About Us

ACCESS to Financial Security for All
 
ACCESS was built as a virtual place for asset-building and equity-policy advocates alike to share information, learn about promising asset-building policies, connect with cross-sector allies, and advance inclusive and progressive policies to close the racial wealth gap and promote financial security for all. This site is intended to lift up the important work across the asset-building field that advances equity by addressing wealth inequality, the racial wealth gap, and family economic security for all. Organizations and individuals are invited to join ACCESS to share research, best practices, policy ideas, and events.

Christopher M. Brown, Director for Financial Security

Christopher M. Brown, Director for Financial Security, leads the financial security and political mobilization efforts at PolicyLink. Previously overseeing federal policy and government affairs, he now focuses on local, state, and nationwide strategies for policies that enhance economic mobility, and serves as the Co-Chair of the Tax Alliance for Economic Mobility — a national coalition focused on equitable tax reform. Chris possesses expertise in a range of policy areas and political engagement, and has led policy efforts on state, federal, and international levels since his time on Capitol Hill and in the private sector. Chris focuses on strategic partnership opportunities between the private sector, government, community-based organizations, and policy groups in advancing legislative and regulatory initiatives, and draws on his previous experience in Congress where he served as Counsel to the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor, and as Legislative Director on the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Just prior to joining PolicyLink, Chris represented a U.S. contracting firm in Central America, where he directed foreign expansion efforts and government relations. Brown holds a B.A. from the University of Georgia, and a J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, IL. He now lives in San Francisco, but can also be found roaming the corridors of Washington, DC.

Alexandra Bastien, Senior Associate

Alexandra Bastien, Senior Associate, works to lift up policy solutions pertaining to wealth inequality across the nation from a lens of equity. She maintains accesstofinancialsecurity.org - a compendium of asset-building resources, conducts research and supports the PolicyLink asset-building team. Prior to joining PolicyLink, Bastien was a 2012-2013 cohort member of the Proteus Fund Fellowship for Diversity in Philanthropy, and served as the Co-Executive Director of the Young Black Women’s Society, Inc. Alexandra holds Master of Public Policy from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University and a B.A. in Communications from Boston College. She loves all things step (dancing), knows that hip hop is the social justice movement of our generation, and is committed to race and gender equity.

Joe Brooks, Senior Fellow

Joe Brooks, Senior Fellow, has been with PolicyLink since its founding in 1999. Joe serves as a senior adviser to the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color team and ACCESS to Financial Security for All, a project funded by the Ford Foundation’s Building Economic Security Over a Lifetime initiative. Prior to working for PolicyLink, Joe was a faculty member of the inaugural black studies departments at two universities: University of California, Berkeley, and San Francisco State University. He also edited the Review of Black Political Economy, published by the Black Economic Research Center in New York City. Joe served as President of the Emergency Land Fund, saving black owned land in the rural black-belt of the southeast. Joe was also a program officer for neighborhood and community development at the San Francisco Foundation, where he founded and directed the foundation’s interfaith initiative, FAITHS. Joe is a board member of the Oakland Citizens Committee for Urban Renewal, OCCUR, and for 14 years, Chair of the Urban Habitat Program. Joe is also a member of the Leadership Council of the Brotherhood of Elders Network, an Oakland California based organization with the mission of assisting Black boys to thrive. He holds a master’s degree in city and regional planning from the University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s degree in business and economics from San Jose State University. Joe is a mentor to scores of young people, is a commentator about politics, policy, and history; and likes to dance in his spare time.

Lewis Brown, Program Associate

Lewis Brown, Jr., Program Associate, works to improve outcomes for boys and men of color by promoting equitable public policies and providing strategic advice, technical assistance, and other support to public and private leaders that serve boys and men of color. He also conducts research related to tax policy, focusing particularly on the federal individual income tax code. Prior to joining PolicyLink, Lewis served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Inez Smith Reid, of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, and practiced law for a global law firm, where he focused on securities litigation and internal investigations. Lewis believes strongly that unlocking the promise of low-income communities and communities of color will help the entire country to grow and prosper.

Rosamaria Carrillo, Senior Program Assistant

Rosamaria Carrillo, Senior Program Assistant, provides administrative, technical, logistics, communications, research, and program support to the Vice President of Civic Engagement, the asset building team, and the Deputy Director of Equity as a Superior Growth Model project. Prior to joining PolicyLink and as part of her Social Work degree, Rosamaria interned at Jewish Vocational Services and Women’s Initiative for Self Employment, conducting research on best practices for supporting youth with disabilities in post-secondary education and evaluated a business management program’s impact on women’s social and economic mobility respectively. Rosamaria received a bachelor’s of psychology and sociology and masters in social welfare in management and planning from U.C. Berkeley. Rosamaria wishes she could sing or dance, but is completely satisfied with her passions high education, learning, teaching, leading workshops, and public speaking. She’s also current president of Toastmasters on Campus.

Jennifer Pinto, Senior Communications Associate

Jennifer Pinto, Senior Communications Associate, works with staff to maintain the image and identity of PolicyLink. She serves as the communications lead for the asset-building team and works closely on website content, email outreach, and social media. Additionally, she manages the organization’s webinar production and contributes to the development and implementation of online communications strategies. Previously, Jennifer worked in editorial and production departments for two newspapers, where she reported on local issues. She holds a BA in journalism from Rutgers University. She loves photography, is a bit of a home décor enthusiast, and—above all—adores spending time with her sons.

Heather McCulloch, Consultant

Heather McCulloch, the founder and principal of Asset Building Strategies, is the chief consultant to the Financial Security team. A former senior associate at PolicyLink, Heather has been a leader in the asset-building field for more than 13 years. She’s worked with foundations, nonprofits and policymakers – at the local, state, and national levels – to develop innovative approaches to building the financial security of low-wealth families and communities. Heather is currently a Visiting Professor at the University of California Berkeley, College of Environmental Design. From 2013-2015, she served the Director of the Tax Alliance for Economic Mobility, a national coalition advancing inclusive, progressive and equitable tax policy. In recent years, clients have included the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the national Asset Funders Network, CFED, the Levi Strauss Foundation, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Walter and Elise Haas Fund and other foundations.  Heather earned a master’s degree in International Political Economy from the London School of Economics and a bachelor’s degree in Political Economy of Industrial Societies from the University of California, Berkeley. She currently serves on the Financial Education and Asset Building Advisory Committee for the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.