Kirsten Lodal is LIFT’s Founder and Senior Advisor. LIFT began as an idea during her sophomore year of college in 1998 and has become one of the foremost anti-poverty organizations in the country. Under Kirsten’s leadership, LIFT has created positive outcomes for more than 100,000 families and established itself as a national model for more effective and human-centered social services. Along the way, Kirsten has become a leading advocate for re-thinking and modernizing the design of America’s anti-poverty programs, spreading LIFT’s message from the White House and Capitol Hill to the NBC Nightly News, the PBS Newshour, CNN and The New York Times.
Kirsten has received numerous honors for her work on behalf of families, including the National Jefferson Award for Public Service, established in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis as our nation’s “Nobel Prize for community and public service” and the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award for young Americans committed to public service. She is an Ascend Fellow at the Aspen Institute, a Pritzker Fellow at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, a Kresge Foundation NextGen Human Services Fellow, and a member of the New America/Bloomberg Shift Commission on the Future of Work. She serves on numerous boards, including the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project, a program working to restore childhood to children living in shelters and DC Greens, a non-profit focused on advancing food justice in our nation’s capital.
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, Jeff Himmelman, a writer and musician, and their three young daughters, Billie, Joni and Celia.