Founder & CEO
John Bridgeland is Founder & CEO of Civic, a social enterprise firm in Washington, D.C. He is also Executive Chairman of the Office of American Possibilities, a moonshot factory to tap the entrepreneurial talent of Americans to solve public challenges together across divides. In that capacity, he is Co-Founder and CEO of the COVID Collaborative, a national platform to combat COVID-19; 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 the Partnership for American Democracy to align efforts in democratic renewal around 5 “Sustainable Democracy Goals.”
He 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; Co-Founder and Vice Chairman of Malaria No More to end malaria deaths in Africa; and Co-Convener of the GradNation campaign to address the high school dropout crisis.
Previously, Bridgeland was appointed by President Obama to serve on the White House Council for Community Solutions. He also served as Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, Assistant to the President of the United States, and first Director of the USA Freedom Corps after 9/11 under President George W. Bush. He is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Virginia School of Law and has given commencement addresses at the College of William & Mary, Johns Hopkins University, Saint Anselm College, Averett University, Hamline University, and Ripon College. In addition, he founded Tennis for America in 2020 with the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, which awarded him their “Lifetime Achievement Award,” presented by Wimbledon Champion Stan Smith. He is the author of the book, Heart of the Nation: Volunteering and America’s Civic Spirit.
Matthew Atwell has been a member of the Civic team since 2015. He conducts data analysis and research on a diverse set of policy areas, including the education gap, civic health, social mobility, and ocean conservation. He has co-authored numerous nationally syndicated Civic reports, including Building a Grad Nation, Hidden in Plain Sight, Our Opportunity Nation, and the Great American High School Campaign, and was the lead author of Civic Deserts: America’s Civic Health Challenge. Matt is an honors graduate of St. Joseph’s University, where he studied Political Science and Economics. During his undergraduate studies, he attended Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, where he also worked for a member of the European Parliament. In 2019, Matt received a Master's Degree in Applied Economics from George Washington University.
Riley Kennedy is a 2021-2022 Civic Fellow. She recently graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with an honors degree in Politics, Philosophy, & Economics and a minor in Modern Middle Eastern Studies. Her academic studies and professional experience have focused primarily on global development, communications, and the public policy process, and Riley has spent two years conducting policy and communications research at think tanks – Child USA and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. At UPenn, some of Riley’s international research projects included compiling a qualitative report on the eldercare crisis in China, evaluating the impact of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) on political engagement in Uganda, and collaborating with environmental NGOs across Israel and Palestine to design a more sustainable water filtration solution to reach rural communities in the West Bank. Prior to joining Civic, Riley worked as a correspondent for the Jordan News.
Gary R. Edson
Gary Edson is Principal of Civic. He is a White House veteran, non-profit executive, and recognized leader in global development. Condoleezza Rice has called him “one of the best ‘policy engineers’” she has ever known. As Deputy National Security Advisor and Deputy National Economic Advisor to President George W. Bush, Edson established the groundbreaking Millennium Challenge Corporation to fight global poverty; co-led the development of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief; co-chaired the Task Force on New York Economic Revitalization after 9/11; and helped launch Volunteers for Prosperity. Earlier in his career, he served as General Counsel to the U.S. Trade Representative. In the non-profit sector, Edson has served as CEO of the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, helping Haiti “build back better” after the devastating 2010 earthquake, and President of Conservation International. He is Senior Advisor at TOTAL Impact Capital, a merchant bank for impact investment, and an affiliate partner at Lindsay Goldberg LLC, a private equity firm. He was previously Chairman of PAR Systems, Inc, a provider of intelligent robotic systems, and Managing Director at the Albright Stonebridge Group.