Gary L. Cunningham, from 2019 to 2023, was president and CEO of Prosperity Now, a DC-based national nonprofit focused on creating an economy that works for everyone. Under his leadership, the organization has shifted its strategic focus from simply mitigating the effects of a broken racist system to transforming that system by testing, investing, and scaling systems-level solutions. Gary’s experience has earned him national recognition as an expert on entrepreneurship, job creation, and racial wealth equity. Cunningham grew up in both North and South Minneapolis to a single mother. He was 10 years old during the protests and riots of 1967, which were spurred by long-standing grievances in the Black community over lack of access to adequate housing, education, and healthcare. Before moving to Washington, DC, to lead Prosperity Now, Cunningham served as the top leader of philanthropic, healthcare, public policy, and educational organizations. He held the roles of president and CEO of the Metropolitan Economic Development Association, vice president of programs at the Northwest Area Foundation, and CEO and director of primary care at NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center, a community health and dental clinic and social services agency in North Minneapolis. Cunningham has also served as assistant superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools and the deputy director of the Civil Rights Department for the City of Minneapolis. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in public policy from Metropolitan State University, located in the Minneapolis–St. Paul metro area, and a master of public administration degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
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