grateful to draw from their energy and vision as we continue to confront the biggest challenges to justice and equality. We are also deeply appreciative to both Bill and Mary for their many years of service. They are both legendary leaders who have helped shape many civil rights victories, and we must ensure their work continues. Now, more than ever, the work of The Education Fund is needed to build support for those commonsense policies that lift all of us up.”


Carolyn Osolinik is a partner with Correia & Osolinik. Her practice focuses on advocacy before Congress and Executive Branch agencies. She represents clients in the health care and hospitality industries. She is also an advocate for persons with disabilities and, at the request of Edward M. Kennedy, Jr., led a bipartisan team representing the United States International Council on Disabilities in its effort to obtain ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In September 1992, Osolinik joined Mayer Brown LLP, where she was an equity partner in the Government Relations Group for 21 years, until her retirement in 2014.

Prior to joining Mayer Brown, Osolinik was chief counsel to Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee. She began working on the Senator’s staff in 1981. During her tenure, she coordinated and oversaw the work of Senator Kennedy’s Judiciary Committee staff and had primary responsibility for all major Judiciary Committee matters, including constitutional and civil rights issues, women’s rights issues, criminal law, and intellectual property. She assisted the Senator with many controversial judicial and Executive Branch nominations, including a number of Supreme Court and Attorney General nominees. She was the Senator’s principal advisor on all major civil rights legislation considered by the Senate from 1985 to 1992, including the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. Before joining the Kennedy Senate staff, Osolinik was a litigating attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice.

Osolinik has served on the Board of The Leadership Conference Education Fund for several years. Until her appointment as Chair of the Board, she was Secretary and Treasurer and chaired the Audit Committee. She continues to serve on the Governance and Audit Committees. During her tenure on the Board, Osolinik has been an active member of the fundraising team and has served on the Development Committee. In her work on the Board, she has worked closely with many of the leaders of the civil and human rights community to engage in strategic planning about the future of the civil and human rights movement and to promote creative and effective civil and human rights programs across the country. Throughout her career, Osolinik has undertaken pro bono representation for various non-profit groups dedicated to advancing civil and human rights, including the United States International Council on Disabilities, for which she received a Law Journal Champions Award. Osolinik graduated from George Washington University Law School in 1977.

James Rucker is co-founder of Springboard Partners, a home for launching social change efforts and aligned for-profit startups. Springboard identifies and fills movement gaps in the social-change landscape through the design and execution of comprehensive campaigns, in partnership with local and national organizations. Rucker is also co-founder of Color Of Change, an online community of over one million people dedicated to amplifying the political voice of Black America, created in the aftermath of the failed governmental response to Hurricane Katrina. Major campaigns include national effort to support the Jena 6, which included raising more than $275k online to support their legal defense, as well as a successful effort to strip FOX News’ Glenn Beck of more than 300 national advertisers, credited with bringing to an end Beck’s contract with FOX. He is also co-founder of Citizen Engagement Laboratory (CEL), a home for people and projects working to shift culture and transform society. Prior, Rucker served as Director of Grassroots Mobilization for Outside of his organizational roles Rucker has led different independent initiatives, including serving as strategist and coordinator of multiple organizations in the fight to protect Net Neutrality, and putting in motion the effort to take down the Confederate flag at the state capitol in South Carolina, led by Bree Newsome. Before working in politics and social change, Rucker worked in various roles in the software industry in the Silicon Valley. In addition to The Education Fund, Rucker serves on the boards of Color Of Change, Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund, and He has a BS in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University. 

Stephanie Valencia is a national leader at the nexus of politics, technology and leadership development. She is the co-founder of EquisLabs, an organization that invests in leaders and ideas that will create a more active, powerful Latinx electorate. She recently served as Political Director at InvestingIn.Us, a political venture capital fund focused on disruptive platforms and initiatives to enhance civic participation, and earlier ran Strategic Partnerships and Outreach at Google. Stephanie is among a small group of advisers who served President Barack Obama in senior roles through his presidential campaign and both terms in office. She served as an aide to the president at the White House Office of Public Engagement; as Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker; and as Deputy Latino Vote Director on the 2008 campaign. Prior to joining the campaign, Stephanie served in leadership roles for a number of lawmakers on Capitol Hill, including as Press Secretary to U.S. Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO), Press Secretary to Congressman John Larson (D-CT), Member Services for the House Democratic Caucus Chair, Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), and Press Secretary to Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-CA)].  Building a leadership bench is a core passion for Stephanie. In addition to mentoring many young Latinos and Latinas, she is a co-founder of The Latino Talent Initiative, The Latina Collective, and Latinos44, the alumni association representing the hundreds of Hispanic appointees from the Obama Administration. Stephanie also serves on the boards of Civic Nation, Center for Community Change Action, and The Latino Victory Project. She is co-author of West Wingers: Stories from the Dream Chasers, Change Makers, and Hope Creators Inside the Obama White House and is co-host of the podcast Finding 46, about the road to the White House in 2020.

Dr. Dorian T. Warren is President of Community Change and Community Change Action. He is also Co-Chair of the Economic Security Project. A progressive scholar, organizer and media personality, Warren has worked to advance racial, economic and social justice for more than two decades. He previously taught for more than 10 years at the University of Chicago and Columbia University, where he was Co-Director of the Columbia University Program on Labor Law and Policy. Warren also worked at MSNBC where he was a contributor, fill-in host for Melissa Harris Perry and Now with Alex Wagner, and host and executive producer of Nerding Out on MSNBC’s digital platform. In addition to The Education Fund, Warren serves on several boards, including Working Partnerships USA, the National Employment Law Project, Capital & Main and The Nation Magazine Editorial Board. As a commentator on public affairs, Dorian has appeared regularly on television and radio including NBC Nightly News, ABC, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, BET, BBC, NPR, Bloomberg, & NY1, among other outlets. He has also written for The Nation, Huffington Post, Newsweek, Salon, Washington Post, New York Times, Medium, Ebony, and Boston Review. Warren is co-author of The Hidden Rules of Race: Barriers to an Inclusive Economy (Cambridge University Press) and co-editor of Race and American Political Development (Routledge). In 2013, he was included on the list of NBC’s the Grio’s 100 People Making History Today. Warren received his B.A. from the University of Illinois and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University.

The Leadership Conference Education Fund builds public will for federal policies that promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. The Education Fund’s campaigns empower and mobilize advocates around the country to push for progressive change in the United States. It was founded in 1969 as the education and research arm of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. For more information on The Education Fund, visit