Douglas Nelson is the retired president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF). He is a leading advocate for children and a widely recognized expert on policies and community-based responses to improve the lives of at-risk children and their families. He is also regarded as one of America’s leading thinkers on the strategic role of philanthropy in advancing racial justice and positive social change. He assumed the presidency of the Casey Foundation in 1990 and, for more than 20 years, led AECF through one of the most remarkable and innovative transformations of a philanthropic organization.
Prior to joining AECF, Nelson was deputy director of the Center for the Study of Social Policy, a Washington, D.C.,-based nonprofit organization specializing in policy research and analysis across a range of domestic issues. Before that, he served as assistant secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health and Social Services. He also studied and taught social history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Nelson currently serves as program chair for Health, Peace and Human Rights on the board of trustees of the Carter Center; vice chair of the Heart Mountain Foundation; and senior advisor to the Race to Equity Project. Nelson is a director of Case Commons, Inc. (New York City) and Forward Community Investments (Madison, WI).