What inspires me: People who practice empathy; collaborate well others; lead with kindness, respect, and courage; and take actions in their everyday lives that help chip away at human-created ceilings and barriers to equity.
I do what I do because: Helping, learning, partnering, and advocating are part of my DNA. I believe thoughtful investments in relationships can change mindsets and collective power can change systems.
I think the world would be better if: People exercised genuine empathy and laughed more.
Lauren Marra joined the Community Wealth Partners team as a director in July 2016. In her role, she engages in strategic partnerships with leadership teams, provides client engagement oversight, and helps drive the overall growth and development of the firm and its people.
Prior to joining Community Wealth Partners, Lauren was a senior director at Arabella Advisors, where she co-led the firm’s 25+ person consulting team. Her team helped institutional, corporate, and family foundations achieve greater impact through strategy development, implementation, evaluation, collaboration and learning. Lauren guided and informed the team’s business strategy, developed its talent, contributed to business growth, and provided oversight on engagements with a core focus on education, employment, and community development issues. For example, she partnered with a senior staff at a large foundation to design, implement, and scale a nationwide initiative that strengthened over 25,000 teachers’ leadership skills, networks, and pedagogical approaches. She also managed a grant-making program focused on women’s mental health and well-being on behalf of a corporate client and led an evaluation of a place-based donor collaborative’s effort to promote healthy, thriving, affordable neighborhoods through transit-oriented development. She designed and oversaw several numerous grantee learning networks and donor collaboratives, including a $3 million multi-donor aimed at supporting sustainable agriculture solutions across the globe.
Prior to joining Arabella, Lauren led federal advocacy campaigns, designed policy solutions, and developed cross-sector partnerships on issues related to education, workforce development, and trade. She held policy positions at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Economic Policy Institute, and in the Bureau of International Labor Affairs at the United States Department of Labor. Lauren’s deep belief that smart philanthropic investment, results-driven nonprofit leadership, and community collaboration can drive lasting impact stems from her first job at Chrysalis, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit social enterprise that helps homeless individuals become self-sufficient through employment.
Lauren holds a BS in economics from Boston College and a master of public policy from Georgetown University, where she was a Nielson Philanthropy Fellow at the Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership. She was a 2014-2015 participant in the Future Executive Directors Fellowship put on by the Nonprofit Roundtable of DC and previously served on the boards of YNPNdc and Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy.