an extensive search, Access Strategies Fund recently announced it had
hired Kelly Bates, Esq., as its new executive director.
Bates, an attorney and well-known Boston-based management and political
consultant, joins the Fund after several years as head of a national
consulting practice, and after serving in various executive positions
with the Women’s State-Wide Legislative Network, the Massachusetts Law
Reform Institute, and the Healthworks Foundation.
Founded in 1999, Access Strategies Fund is a philanthropic foundation
dedicated to using the democratic process to improve the lives of
disenfranchised communities in Massachusetts. To date, it has provided
community-based organizations with more than $2 million in grants to
promote non-partisan voter mobilization, electoral reform and civic
participation among people of color, immigrants and low-income
“Kelly Bates clearly has the passion, leadership and demonstrated
success that we were looking for,” said Board Chairperson Maria
Jobin-Leeds. ”Her background in law, politics, philanthropy and
organizational development is what we need to grow our organization’s
“Kelly’s 20 years of experience in social and political advocacy and
nonprofit management provides Access Strategies Fund with an
extraordinary opportunity to advance our foundation’s mission,”
Jobin-Leeds wrote in a letter announcing Bates’ hiring.
Offering her vision for the future, Bates said: “As a foundation,
Access Strategies Fund will double its efforts, double its dollars and
multiply its impact by funding grassroots organizations that inspire
people to speak, vote and improve their communities. We can overcome
the hopelessness that makes so many powerless people sit on the
sidelines during elections. We need these voices in our democracy.”
Bates was the chief lobbyist and organizer of a powerful lobby of
women’s organizations that passed landmark anti-sexual harassment
legislation in Massachusetts. She was also lead consultant for the
Civic Engagement Initiative, a funding collaborative that made history
in Boston and Chelsea by increasing voter participation rates in almost
every election in the last six years.
A graduate of the Boston University School of Law and the State
University of New York at Albany, Bates is a member of the bar in
Massachusetts. She and her husband Paul, an attorney specializing in
labor law, have one son, and live in Roslindale.