“My grandfather, Van S. Bird, was a minister, scholar, and activist. He once said something that’s always stuck with me: ‘We must offer a world view, a sacred canopy of meaning, which provides hope for the hopeless, love for the unloved, and the possibility of justice in an unjust world.’”
Kisha Bird is CLASP’s director of youth policy. In this role, she leads a team of experts focused on economic justice, criminal justice reform, and mental health policy. The team’s core work areas include racial equity, adult and postsecondary education, workforce development, and reentry and reintegration pathways. The team drives the organization’s policy agenda on boys and young men of color and girls and young women of color while also focusing on young adult mental health and two-generation policies and strategies to support young, low-income parents of color. Ms. Bird has expertise in youth development, workforce development policy, reentry and career pathways with an explicit focus on equity, opportunity youth, and individuals impacted by the criminal justice system. In her work, she provides technical assistance to states and local communities on effective implementation of federal policy.Before joining CLASP, Ms. Bird was director of the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network where she led a statewide coalition of policymakers, advocates, and practitioners to advance cross-agency afterschool, workforce, and education policies and investments. She was also a program officer at the Philadelphia Foundation, where she helped develop and manage the Fund for Children, Youth Advisory Board, and the foundation’s discretionary grants process. Ms. Bird gained direct service experience by working in various community settings with children, youth, and families. She holds a master of social service and master of law and social policy from Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. Additionally, she earned a bachelor’s in sociology from Spelman College. She is Vice-Chair of the board of the National Youth Employment Coalition, a National Advisory Committee member of Forward Promise, and member of the social justice ministry at Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, DC.