January 10, 2012

Former Nonprofit Leader Named to Top White House Job

President Obama today appointed a former nonprofit leader, Cecilia Muñoz, to be his top domestic-policy adviser.

Ms. Muñoz, who replaces Melody Barnes as director of the Domestic Policy Council, is an immigration expert who worked for 20 years at the National Council of La Raza, a Latino advocacy group, most recently as senior vice president of research, advocacy, and legislation. She left that position in 2009 to become Mr. Obama's director for intergovernmental affairs.

In her new position, Ms. Muñoz will oversee the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, the White House unit that has the most contact with nonprofit leaders. It works with the Corporation for National and Community Service to promote volunteerism, national service, and the Social Innovation Fund, a grants program to help nonprofits expand effective programs.

The office also operates the White House Council for Community Solutions, a panel of nonprofit leaders and others who are advising the federal government on ways to promote innovative social projects and get people more involved in civic affairs.

Among her other nonprofit activities, Ms. Muñoz served as board chair for the Center for Community Change, on the Open Society Institute's U.S. programs board, and on the boards of the Atlantic Philanthropies and the National Immigration Forum.

In June 2001, Ms. Muñoz, the daughter of Bolivian immigrants, won a MacArthur Foundation fellowship for her work on immigration and civil rights.

Ms. Barnes announced last October she was resigning at the end of the year.