Todd helps leaders and organizations turn toward the world with a keen mind and a soft heart. After witnessing first-hand the way in which ChI graduates turned open-hearted toward the community and its needs, he enthusiastically agreed to serve on its board of directors.
Todd has devoted his work life to creating a more equitable and compassionate society. At the center of this work are three core beliefs: that people on the ground are the most astute judge of the help they need, that we live out the inequalities in society in the way we structure our communities and alliances, and that each of us has a responsibility to see the suffering in the world, turn toward it and step forward to do something about that suffering with an open heart.
This work has come to life in a variety of forms, including
- Helping grass-roots organizations establish solid organizations that increase their capacity to make their voices heard (as a Founding Board member of the Rainier Valley Corps. and as a Fellow and then chair of the PLACES Advisory Board of The Funders Network, an association of 175 foundations in the US and Canada).
- Fostering a reimagination of public space that emphasizes the inclusion of traditionally marginalized populations, (as board member of The Funders Network, as co-founder of the International Sustainability Institute and as founder of the Northwest Sustainability Collaborative)
- Encouraging philanthropy in the community (as chair of the Board of Social Venture Partners, Seattle, co-founder of the Puget Sound Cohort on Equity, Environment and Infrastructure, and in 2004 as co-founder of Loom, a foundation focused on projects at the intersection of the environment and social equity.)
In 2017, he was recognized by the Sullivan-Henningsgaard Family Service Award, for demonstrating “community leadership by engaging fellow citizens to powerfully address” community needs and “inspiring others to deepen citizens’ civic engagement.”
Prior to working in the non-profit world, he chaired the American Studies program at Trinity College, Hartford, CT, where he taught about the centrality of race and class in American culture. He has published articles, encyclopedia entries and two books on the topic (The Black Press: New Literary and Historical Essays (1999) and Rewriting White: Race, Class and Cultural Capital in Nineteenth Century America (2004), both by Rutgers University Press). At Trinity, he co-founded the Trinity Institute for Urban Learning and Action, an organization that trained nearly 50 coalitions of academic institutions and community organizations around the country to connect for community good.
Early in his career, he was a reporter for The Dallas Morning News, where his work won awards for investigative journalism, and a Correspondent and then Bureau Chief for BusinessWeek Magazine. His journalism also has appeared in The Washington Post and The Boston Globe and has been anthologized in business and journalism books.
He has a Master’s degree from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University and a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. In 2021, he successfully finished the year-long Applied Compassion Training from the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research in the Stanford Medical School. A meditator for more than two decades, he also has received mindfulness training from the UK-based Breathworks.