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Alvin Starks

Senior Program Officer, Equality Fund, Open Society Foundations


Alvin Starks is an innovative thinker and strategist and serves as senior program officer at the Open Society Foundations managing grantmaking related activities in racial justice advocacy, narrative change, arts and culture and individual fellowships. His program coordinates strategies and opportunities within the United States and throughout the OSF global network addressing issues of racial justice and ethnic discrimination issues.
Alvin brings an extensive experience in social justice philanthropy weaving together complex issues of civil rights, gender justice, and the arts. For more than a decade, his work has supported approaches that address issues of structural racism, civic engagement and narrative change. His work has focused within the United States and abroad, using multiple tools, including social science research, civil and human rights advocacy, next generation leadership, intersectionality, and cross movement-building.
Alvin began his philanthropic career at the Echoing Green Foundation supporting to individuals starting new human rights projects across the globe. He joined OSF in 2000, directing the New York City Community Fellowships and Initiatives programs, which focused on organizing, legal reform, arts and culture, and policy. He established USP’s first racial justice initiative that addressed issues of structural inequities, discrimination and fostering civil rights advocacy. Following his first tenure at OSF, Alvin developed the Racial Justice and Gender Identity program at the Arcus Foundation and served as program officer for racial equity at the WK Kellogg Foundation. Most recently he was director of strategic initiatives at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, which received a National Medal from the White House during his tenure. He sits on several non-profit boards and has received numerous awards and fellowships for his leadership in philanthropy and racial justice.

Regional Focus

North America, South America, Caribbean