John Bridgeland is Executive Chairman of the Office of American Possibilities, a civic moonshot factory that taps the entrepreneurial talent of Americans to solve public challenges together across divides. In that capacity, he is Executive Chairman and CEO of More Perfect, a bipartisan initiative with all 14 Presidential Centers to protect and renew American democracy by advancing 5 Democracy Goals; Co-Founder and CEO of the COVID Collaborative, a national platform to combat COVID-19; Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of Welcome.US to inspire, educate and engage Americans in supporting the resettlement of Afghan, Ukrainian and other refugees; Co-Founder of ACT NOW, a ground-up effort to re-envision community safety and policing; and Co-Founder of 24/7: The People’s Filibuster for Gun Safety.
Bridgeland is also CEO of Civic, a social enterprise firm and was the Founding CEO and is Vice Chairman of Malaria No More, which is mobilizing the public and private sectors to end malaria deaths in Africa. He co-led the White House Summit on Malaria, which launched Malaria No More. Since 2001, more than 10.6 million lives have been saved from malaria.
He has been a leader for 20 years on the high school dropout challenge, with his report The Silent Epidemic generating a TIME cover story, two Oprah Shows, and other coverage, and the development of a civic marshal plan to address it. Graduation rates have climbed from 71 percent in 2000 to 86.5 percent in 2020, translating into over 5 million more students graduating rather than dropping out. Bridgeland is Co-Founder and Vice Chairman of the Service Year Alliance, an initiative to create a civilian national service counterpart to military service in the United States. In 2020, he founded Tennis for America, a year-of-service program designed for former college tennis players, with the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, which awarded him its Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Wimbledon Champion Stan Smith. He is also author of the book, Heart of the Nation: Volunteering and America's Civic Spirit, which was reissued in paperback on the 15th anniversary of 9/11 with a foreword by General Stanley McChrystal and is being assigned on college campuses.
In 2010, President Obama appointed Bridgeland to the White House Council for Community Solutions, where he authored the report Opportunity Road: The Promise and Challenge of America’s Forgotten Youth. Bridgeland previously served as Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council in the first term of President George W. Bush, where he coordinated policy on more than 100 issues, and then as Assistant to the President of the United States 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 and grew national service opportunities to historic levels. He co-chaired the White House Task Force for Disadvantaged Youth, co-led the Cabinet-level review of Climate Change, and co-chaired the White House Task Force on the Revitalization of New York City after 9/11. Bridgeland also co-led the Policy Transition for the President-elect in 2000-2001.
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, among others. For his work as a social and policy entrepreneur, he is featured in the American Government textbook by James Q. Wilson, John J. Dilulio and Meena Bose. Bridgeland also was a Teaching Fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he offered a seminar on Presidential Decision Making. He is currently a Senior Fellow at both the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia and the University of Pennsylvania.
Bridgeland began his professional career by practicing law in the New York and Paris, France offices of Davis Polk & Wardwell, where he also had an active pro bono practice representing political asylum applicants. He served as Chief of Staff and Counsel to a U.S. Congressman, where he drafted or played a leading role in developing nine bills that were signed into law, and previously served as a Legislative Director to another U.S. Congressman.
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, where he was a Hardy C. Dillard Teaching Fellow, won the American Jurisprudence Prize, served on the National Moot Court Team, and served on the Public Service Advisory Committee.
Bridgeland has honorary degrees from the College of William and Mary, Averett University, Saint Anselm College, Ripon College, and Hamline University, where he delivered commencement addresses. He also delivered a commencement address at Johns Hopkins University. He currently serves on many non-profit boards, including the Karsh Institute of Democracy at the University of Virginia; City Year; Earth Conservation Corps (Co-Chairman); EARTH University in Costa Rica; Malaria No More (Vice Chairman); the Service Year Alliance (Vice Chairman); and the New Hampshire Institute of Politics.
He lives with his wife, Maureen, in McLean, Virginia, and has three children, Caily, Fallon, and Regis.