Leigh Gibson

Senior Policy Officer

Leigh Gibson, senior policy officer, joined the Policy Office of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in 2019. Drawing on her wide-ranging experience in state policy, she helps the Foundation to align and broaden its engagement with states to expand a Culture of Health for everyone in America. She praises RWJF’s “growing investments to encourage state policy changes and commitment to aligning those grants to increase impact and effectiveness.”

Previously, Gibson served as senior director of State Network Advancement and Leadership at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a nonpartisan policy institute committed to leveraging the power of federal and state policy to reduce poverty and inequality. At CBPP, she was part of the Center’s State Fiscal Project senior leadership team that coordinated the State Priorities Partnership (SPP), a network of 42 nationally acclaimed state policy organizations. Gibson oversaw two strategic planning cycles that accelerated SPP’s evolution from a focus shared learning to collective action. With a combined budget of more than $35 million and more than 250 staff across the country, SPP is an ever growing force for change at the state level.

Earlier, she was a senior program officer for the Fund for New Jersey, a private grantmaking foundation dedicated to improving the quality of public policy decision-making on the most significant issues affecting the people of New Jersey. There she helped drive a new vision for the foundation’s giving and spearheaded $250,000 in federal Hurricane Sandy aid to empower housing organizations to monitor and advocate for equitable distribution of $6 billion in federal aid. 

In other positions, Gibson served as director of operations and development for New Jersey Policy Perspective, a member of the State Priorities Partnership in Trenton, N.J., and as deputy operations officer and director of research for Isles, a community development corporation also located in Trenton, N.J.

Gibson earned her AB, MA, and PhD degrees at Princeton University and an MSW at Hunter College School of Social Work, City University of New York. Early in her career, she was an assistant professor at the Department of Religion, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio. She authored The Jewish Manumission Inscriptions of the Bosporus Kingdom; co-authored Violence among Jews and Christians; and co-founded the Society of Biblical Literature Consultation on Violence, and Representation of Violence among Jews and Christians.

A native of Toronto, Canada, she resides in Princeton, N.J., where she enjoys an active lifestyle as a cyclist and triathlete.

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