Interim Deputy Director
Shammara Wright joined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in 2021, bringing her wide-ranging experiences in developing programming that influences policies at the intersection of public health, anti-poverty, and racial equity. Her work focuses on promoting racial equity, removing barriers to health equity, and helping to create healthy, equitable communities. She praises the Foundation’s efforts to act on and “expand the national dialogue on how racism impacts public health, and the key role it plays in helping to achieve health equity and spark community solutions.”
Previously, Shammara served as a senior associate at Living Cities, Inc. in New York City, a collaborative of 19 major foundations and financial institutions that strives to close racial income and wealth gaps in American cities. In this role, she guided member institutions in working together to deepen their racial equity practice and achieve racial equity outcomes and in measuring the impact of their collaborative efforts.
Earlier, Shammara served as director of health education projects for the New York City Department of Education, where she oversaw strategic innovations to support curriculum implementation for K-12 grade teachers. As senior advisor for health and workforce development in the Office of the Mayor, New York City Office of Economic Opportunity, she managed a $50 million health and workforce initiative; oversaw efforts to influence anti-poverty policy and legislation; and expanded research and analysis efforts for key mayoral initiatives.
Shammara was also a senior manager of after-school programs for generationOn, a global youth service movement within the Points of Light organization. In this position, she oversaw program design, structure, recruitment, implementation, and expansion for out of school time programming. She also served as program coordinator for The After-School Corporation in New York City, where she developed the Building Healthy Communities (BHC) program, which focused on civic engagement and obesity prevention in the after-school space in New York City, Philadelphia, and New Jersey.
Shammara earned an MPA in health policy and management from the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and a BA in philosophy from Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y. She credits her family’s succession of strong and remarkable women—and her father's exceptional ability to encourage her to show up as her full self—with inspiring her to strive for and achieve great things. In addition to her extensive volunteer work and leadership appointments, Shammara has written and presented on workforce issues, childhood obesity, racial equity, service learning, and building healthy communities.
Born in the Bronx, N.Y., she currently lives in Manhattan with her husband and their young child. She enjoys reading, music, dancing, and travel.