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MPA Alumni Appointed First Director of Foundation Engagement – Mathematica Policy Research

Kimberlin Butler, MPA 2003 Joins Mathematica as first Director of Foundation Engagement

Kimberlin Butler, MPA 2003, Appointed First Director of Foundation Engagement at Mathematica Policy Research

Nothing can bring me greater joy than seeing a former student succeed. Whether it is a recent graduate getting that first out of Maxwell dream job, or an alumni from years ago taking on even more challenging work for the good of society.  I got an email last night (at midnight!) from Kimberlin Butler (MPA 2003) as this news first became public.  I have to say, I smiled a lot …. and cried a little too.

I first met Kimberlin when she was in her senior year at LSU, and have watched her progress through our program and successive post-Maxwell experiences to this perfect new professional opportunity today.  It was not all smooth sailing – but her perseverance and strategic professional decisions have brought her to this wonderful post at Mathematica Policy Research. Today, I celebrate her!

I get asked a great deal if students can really benefit from the Maxwell 12-month MPA if they come to us direct from their undergraduate study.  These students wonder if a degree that can be completed in just one year – as opposed to two years – will really give them all the tools necessary for a successful career in public service.  Indeed, Kimberlin and I had that very conversation in the fall of 2002 when we met.  The answer is YES – and it is proven time and time again in stories of our alumni, just like this one.  That being said, we realize that there is a subset of students who are not attending our program as they have a sincere desire to participate in a traditional summer internships (available in other two year programs). So, we recently added a new 18-month MPA option to our program so that these students can feel more comfortable electing to attend Maxwell and join our student, faculty and alumni community.  We are excited to reach this new group of students so that we might celebrate their professional achievements in another decade as we do so today for Kimberlin.

The follow announcement has been re-posted in its entirety from the Mathematica Policy Research News


Mathematica celebrates 50 years of being at the forefront of assessing the effectiveness of policies and programs to improve public well-being.

Kimberlin Butler, who has two decades of experience partnering with organizations to drive social change, has joined Mathematica as its first director of foundation engagement. Butler understands the unique needs and opportunities of mission-driven organizations and the solutions to address them. Her experience positions her well to join Mathematica as it improves public well-being by illuminating the path to progress for public- and private-sector changemakers.

Butler joins a team focused on foundation engagement, including Leslie Foster for health foundations and Kimberly Smith for foundations focused on international health and development.

“We are delighted to welcome Kimberlin to the Mathematica family,” said President and CEO Paul Decker. “She is mission focused and data driven, and we look forward to contributing to a culture of learning among philanthropic organizations under her leadership.”

Butler’s experience addressing urgent social challenges and working alongside partners to translate big questions into deep insights includes her tenure at Grantmakers for Education, for which she worked to improve outcomes in student achievement. She also served the secretary of education and advised the Office of Innovation and Improvement and the Office of Strategic Partnerships on philanthropic alignment. As part of the White House Community Solutions agenda, she helped develop the Place-Based Initiatives Pilot team. She also launched the Atlanta office of Beyond 12, an organization that increases the number of low-income, first-generation, and historically underserved students who graduate from college, establishing partnerships with Achieve Atlanta and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.

A thought partner to the organization’s executive director, Butler served as director of strategic partnerships for StriveTogether, a national network supporting the success of 8.2 million students. At StriveTogether, Butler built strategic alliances with national partners and investors to advance six core outcomes, from kindergarten readiness to college degree completion, including a partnership with former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative. She managed the complex pooled Accelerator Fund, which invested $15 million in communities that demonstrated accelerated progress.

Eager to help improve the state of public education, Butler served as a middle school educator in Teach For America early in her career. Building on this firsthand experience, she proposed a college prep charter middle school that combined academic and leadership development. As the founding executive director, she garnered start-up support, leveraged a diverse governing board, and established a nonprofit organization to advance the mission.

A native of Baton Rouge, Butler received a B.A. in mass communication from Louisiana State University and an M.P.A. from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University with a concentration in social and educational policy.

Kimberlin Butler’s Linked In Profile

Maxwell’s Partnership with Teach For America

Maxwell Alumni Stories  (Blog)

Social Policy Area of Study – Maxwell MPA

Data Analytics for Public Policy – Maxwell MPA

Non-Profit Management Area of Study – (older blog post)

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February 2024
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