Heather Carrigan

Chief Executive Officer

Heather, a career nonprofit leader and social justice activist, joined Allies for Every Child in 2010 because of her commitment to changing outcomes for children in foster care, a calling made urgent because of her understanding that unmitigated childhood trauma shapes how children experience the world for the rest of their lives. Inspired by a staff who meet the multiple challenges of serving underserved communities with courage and skill, she led an agency cultural transformation instilling an adherence to high expectations and continuous reflection about mission advancement. During her tenure, she also transformed the financial health of the agency, while aligning programs with best practices. In particular, she prioritized development of stronger clinical supports, instituting cross-agency clinical roles to address the deep, and largely unfunded, needs of children and families across early education and child welfare populations, who often face comparable patterns of risk factors. Heather and her team brought Allies for Every Child through the economic downturn better and stronger, grew the agency by 43%, and earned accreditations from Council on Accreditation and National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Prior to her work at Allies, Heather was the COO of the ACLU of Southern California where she spent 12 years advancing social justice causes. During her time there, the affiliate led groundbreaking advocacy efforts through landmark cases in: criminal defendants’ rights; poverty law and homelessness; immigrants’ rights; racial, gender, class and sexual orientation discrimination; education; and foster care.

Hailing from Kalamazoo, Michigan, Heather attended Princeton University, ultimately landing in Inglewood, California with Teach for America and acquiring a law degree from Southwestern University.


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