By Ret Boney
Veteran social-justice advocate Rob Shofield will join NC Policy Watch as director of research and policy development effective Oct. 2.
Schofield comes to the Raleigh-based think-tank and state government watchdog group after serving 11 months as director of public policy and government relations for the N.C. Center for Nonprofits.
“It’s an opportunity to speak out on the issues about which I feel most passionate,” he says. “It’s what I think I do best – writing on the most important issues of the day and promoting a progressive agenda for change.”
Schofield brings more than two decades of experience in policy and advocacy to Policy Watch, including stints with a migrants-rights group, the American Civil Liberties Union and 13 years at the N.C. Justice Center.
“Rob is uniquely qualified for the job,” says Chris Fitzsimon, director of NC Policy Watch, a project of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, which also publishes the Philanthropy Journal. “He has a broad base of experience in social justice and civil liberties, and in writing and public speaking.”
Policy Watch will continue its emphasis on developing and promoting a “public-investment agenda” for the state, Fitzsimon says, and with Schofield’s addition, funded in part by a $50,000 grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, now can do more.
“Rob will expand the work that we currently do — analyzing state policies, making policy recommendations when appropriate and researching policies that have worked in other states and other areas of North Carolina,” says Fitzsimon.
Policy Watch will also develop new publications and program activities that draw on Schofield’s experience.
Schofield says he is eager to help shape what he calls a critical debate around public policy issues across the country and the state.
“There is a persistent voice that wants to take North Carolina back to a time in which government was inept and unimportant, and investments in common solutions were rare,” says Schofield. “I believe that is taking us backwards.”
“We’re in this together,” he says, “and we need to pull together if we’re going to thrive in the long run.”