Kristen Gurdin, associate general counsel and chief policy counsel, joined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2010. With her extensive legal experience in working with charitable organizations, she views her role at RWJF as the culmination of a lifelong goal, and feels “privileged to be part of an organization that gets at the root of the nation’s problems in health and health care.” As she puts it: “I am continually humbled by the drive and accomplishments of RWJF grantees and staff in pursuing lasting improvements in health, particularly in those communities most in need... This is a very special place.”
Prior to joining the Foundation, Gurdin had provided legal advice to tax-exempt organizations for more than a decade. She served as an attorney representing colleges, universities, private foundations, hospitals and other tax-exempt organizations for the firms of Reed Smith LLP (Pittsburgh, Pa., office), Davis Wright Tremaine LLP (Seattle, Wash., and Portland, Ore., offices) and Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered (Washington, D.C.). She was also director of Foundation & Legal Affairs of Washington & Jefferson College, a small liberal arts college located in Western Pennsylvania.
She holds a JD from Temple University, an MLitt in Theatre-in-Education from Trinity College Dublin, an AB in Theater, Speech and Dance from Brown University, and was a Fulbright Scholar to the Republic of Ireland.
Prior to attending law school, Gurdin pursued her passion for the theater through her work on theater outreach projects that addressed HIV/AIDS and sought to break the cycle of disadvantage among youth across the Republic of Ireland.
Born in Dallas, Pa., Gurdin now resides in Titusville, N.J., with her husband Jonathan, an environmental attorney, and their two children. Her family enjoys regular trips to their farm property in Western Pennsylvania, where they dabble at transforming their old barn into a home.