Donna Cooper is the Executive Director of Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY), the Greater Philadelphia region’s leading child advocacy organization that influences elected officials by combining useful research, practical solution-oriented policy recommendations with the mobilization of citizens who advance the organization’s work on behalf of children.
Prior to PCCY, Cooper was a senior fellow at respected national think tank, the Center for American Progress, where she led the center’s research on early childhood education, public infrastructure and was a contributing researcher to the center’s work to reduce the incidence of poverty. Cooper served as the secretary of Policy and Planning for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from 2003–2010 where she was responsible for the state’s education, public supports, environmental and health care policy. While in that position, Cooper led the development of the state’s Cover All Kids program which expanded access to affordable health care to nearly every child in the state. Cooper also led the seven-year effort to boost funding for public education that increased K-12 funding by over $2 billion and designed the state’s groundbreaking school funding formula which was enacted in 2008. In that position, she also helped launched the state’s model approach to investments in early childhood education and increased funding to make college affordable for low income and working class students while creating one of the nation’s best systems to ensure that community college students can easily transfer credits to four year colleges. Cooper was the founding Executive Director of Good Schools, a grassroots organizing campaign, that successfully pushed public education to the top issue in the 2002 race for Governor. Cooper also served as the City of Philadelphia’s deputy mayor of policy and planning from 1999–2002 where she designed and led the Greater Philadelphia Works Program, one of the nation’s largest and most successful efforts to help single mothers on welfare achieve self-sufficiency.