National Priorities Project

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The National Priorities Project "analyzes and clarifies federal data" so that people can understand and influence how their tax dollars are spent.

NNP is a partner organization[1]of the Institute for Policy Studies.

Board Members

As of September 2009;[2]

  • Dennis Bidwell is the principal of Bidwell Advisors, providing real estate consulting services to non-profit organizations and private real estate owners and specializing in charitable gifts of real estate. With over twenty-five years of real estate and non-profit management experience, Dennis has extensive experience with conservation and preservation organizations, colleges and universities, families and their professional advisors, government agencies, financial institutions, private foundations, and community based housing, educational and human services organizations. He also has engaged in volunteerism and civic activity, serving on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations and devoting countless hours to organizing community projects and political campaigns. Dennis holds an MBA in nonprofit management from Boston University.
  • Eve Brown-Waite is a minister, author, and community activist who has lived and worked in several developing countries. Eve received her MPH in Community Education from Hunter College in New York City and also attended Meadville Lombard Divinity School in Chicago. Eve has worked in the fields of HIV/AIDS Prevention, both in the US and in Africa, and has worked with street children in Ecuador. In this country, she has worked on domestic violence intervention for the New England Learning Center for Women in Transition, and she was Health and Nutrition Manager for Head Start in two counties of western Massachusetts. Eve is presently a full-time writer.
  • Rosa Alicia Clemente is a community organizer, independent journalist and hip-hop activist. She was the vice presidential running mate of 2008 Green Party Presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney in the 2008 US Presidential election. Born and raised in South Bronx, New York, she is a graduate of the University of Albany and Cornell University.
  • Peter Greenwald is a Managing Director in the Quantitative Management Department at Babson Capital, a wholly owned subsidiary of MassMutual, where he has worked in asset liability management for 22 years. He has a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from Amherst College and an MBA from the University of Massachusetts. He is a Chartered Financial analyst and member of the CFA Institute, an organization of investment professionals.
  • Jen Kern currently serves as Field Campaign Manager at American Rights at Work, an organization working to inform the public about the struggle to win workplace democracy for nurses, cooks, computer programmers, retail cashiers, and a variety of workers who we all depend on every day. Previously, she worked in the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) national office, providing research support for local ACORN organizers nationwide on issues from insurance and banking discrimination to jobs, education and minimum wage.
  • Bakari Kitwana is a journalist, activist and political analyst whose commentary on politics and youth culture have been seen on the CNN, FOX News (the O'Reilly Factor), C-Span, PBS (The Tavis Smiley Show) and heard on NPR. His 2002 book, The Hip-Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis in African American Culture, which focuses on young Blacks born after the Civil Rights Movement, has been adopted as a course book in classrooms at over 100 colleges and universities.
  • Michael T. Klare is the Five College Professor of Peace and World Security Studies, based at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. Before assuming his present post, he served as Director of the Program on Militarism and Disarmament at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. (1977-84). Professor Klare has written widely on U.S. defense policy, the arms trade, and world security affairs. He is the defense correspondent for The Nation, a Contributing Editor of Current History, and recently authored the book: Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Dependency on Imported Petroleum (Metropolitan Books, 2004). Professor Klare serves on the board of directors of the Arms Control Association, and the advisory board of the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch; he is also a member of the Committee on International Security Studies of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
  • Paul Kawika Martin is Peace Action’s organizing and political director and has worked with numerous Environmental, Peace, Animal Rights and Human Rights organizations including Greenpeace and Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR). Mr. Martin worked with a Clinton Presidential Commission and spent a year campaigning in twenty countries on Greenpeace ships including the Rainbow Warrior. He is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara.
  • Miriam Pemberton is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, writing and speaking on demilitarization issues for its Foreign Policy In Focus project. She leads a group that produces the annual “Unified Security Budget for the United States.” Other recent publications include "The Budgets Compared: Military vs. Climate Security." Formerly she was editor, researcher and finally director of the National Commission for Economic Conversion and Disarmament. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.
  • Lorna Peterson served as the Executive Director of the Five Colleges, Inc. a consortium comprising Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges and the Univeristy of Massachusetts Amherst. Recently retired, she led one of the nation’s most successful higher education consortia for eighteen years.
  • Vijay Prashad teaches International Studies at Trinity College, Hartford, CT. He is the author of eight books, two of which were chosen by the Village Voice as books of the year: Karma of Brown Folk, and Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting: Afro-Asian Connections and the Myth of Cultural Purity. His most recent books are Darker Nations: The Rise and Fall of the Third World, and Keeping Up with the Dow Joneses: Debt, Prison, Workfare. He is on the board of the Center for Third World Organizing, the co-founder of the Forum of Indian Leftists and writes every month for Frontline (Chennai, India), ZNET and Little India, as well as occasionally for Counterpunch.
  • Leah Wise is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Southeast Regional Economic Justice Network based in Durham, North Carolina. A native of California, Leah went South in the 1960's to work with SNCC and the Civil Rights Movement. She balanced motherhood with being an organizer, trainer, oral historian, cultural worker, and (disabled) steelfitter. She received an MA in History from Duke University. She was a founding editor of Southern Exposure, an award-winning journal of Southern politics and culture, and has co-authored several publications on Southern labor struggles. While directing Southerners for Economic Justice, she helped establish several organizations and networks addressing racist violence and plant closings, including the Center for Democratic Renewal, North Carolinians Against Racist and Religious Violence, and the Federation for Industrial Retention and Renewal.
  • Lawrence Wittner is Professor of History at the State University of New York/Albany. He is a former president of the Conference on Peace Research in History (now the Peace History Society) and a former chair of the Peace History Commission of the International Peace Research Association. His extensive writings on the history of peace movements, nuclear arms control and disarmament measures, and U.S. foreign policy include eleven books. Among them are an award-winning trilogy, The Struggle Against the Bomb, and, most recently, Confronting the Bomb: A Short History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement, both published by Stanford University Press. In addition, he is active as a labor leader, a musical performer, and a member of the board of directors of Peace Action.
  • Cate Woolner worked at Franklin Community Action Corporation for nearly 15 years as the Director of the Mediation and Training Collaborative, the Director of Staff Training and Development, and, most recently, the Director of Human Resources. Cate has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Brandeis and a Master's of Counseling Psychology from Antioch Graduate School of Education. She has many years of community activism and has especially focused on addressing racism and multi-culturalism in presentations, workshops and writings. Cate is an experienced mediator and facilitator as well as organizational consultant.


