Gary Cunningham

President & CEO
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Areas of Expertise:

Gary L. Cunningham is President and CEO of Prosperity Now, a national organization dedicated to advancing racial and ethnic economic justice headquartered in Washington, D.C. He has been leading the organization since August 2019. Under his direction, Prosperity Now has strengthened its strategic focus, centering those most directly impacted by injustice and expanding its approach from simply mitigating the effects of a broken, racist system to testing, investing, and scaling systems-change solutions that will completely transform our economy.

For more than 20 years, Gary has served as a top leader of philanthropic, health care, public policy, and educational organizations. In addition to leading NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center, he was Associate Superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools, the Deputy Director of Civil Rights for the City of Minneapolis and CEO of the Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA) — a minority entrepreneurial organization — and Chaired the Community and Economic Development Committee for the Metropolitan Council the Twin Cites Planning and transportation agency.  

Gary is a recognized and respected expert on entrepreneurship, job creation, racial wealth equity, housing and economic development and is a sought-after thought leader on building a more inclusive economy. A native of Minneapolis, MN, he holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Policy from Metropolitan State University and a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. 


Board Membership

A respected champion of community building and economic opportunity, Mr. Cunningham serves on the following boards:


Board Memberships:

Gary serves on multiple boards and associations, including:

  1. AEO (Association for Enterprise Opportunity)
  2. ArtSpace 
  3. CRF (Community Reinvestment Fund) 
  4. Momentus Capital 
  5. Community Advisory Council for Capital One 
  6. Treasury Advisory Committee on Racial Equity 



Closing the Racial Wealth Divide—A Call for Strategic Thinking 

Non-Profit Quarterly · January 12, 2022

Confronting Dominant Identities Confronting Dominant Identities

Non-Profit Quarterly · Apr 1, 2021

Big Ideas for Small Business

Drexel University and Yale University · Jan 30, 2021

Strengthening Our Identity: Rethinking the Path to Black Liberation

NPQ · Jan 21, 2021

Forging Equitable Communities: Creating New Structures of Opportunity

Poverty Action Research Action Council Newsletter · Feb 1, 2016

The Urgency of Now: Foundations’ Role in Ending Racial Inequity

The Foundation Review: Volume 6 Issue 1 Racial Equity · Jan 2, 2014

Black Fathers An Invisible Presence in America, Second Edition

Routledge · Jun 29, 2011

Black Fathers: An Invisible Presence in America 1st

Routledge · Apr 21, 2011 

What to Do When Stakeholders Matter

Public Administration Review · Jun 10, 2002