Kirsten Lodal

CEO and Co-Founder

Fifteen years ago, as a student at Yale University, Kirsten Lodal was struck by the absence of services for the parents of children in a Head Start program where she volunteered. She envisioned a single hub within a neighborhood where whole families could receive the support they needed to move themselves ahead. Today, that vision is realized as LIFT, a national nonprofit working to LIFT people out of poverty for good (

Each year LIFT helps thousands of people in its centers in Boston, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. build the strong personal, social, and financial foundations they need to get ahead.  LIFT model has evolved into one that not only provides access to financial resources, but also allows families to tap into a network of support and gain the confidence they need to get on-and stay on-solid ground. Since its inception, LIFT has served 100,000 families across the nation.

Kirsten is committed to changing the conversation about poverty and opportunity in the United States from one about arbitrary income thresholds to one about genuine well-being and quality of life. She believes that sheer act of two people coming together, sharing their strengths in a trusting relationship, is the most important first step in creating transformation. It's the portal through which people are able to access opportunity in all its many dimensions. This belief is evident in her work and approach to leadership.

Kirsten has been featured on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and Andrea Mitchell Reports, is a blogger on the Huffington Post, and is a sought out panelist and keynote speaker on social innovation and poverty alleviation. Additionally, she is the Chairman of the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project, a powerful model for restoring childhood to children living in shelters.

Kirsten is a graduate of Yale University and the Executive Management Program at the Columbia Business School’s Institute for Not-for-Profit Management. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband, author and musician Jeff Himmelman, and their two daughters Billie and Joni.

Connect with Kirsten on Twitter @kirsten_lodal and LinkedIn.

See Kirsten #LIFTing4good: