Joan Mooney, President & Chief Executive Officer
Joan M. Mooney took the helm of The Faith & Politics Institute as President & Chief Executive Officer late in 2015 after decades of public service. She has focused FPI’s current efforts on bridging divides that arise in a thriving democracy and creating a firm foundation for the organization to deepen its roots. Under her leadership, The Faith & Politics Institute has expanded its engagements with political leaders to include a monthly series on bridging divides bringing together thought leaders of differing perspectives to broaden minds and dialogue on some of the most pressing concerns in our democracy today. Among our 2017 guests were Hillbilly Elegy author JD Vance and BET commentator Jeff Johnson on Bridging the Rural and Urban Divides and American Enterprise Institute’s President Arthur Brooks and UC-Berkeley Law’s Haas Center for a Fair and Inclusive Society Director john a. powell on the ‘Othering of the Poor.’ New pilgrimages have explored Charleston in the wake of the hate crime and massacre at Emanuel AME church; South Africa on the 50th anniversary of Robert F Kennedy’s Ripples of Hope speech with RFK Human Rights founder and president, Kerry Kennedy; and Asian American immigration and the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans on the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 and the Supreme Court CaseKorematsu v. US, that has never been overturned.
Prior to leading FPI, President Barack Obama nominated Mooney in May 2009 and the US Senate confirmed her in August 2009 to serve as Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Legislative Affairs for the Department of Veterans Affairs, the second largest federal agency, where she was responsible for crafting a budget strategy and leading Department effort to secure Congressional approval for VA’s budget, which rose over 50% to $164 billion in FY2015. Mooney served in that leadership role until 2014 when she retired from federal service, receiving the Department’s highest commendation for employee performance, the Exceptional Service Award. As the daughter of a veteran who died from cancer that was related to his service, she continues advocacy with military veterans to this day. Mooney served as House Director of Congressional Affairs for the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Committee, the largest presidential inaugural in American history. She began her Hill career in 1987 the Washington office of Illinois Congressman Terry Bruce. Mooney continued her congressional service as Oregon Congresswoman Darlene Hooley’s chief of staff from 1997-2009.
Mooney has been actively engaged with The Faith & Politics Institute since 1997, participating in its Congressional Chief of Staff reflection groups, annual retreats, forums, and events including the highly respected civil rights pilgrimages.