SCG is thrilled to welcome David J. Carroll to our team as the new Vice President of Public Policy & Government Relations. In this role, David will provide strategic leadership in developing, enhancing, and implementing SCG’s policy advocacy and legislative agendas and leading the public policy and government affairs portfolio of Philanthropy California.
Below, David has reflected on his personal and professional journey leading up to SCG and his long-term aspirations for the nonprofit sector.
In the community where I grew up in St. Louis, a child was more likely to end up in jail than graduate from college. This reality was especially true for a child coming from the foster care system and living in a single-parent household— a child like me. I often reflect on the forces that guided and protected me as a youth; sports, academic opportunities, entrepreneurship, mentoring through Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, and specialized education as a student in an all-Black college preparatory high school. With the support of my community and my incredible mother, I graduated from Harris-Stowe State University, a Historically Black College or University (HBCU), with a degree in business administration and accounting.
After college, I joined the corporate sector as an account manager for major consulting firms, including a division of Ernst & Young. I participated in worldwide projects in these roles, including the Year 2000 remediation and the early stages of the “dot com” boom. I enjoyed a successful corporate career for ten years but ultimately could not help but feel unfulfilled in my daily routine. I began to seek out opportunities to engage with youth outside of work. I started volunteering with the Special Olympics, coached youth in multiple sports, and became a mentor through the same Fraternity that supported me as a young person.
I started to realize that my true calling was to serve others. I wanted to provide youth with the same support and opportunities I had benefited from during my upbringing. As life would have it, just as I began contemplating a new career and purpose, I was victim to an armed robbery and carjacking committed by two teenage boys. Instead of allowing this unfortunate and violent event to crush my resolve, I fortified my commitment to helping others. I knew I had to be a part of the solution facing my community or recognize that I was merely a part of the problem.
I decided to change careers and joined the nonprofit sector as a manager for a community-based organization. I also returned to school and earned a Master of Arts in Nonprofit Management, which allowed me to deeply understand our sector’s challenges and opportunities. I quickly recognized that the communities we were serving were vastly underfunded and could only achieve minimal improvements with the resources available. To realize meaningful change, I knew we had to change policies and systems. I shifted course and entered the public policy realm by building relationships with elected leaders. I began advocating for additional targeted resources, new policies supporting equitable resource allocation, and legislation that could provide long-term, sustainable impact in historically marginalized communities. The force of my advocacy reached my home state and captured the Mott Foundation’s attention, where I eventually became a member of a National Public Policy and Advocacy cohort.
I’ve learned that programs are a vital and immediate solution for our communities most impacted by structural inequality. However, I envision a time where these programs are no longer needed because policy and legislation have removed the systemic barriers that push vulnerable populations to society’s margins. Change takes time, but I am ready to join the collective forces fighting for a more equitable and inclusive future.
I am excited to help strengthen the SCG network’s voice and influence in public policy for a more equitable and vibrant California. I look forward to meeting and collaborating with all of our members passionate about policy and systems change work. I hope you always feel free to reach out to me directly if you’d like to connect.
Yours in service,
David J. Carroll
Vice President, Public Policy & Government Relations