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Judith Bell

Judith Bell, as president of the advocacy group PolicyLink, oversees policy development, strategic planning, program implementation, and policy campaign strategy. She leads projects focused on equitable regional development policy to enhance the income and assets of the poor. Her portfolio includes the fair distribution of affordable housing throughout regions, equity in public investment and land use, and community strategies to reduce health disparities. She has supervised and engaged in extensive research and advocacy, particularly at the statewide level, and edited and written numerous reports on these topics. She is a regular speaker and trainer on advocacy and consults with organizations and leaders about strategy development and implementation.

Bell’s advocacy work with PolicyLink has included efforts to improve access to healthy foods, solutions to overcrowding in K-12 schools, and equitable approaches to infrastructure investment. Prior to joining PolicyLink, she was director of the West Coast regional office of Consumers Union, where she focused on changing public policies to promote greater access to health care, financial services, and low-cost auto insurance. Bell also developed and co-directed a 32-state project to preserve charitable assets as nonprofit health care institutions converted into for-profit businesses. The project’s work was instrumental in preserving more than $15 billion of charitable funds, creating 125 new health care foundations in 35 states across the country, and changing applicable state laws.



Are politicians prepared for the enormous change taking place in America?
ASK THIS | April 05, 2012
Before long more than half the U.S. population will be people of color. Today many of them are disadvantaged, in need of better education, job training and financial assistance – and many will be voting this year. Incumbents and challengers need to be asked what ideas, if any, they have for a group that represents so much of America’s future.

Why the new poverty numbers are bad news for tomorrow's America
ASK THIS | September 20, 2011
Before long people of color will be the majority in America but right now the outlook for many of them is grim. Poverty expert Judith Bell poses questions reporters should ask of elected officials and, on the local level, of demographers and other researchers.

For the poor, the misery just keeps piling up
ASK THIS | June 24, 2009
Some are gasping for air, some drowning, writes Judith Bell. The impact of the economic collapse on everyday life – on how to get to work (if they have a job), on health, on housing, can be enormous. It's an important, moving story in every community.

Innovative stimulus spending in Kansas City
ASK THIS | June 19, 2009
The Kansas City Green Impact Zone, a large, low-income area, could be a stimulus model for the nation. As Judith Bell explains it, the 150-block section is slated for a major economic makeover, thanks to a strong effort by political and community groups.

Who will give out the new green jobs? Who will get them?
ASK THIS | March 24, 2009
The stimulus bill could lead to a million or more “green” jobs, many of them created at the state and local levels. For reporters this is an important story on two levels: keeping track of energy and environmental enhancements as they develop, and the doling out of jobs: how will hiring work?

Food and health in a failing economy
ASK THIS | February 23, 2009
Judith Bell of the advocacy group PolicyLink lays out the dramatic correlations, in low-income neighborhoods, between the lack of healthy food choices and the onset of obesity and diabetes.

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