Kirsten Lodal co-founded LIFT in 1998 as a sophomore in college and has devoted herself since then to guiding the development of LIFT’s innovative program model.
Kirsten LIFTs because she believes that we all share a drive and aspiration to succeed, and we all want to build a better future for our kids and families. She also believes that we all need people in our corner to get by in life -– not one of us got ahead without mentors, sponsors, and friends cheering us on in tough times and giving us guidance along the way. She gets lifted every day by LIFT's amazing clients whose stories demonstrate what courage and resilience actually looks like. Kirsten considers it a privilege to serve as LIFT's CEO, guiding the organization’s strategic vision, external affairs, policy, and national partnership efforts.
Kirsten is committed to changing the conversation about poverty and opportunity in the United States from one about arbitrary income thresholds to one about genuine well-being and quality of life; from one marked by insidious stereotypes about the deficits of "poor people" to one about harnessing the extraordinary talents and strengths of the people in our society who are finding a way to get by even in the toughest of times, often with the least support.
Kirsten plays a leadership role in numerous poverty-related policy initiatives, including Opportunity Nation. She is the Chairman of the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project, a powerful model for restoring childhood to children living in shelters. She also serves on the Board of DC Greens, a non-profit focused on making healthy food more accessible through farmers' market incentive programs and seed-to-table education. She is a frequent and passionate public speaker on the topics of poverty, economic and social opportunity, and innovation; Kirsten’s leadership with LIFT has been featured by the NBC Nightly News, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, CNN, and MSNBC. She is the proud recipient of the Jefferson Award for Public Service.
Kirsten graduated from Yale University in 2001 and has completed the Executive Management Program at the Columbia Business School’s Institute for Not-for-Profit Management. She is the proud wife of Jeff Himmelman, an author and musician, and mom of their 1 year-old daughter, Billie.