Gordon Whitman is Director of Policy for PICO National Network. PICO is a non-partisan national network of fifty-three faith-based community organizations working to create innovative solutions to problems facing urban, suburban and rural communities. PICO helps engage ordinary people in public life through grassroots community organizing. With more than 1,000 member institutions (including congregations from more than 40 different faith traditions) representing 1.2 million families in 150 cities and 17 states, as well as a growing international effort, PICO is one of the largest and most-diverse community-organizing efforts in the United States. PICO has active national campaigns focused on health reform, bank accountability, immigration reform and youth employment and violence prevention.
As a community organizer, legal services lawyer and strategist, Gordon has helped working families build strong and effective community organizations for 18 years. In 2005, he went to work for PICO to help the network open a Washington, DC office and develop a national organizing program to influence federal policy to better meet the needs of working families. Gordon was the lead organizer on PICO's Cover All Children campaign that helped win health coverage for four million uninsured children as part of the reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program. He guided PICO’s work on national health reform, helping to coordinate a grassroots campaign to make reform more affordable to lower-income families. Since 2008 he has worked with a team of PICO grassroots leaders and staff to press big banks, the Obama Administration and Congress to do more to stop preventable foreclosures and help communities devastated by the financial crisis recover.
Gordon began organizing in Philadelphia in 1992 as the co-founder of the Eastern Pennsylvania Organizing Project, where he directed successful organizing campaigns to improve low-performing public schools, reverse bank redlining and revitalize housing in urban neighborhoods. He served as Director of Research for Democracy and the Associate Director of the Center for Public Policy at Temple University, where he conducted research projects on racial and socio-economic disparities in access to high quality teachers; economic models for eliminating blight and revitalizing neighborhoods; the impact of suburban sprawl on faith institutions; and teacher and parent attitudes toward school governance and decision-making. He was also the founding organizer of Flint Area Congregations Together, a PICO affiliate in Flint, Michigan.
A lawyer, he is the author of Making Accountability Work in the New York University Review of Law and Social Change (2003), Teaching Inequality: The Problem of Public School Tracking in Harvard Law Review (1987) and policy studies on U.S. school reform, urban credit markets, housing policy and international education reform. He has taught the History and Theory of Community Organizing as an adjunct lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania and has a BA in Urban Studies and History from the University of Pennsylvania and a JD from Harvard Law School.