Press Release

America’s Promise Alliance Announces Gregg Petersmeyer as New Board Chair, Former Chair Alma Powell Steps Into New Role as Chair Emeritus

Announcement Comes As Organization Prepares to Launch Next Ambitious Phase of Work, Broadening Its Impact and Expanding Its Work to Reach More Children and Young People

Washington D.C. — America’s Promise Alliance today announced that its Board has tapped Board Vice Chair C. Gregg Petersmeyer to serve as its new Board Chair. Former Chair Alma Powell will step into a new role as the Board’s first Chair Emeritus, following eighteen years of service as Chair. The announcement comes as America’s Promise prepares to embark on the next ambitious phase of its work, which seeks to broaden its impact and expand its work, emphasizing youth leadership and the crucial role relationships play in helping young people succeed.  

Petersmeyer was the lead architect of the Presidents’ Summit for America’s Future, the event that gave rise to America’s Promise.  He has served America’s Promise since its inception, including as a founding board member.

“I’ve seen this organization create real impact for young people in communities large and small since its beginning in 1997,” Petersmeyer said.  “In creating America’s Promise, all the living presidents made a commitment to the young people of America that we would come together as a nation to provide the essential ingredients for a healthy, successful childhood – the Five Promises – for every child in America. From that start, America’s Promise has grown into the largest partnership of its kind, bringing together hundreds of national nonprofits, businesses, communities, and thousands of educators and ordinary citizens dedicated to creating a nation in which every young person has a full and real chance to succeed. That chance comes in the form of Five Promises fulfilled for the whole child and young person, by resources and relationships connected to them where they live and where they’re known by name. Our nation’s challenge is for all of us to become meaningful parts of this critical work.”
Petersmeyer brings a decorated background of public service to his role as Chair, having served on the White House staffs of Richard M. Nixon and George H.W. Bush.  As a member of President Bush’s senior staff, Petersmeyer was the founding Director of the White House Office of National Service and is credited with helping President Bush make voluntary civic engagement, social entrepreneurship and "Points of Light" hallmarks of his presidency. He was instrumental in the creation of the Points of Light Foundation and the Commission on National and Community Service, the forerunner of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Gen. Colin Powell, Founding Chairman of America’s Promise, enthusiastically welcomed Petersmeyer’s selection.  

“Gregg Petersmeyer has been a central figure in shaping the vision and leading America’s Promise to its success from the very beginning,” Gen. Powell said. “I couldn’t be more pleased to see Gregg become Chair, and it gives me confidence and optimism about America’s Promise continuing to play a critical leadership role in improving the life prospects of young people.”

Alma Powell, who will serve as the organization’s first-ever Chair Emeritus, echoed Gen. Powell’s sentiments.  

“I have worked closely with Gregg for many years, and I can’t think of anyone who is better suited to Chair our Board,” Powell said. “Gregg is a person of deep commitment and achievement, and understands better than anyone the special role that America’s Promise has to play in creating the conditions of success for every child. I couldn’t be more pleased with the Board’s selection, and I look forward to continuing to work closely with Gregg.”

As Chair Emeritus, Mrs. Powell will continue her long-standing engagement with America’s Promise Alliance and build on the impact she has helped to shape over the last nearly two decades.

“Mrs. Powell has played an indispensable role in the growth and success of America’s Promise,” said John Gomperts, President and CEO of America’s Promise Alliance. “Under Mrs. Powell’s leadership, an organization that began with a simple idea — a collective commitment to provide the Five Promises necessary for all children and youth to thrive — has grown into the nation’s largest network dedicated to improving the lives of young people and has created positive impact for millions of young people. From a personal perspective, it has been a tremendous pleasure to work directly with Mrs. Powell for the past 6 years – no-one could ask more of a leader, a boss and a friend.  I am so happy that Mrs. Powell will continue her leadership in the organization in her new role.”

In addition to great growth in the America’s Promise network, under Mrs. Powell’s leadership America’s Promise has led campaigns and initiatives that have helped improve outcomes for millions of young people. The GradNation campaign, the organization’s signature initiative over the past decade, has resulted in historic gains in high school graduation. Over that time, an additional 3 million students graduated with their classes. 

Mrs. Powell also shined a spotlight on communities and leaders that are creating positive environments and opportunities through the 100 Best Communities for Young People, the Powell Legacy Award and the Promise of America Award. 

Mrs. Powell’s imprint is also evident in the organization’s commitment to listening carefully and respectfully to the voices of young people. She brought youth members onto the America’s Promise Board and into all of the organization’s activities. And the research produced by the organization’s research arm, the Center for Promise, has focused on understanding the lived experience of young people who are struggling to stay in school and on a path to adult success.  

Petersmeyer expressed gratitude to the Powells:

“It is a tremendous honor and responsibility to build upon the commitment and legacy that Presidents, the Powells and others have built. I look forward to helping America’s Promise increase its impact in the lives of children and young people and the nation.  Our nation’s work is not done until we fulfill the promise of America, meaning every young person having a real chance to succeed, and every adult feeling a responsibility to help make that happen.” 

America’s Promise also announced that Stefanie Sanford (Chief of Global Policy and External Relations of College Board) and Michael Powell (President of NCTA – the Internet & Television Association) will serve as Vice Chairs of the Board.  

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America’s Promise means that every child or young person in America deserves the chance to grow into a successful and responsible adult; that this outcome is most likely to occur when specific resources and relationships fulfill Five Promises in the life of the whole child; that all of us have a responsibility to work together as effectively as possible, including in partnerships, to ensure that these resources and relationships are a reality in the lives of our country’s children and young people; and that as a nation we need evidence-based strategies succeeding in this work at the community level that can be implemented on a national scale.