John Bridgeland headshot

John Bridgeland

Co-Founder and CEO

John Bridgeland is the Founder and CEO of Civic, a social enterprise firm in Washington, D.C. He is also Vice-Chairman of the Service Year Alliance, an initiative to create a civilian national service counterpart to military service in the United States; Vice-Chairman of Malaria No More; Co-Convenor of the Grad Nation campaign; Co-Chair of the Future of Work Initiative; and Co-Founder of the High Seas Initiative to bring the national park idea to the ocean. He is also the author of the book, Heart of the Nation: Volunteering and America's Civic Spirit, with a foreword by General Stanley McChrystal.

President Obama appointed Bridgeland to the White House Council for Community Solutions. Bridgeland previously served as Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council in the first term of President George W. Bush, and Assistant to the President and first Director of the USA Freedom Corps, where he coordinated policy on international, national, community, and faith-based service in the aftermath of 9/11.

His work on the high school dropout crisis helped bring national attention to the issue, with the TIME cover story "Dropout Nation," two Oprah Winfrey shows and a David Broder column prompted by his report, The Silent Epidemic. Over the last 10 years, he has been a co-convener of the GradNation campaign and co-authored the annual report, Building a Grad Nation, which launched and implements a "Civic Marshall Plan" to meet the national goal of a 90 percent high school graduation rate by the Class of 2020. High school graduation rates have risen from 71 percent in 2001 to over 85 percent by 2018, with nearly 4 million more students graduating rather than dropping out.

Bridgeland also was a co-convener of ServiceNation, a Presidential forum with Senators John McCain and Barack Obama on September 11, 2008, and a national summit that showcased a comprehensive plan to increase community, national, and international service opportunities. The plan generated a TIME cover story and was included in the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act led by Senator Orrin Hatch, which was signed into law within the first 100 days of the Obama Administration. For his work in promoting the national service agenda, Bridgeland was named NonProfit Times Executive of the Year. Bridgeland gave a TED talk on universal national service at TEDx Pennsylvania Avenue. In 2015, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association awarded Bridgeland its highest honor for “outstanding career achievements and contributions to society," presented to Bridgeland by Wimbledon Champion Stan Smith.

Bridgeland is an experienced public speaker and has appeared on the PBS NewsHour, CNN's Anderson Cooper, Fox News, Cavuto Fox Business, BBC, National Public Radio, and American Public Media's Market Place.

Bridgeland began his professional career by practicing law in the New York and Paris, France offices of Davis Polk & Wardwell. He also served as Chief of Staff and Counsel to a former U.S. Congressman, where he drafted or played a leading role in developing 9 bills that were signed into law.

Bridgeland graduated with honors in government from Harvard University, where he wrote his senior honors thesis under James Q. Wilson and played on the Harvard Varsity Tennis Team; studied at the College of Europe and Université Libre de Bruxelles as a Rotary International Fellow; and received his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. Bridgeland has received honorary degrees from and delivered the commencement address for more than half a dozen colleges.

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