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CBPP to Launch Nationwide Search for Next President

December 17, 2019

Robert Greenstein, founder and President of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), will step down on December 31, 2020 after nearly four decades directing the organization, CBPP announced today.

CBPP’s Board of Directors will begin a nationwide search for a new president in January.

Kenneth Apfel, CBPP Board Chairman and former Social Security Commissioner, stated:

Bob has directed the Center with deep passion, extraordinary vision, and strategic brilliance. Driven by his unyielding belief that everyone should be able to live with dignity, support their families, and give their children a promising future, he has dedicated his life to ensuring that no one goes without basic necessities like food on the table, a roof overhead, or adequate health care. Through these efforts, he helped advance federal and state policies that have made life better for tens of millions of struggling people all over America.

Bob built the Center from a shoestring operation at its start into a policy powerhouse. For his many years of work to reduce poverty and inequality in sustainable ways, and to expand equity and opportunity, the nation owes him a debt of gratitude.

Greenstein established CBPP in 1981 and has served as its chief executive ever since. He spearheaded its growth from an organization of four staff in its first year to 150 today. Due to his leadership and vision, the Center’s talented staff, and the generosity of its donors, CBPP has long been considered one of the nation’s most influential organizations in shaping domestic policy. Over the years, CBPP has applied its unique blend of in-depth knowledge of federal and state budget and tax policy, combined with its deep expertise in most major anti-poverty, health, and social insurance programs, to help shape policy debates and achieve outcomes that reduce poverty and disadvantage and strengthen economic and racial equity.

Among its major accomplishments, CBPP played a leading role in spearheading every major expansion of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for low-income working people in the last three decades; in persuading policymakers to create and then expand the low-income portion of the Child Tax Credit; in helping shape the coverage and cost provisions of the Affordable Care Act; in expanding SNAP (food stamps) and other key nutrition programs to more needy people; and in crafting major parts of the 2009 Recovery Act to help the economy recover from the Great Recession and reduce hardship for millions of struggling families.

CBPP also co-founded and continues to coordinate the State Priorities Partnership, a network of state-based policy organizations in 42 states that seek equitable state budget and tax policies to reduce poverty, expand opportunity, and raise living standards. Its many achievements over the years include helping secure or protect $50 billion in annual state revenues to fund investments in health, education, and other key priorities, and it has helped persuade 29 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico to create their own state-level EITCs to supplement the federal EITC.

Before founding CBPP, Greenstein was Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service under President Carter and helped design the landmark 1977 Food Stamp Act, the Carter Administration’s largest anti-poverty achievement. President Clinton appointed him to the Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform in 1994, and he headed federal budget policy for the transition team for President-elect Obama. He has received such recognition as a MacArthur Fellowship, the Heinz Award for Public Policy, the John W. Gardner Leadership Award from Independent Sector, and the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Prize from the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

Greenstein stated:

I am very proud of what we have accomplished over the last four decades, especially in substantially strengthening programs and policies important to people of lesser means. I have been honored and deeply privileged to work with — and learn from — so many dedicated and talented colleagues at the Center, whose passion and expertise never fail to inspire me. I’ve also been fortunate to work with dedicated partners and allies here in Washington and around the country to try to make ours a more just and equitable society. And I am grateful to the funders who have supported the Center’s work over the years.

The end of 2020, when I’ll be approaching my 75th birthday, is the right time to step down so that new leadership can carry the organization forward. I have no doubt that, with its dedicated, seasoned Board and exceptional staff, the Center will continue making a powerful difference in the lives of millions of struggling families and individuals across the country.

Greenstein will continue contributing to the Center’s work and impact in the years ahead.

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