Alexa Kasdan is the fourth Executive Director of Pratt Center for Community Development, and brings twenty years of experience leading participatory research and policy initiatives with particular attention to elevating the expertise of low-income communities of color. Her work has repeatedly intersected with the Pratt Center and she holds long-term relationships with many of our community partners.
Alexa began her career at Community Voices Heard, designing grassroots-driven research with communities building power to save public housing and win economic justice for low-income New Yorkers. She then spent a decade as the Director of Research and Policy at the Urban Justice Center’s Community Development Project (now TakeRoot Justice). She has collaborated closely with numerous campaigns for housing and climate justice, workers’ rights and equitable development leading to important victories and the publication of over 70 participatory action research reports.
She was a founding steering committee member and co-chair and led the research and evaluation of the Participatory Budgeting process in NYC from 2011 to 2017—allowing millions of New Yorkers to decide how public dollars are spent and significantly expanding the process.
Most recently, she was the Director of Policy and Research at Demos, a national organization working at the intersection of racial justice, economic justice and voting rights. In this leadership role, she oversaw the budget, program work and fundraising for the policy and research team and built a new project focusing on economic democracy to bolster and expand initiatives by communities of color to increase control of resources.
She holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Alexa was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. She has lived in Brooklyn—Ft. Greene, Clinton Hill and Prospect Heights for two decades—but will always be a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. She was a competitive gymnast in her youth and recently completed a yoga teacher training. In her spare time, she can be found standing on her head or taking her mini schnauzer Leo to Prospect Park.