As of September 2009;[3]

  • Juan Carlos Aguilar, Associate Director of Networking and Training, has more than 20 years experience working to achieve social justice through funding, strategic planing and community organizing. He previously worked as Program Officer for the Environmental and Global Justice Programs at the Solidago Foundation and as the Director of Grants and Training at the Peace Development Fund.
  • Barb Chalfonte, Acting Research Director, is a social scientist with over 20 years of research and teaching experience in the education, private, and non-profit sectors. Prior to joining NPP, Barb worked at Bell Communications Research and was on the faculty of Mt. Holyoke College. She has written and lectured on how people understand and remember information and how to design technology to support that understanding. She has also worked on several political campaigns, served on the boards of political action committees, and holds a Bachelors Degree from Williams College and a PhD from Princeton University.
  • Jo Comerford, Executive Director, joined the National Priorities Project staff in July 2008 bringing with her two decades of experience in community organizing and a strong background in nonprofit administration. Most recently, Jo served as Director of Programs at The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and worked to meet the complex and immediate demands of hunger in the region, as well as for systemic community food security. Prior to The Food Bank, Jo directed the American Friends Service Committee's community organizing efforts in western Massachusetts. She holds an MSW in community organizing from Hunter College School of Social Work and is an adjunct faculty member of Smith College School of Social Work.
  • Kristine Elinevsky, Director of Administration and Finance, has been with NPP since 1997. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from the University of California at San Diego and a Masters Degree in Public Administration for Non-Profit Management from the University of San Francisco. She has worked in education, activist and non-profit settings for over 30 years.
  • Chris Hellman, Communications Liaison, joined NPP after serving as a military policy analyst for the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation where his work focused on national security spending, military planning and policy, base closures, major weapons systems, trends in the defense industry, global military spending, and homeland security. Prior to joining the Center, Chris spent six years as a Senior Research Analyst at the Center for Defense Information. He also worked for two years as a military budget specialist at Physicians for Social Responsibility. Previously, Chris spent ten years on Capitol Hill as a congressional staffer working on national security and foreign policy issues. He is a frequent media commentator on military planning, policy, and budgetary issues and is the author of numerous reports and articles. He holds a Bachelors Degree from Middlebury College in Vermont.
  • Sara Lockard Silvia, Acting Development Director, has over twenty-five years of non-profit experience working to improve the well being of individuals and communities. Her work has encompassed administration, fundraising, human rights, training, diversity and finance. Prior to NPP, Sara worked with the Sisters of Providence Health Care System, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) and the Center for Human Development and Behavioral Health Network. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and a Masters Degree in Organizational Development.
  • Brendan Smith, IT Coordinator, has diverse skills and expertise in the field of IT. He has worked in infrastructure and development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and for various web design and development firms. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science from Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston.

Member of the FACT Coalition

National Priorities Project is a member of the FACT Coalition.[4]



External links



  1. About IPS, partners
  2. [1] NPP website, accessed July 2010
  3. [2] NPP website, accessed July 2010
  4. Members (accessed August 6, 2022)