Since 1968, Anne Bartley has been involved in civic engagement at all levels and in many different arenas, all aimed at creating a stronger, more just American society. From a Harlem public school to the neighborhoods of Little Rock, from Arkansas' first woman cabinet member to the Clinton White House, Ms. Bartley has followed her belief that public service is not only honorable but also essential to fulfill this vision. As a foundation board member, an individual, activist funder, and as a co-founder of several donor networks, she has also sought to maximize the potential of financial assets in support of these objectives.
Three dominant themes are woven through her civic activism—encouraging greater electoral participation for all, especially among people of color and low-income communities; mobilizing donors to support focused social change; and stimulating an ongoing conversation with American citizens leading to increased community involvement and a better informed and more fully engaged electorate.
In 1956, Ms. Bartley moved to a cattle farm in rural Arkansas, a state embroiled in the racial integration crisis created by the reelection bid of Gov. Orville Faubus, and entered an all-white, racist public school. At this early age, she learned that who is elected does indeed make a difference and that it is important for all citizens to live with dignity and to vote without intimidation.
To advance these goals, Ms Bartley has helped create the following institutions: the Department of Arkansas Natural and Cultural Heritage (1974), the Arkansas Washington Office (1979), the Threshold Foundation (1981), the Funders' Committee for Citizen Participation (1983), the Forum Institute for Voter Participation (1986), the Faith and Politics Institute (1991), Vote Now '92 and '94, America Coming Together (2004), Democracy Alliance (2004), America Votes (2005), and, currently, the Committee on States.
Some of the boards she has served on have been the New World Foundation, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, and the Rockefeller Family Fund. She is currently on the boards of the Bauman Family Foundation, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, America Votes, and on the Advisory Councils for Project New West and TAI SOPHIA.
Educated at Sarah Lawrence, Finch College, and Columbia Teachers College, she has a BA and a Masters in Teaching in English Language and Literature. She is married to Larry B. McNeil, a former Saul Alinski organizer for 25 years, and, presently, the director of the Institute for Change in the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). They have five children and two grandchildren.