After an extensive search, Access Strategies Fund recently announced it had hired Kelly Bates, Esq., as its new executive director.
Bates, an attorney and well-known Boston-based management and political consultant, joins the Fund after several years as head of a national consulting practice, and after serving in various executive positions with the Women’s State-Wide Legislative Network, the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, and the Healthworks Foundation.
Founded in 1999, Access Strategies Fund is a philanthropic foundation dedicated to using the democratic process to improve the lives of disenfranchised communities in Massachusetts. To date, it has provided community-based organizations with more than $2 million in grants to promote non-partisan voter mobilization, electoral reform and civic participation among people of color, immigrants and low-income residents.
“Kelly Bates clearly has the passion, leadership and demonstrated success that we were looking for,” said Board Chairperson Maria Jobin-Leeds. ”Her background in law, politics, philanthropy and organizational development is what we need to grow our organization’s work.”
“Kelly’s 20 years of experience in social and political advocacy and nonprofit management provides Access Strategies Fund with an extraordinary opportunity to advance our foundation’s mission,” Jobin-Leeds wrote in a letter announcing Bates’ hiring.
Offering her vision for the future, Bates said: “As a foundation, Access Strategies Fund will double its efforts, double its dollars and multiply its impact by funding grassroots organizations that inspire people to speak, vote and improve their communities. We can overcome the hopelessness that makes so many powerless people sit on the sidelines during elections. We need these voices in our democracy.”
Bates was the chief lobbyist and organizer of a powerful lobby of women’s organizations that passed landmark anti-sexual harassment legislation in Massachusetts. She was also lead consultant for the Civic Engagement Initiative, a funding collaborative that made history in Boston and Chelsea by increasing voter participation rates in almost every election in the last six years.
A graduate of the Boston University School of Law and the State University of New York at Albany, Bates is a member of the bar in Massachusetts. She and her husband Paul, an attorney specializing in labor law, have one son, and live in Roslindale.