Everyday Democracy names new president and CEO

April 19, 2022


Merle McGee to lead Everyday Democracy

The board of directors of Everyday Democracy has named Merle McGee as its president and chief executive officer effective May 23, 2022. Over its three decades, the organization has worked with communities nationwide to develop equitable and inclusive solutions to public problems, encourage meaningful civic dialogue with a racial equity lens, and help build a strong multiracial democracy. 

“The board is thrilled to introduce Merle as the next CEO to carry on the impactful tradition of Everyday Democracy’s work while guiding the organization into its next chapter,” said board president, Miles Rapoport. “Everyday Democracy is at an exciting moment as we seek to continue driving positive and equitable community change into the future. Throughout the search process we were impressed with Merle’s extensive expertise in community engagement, change management, organizational culture, and equity and inclusion. We are looking forward to having this transformational leader join the Everyday Democracy team.” 

Ms. McGee brings nearly 25 years of experience in nonprofit settings, including significant executive leadership experience. Most recently, she has served as Chief Equity and Engagement Officer for Planned Parenthood of Greater New York. There she led organizational transformation by conceiving and implementing Reviving Radical, an initiative to reckon with the organization’s history and build accountable relationships with communities of color.  

Prior to her work at Planned Parenthood, Merle served as Chief Program Officer at YWCA of the City of New York. In this role, she launched numerous program initiatives, fostered strategic partnerships and spearheaded internal cultural change initiatives focused on social justice, race and gender equity. Ms. McGee has also been an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Administration at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Affairs, where she taught nonprofit consulting and Race and Identity in Organizations. 

“I am honored to serve as the next President and CEO of Everyday Democracy,” said Merle McGee.  “I have spent my career promoting the dignity and inclusion of communities and advancing racial and social justice.  Everyday Democracy has a long, rich, and impactful history of bringing people together through dialogue to effect change in their communities. Now more than ever, we must commit to building a multiracial democracy by dismantling systemic barriers and creating pathways for all communities to fully participate and thrive. I am thrilled to steward Everyday Democracy into our bold vision and bright future.”  

Ms. McGee earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, and a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management from the New School.  

She is also co-facilitator and leader with the Anti-Racist Alliance and the co-founder of the BIPoC Project, a collective for people of color devoted to healing practices and dismantling racism and anti-blackness. 

Outgoing President and CEO Martha McCoy plans to transition out of the organization effective May 27, 2022, after over 27 years of superb leadership for the organization; Everyday Democracy is deeply grateful for her commitment and work. 

"I couldn't be more excited that Merle McGee is taking this role at this critical juncture for democracy,” said McCoy. “Merle will bring every ounce of her being and her deep personal and professional experience to realizing Everyday Democracy's vision and mission.  With her leadership, people and institutions across the country will have even greater support for building racially just, inclusive communities."  

Merle McGee’s appointment concludes a 6-month national search process led by a search committee comprised of members of Everyday Democracy’s Board of Directors and staff with help from consultant partner, Isaacson, Miller. 

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Dialogue to Change

Our ultimate goal is to create positive community change that includes everyone, and our tools, advice, and resources foster that kind of change. Whether you’re grappling with a divisive community issue, or simply want to include residents’ voices in city government, Everyday Democracy's Dialogue to Change process, using a racial equity lens, can help.