About This Episode

Service is in Michael McAfee’s DNA. From an early career in the military to roles in the Federal Government and his current leadership at PolicyLink, McAfee has dedicated his life to realizing a just and fair society – a society designed for all. To achieve this, McAfee centers equity and focuses on seeing others humanity, especially those with differing opinions or backgrounds. The results are federal programs like Promised Neighborhoods, which works to ensure children in distressed neighborhoods are supported from cradle to career, and PolicyLink’s ongoing efforts to “change the nature and logic of our governing institutions so that they could work for everyone.” McAfee shares his journey to this work in this episode of Add Passion and Stir.    

Resources and Mentions:

Michael McAfee

Michael McAfee

President and CEO

Dr. Michael McAfee became President and CEO of PolicyLink in 2018. Prior to becoming CEO, Michael played a leadership role in securing PolicyLink’s Promise Neighborhoods as a permanent federal program, led efforts to improve outcomes for more than 300,000 children, and facilitated the investment of billions of dollars in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty. He is the catalyst for a new,  growing body of work — corporate racial equity — which includes the first comprehensive tool to guide private-sector companies in assessing and actively promoting equity in every aspect of their company’s value chain. Michael carries forward the legacy to realize the promise of equity — just and fair inclusion into a society in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. Before joining PolicyLink, Michael served as senior community planning and development representative in the Chicago Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) managing  a $450 million housing, community, and economic development portfolio. Michael’s commitment to the needs of people of color and those living in poverty extends to his work on the boards of Bridge Housing, Independent Sector, North Lawndale Employment Network, and Sweet Beginnings, LLC, each of which is committed to creating opportunity for those among the 100 million economically insecure people in America.


Founded by Angela Grover Blackwell, PolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing racial and economic equity by Lifting Up What Works®.

Promise Neighborhood

The Promise Neighborhood program works to ensure children have access to a continuum of solutions that support them from cradle to career. By "braiding" federal and other resources, communities can create opportunity and achieve better results for all. Designed around a Results Framework, Promise Neighborhoods build pipelines of programs, service, and supports so that children and youth in distressed communities can succeed in school