Alvin Starks


Alvin Starks, Director
Strategic Initiatives and Philanthropy, NAACP

Alvin Louis Starks is a progressive racial justice thinker, writer and strategist that works in the fields of philanthropy and racial justice advocacy to address issues of systemic inequality.  Alvin’s visionary leadership and innovative philanthropic research supports a new generation of ideas and organizations to explore the intersections of human rights, racial justice, cross movement building and gender equity.  Alvin has written numerous reports and strategy papers for donors, civil litigation firms, colleges/universities and foundations exploring progressive activities to strengthen social change.  His work aspires to expand and stretch the untapped possibilities of social justice advocacy to create bold coalitions and strategies that will advance justice and opportunity to alleviating racial and gender discrimination. 

Alvin has an extensive philanthropic background that has granted him the unique privilege to work at several leading foundations.  For over 8 years, Alvin worked at the Open Society Institute and in 2004 created and directed the Open Society Institute’s Racial Justice Initiative.  The program explicitly supported organizations that secured social and civil opportunities for marginalized communities of color.  Building upon the legacy of traditional civil rights movement, the program focused on dismantling the structural and systemic barriers that perpetuate racial and class exclusion in our nation.  In 2007, he led the creation of the foundation’s black males initiative which addressed issues of de facto discrimination and growing social exclusion.  Alvin formerly held the position of Senior Program Officer for Racial Justice and Gender Identity at the Arcus Foundation.  There his work focused on the building the foundation’s mission to advance the intersections of race, sexuality and gender identity.  Previously, he worked as the Program Officer at the Echoing Green Foundation and supported domestic and international social entrepreneurs that developed new human rights projects from around the world.  

Alvin received his formal education from the State University of New York and Columbia University in New York City.  He sits on several non-profit boards and has received numerous awards and fellowships for his leadership in philanthropy and racial justice.   Alvin lives in Brooklyn.