Commencement 2014 Speaker
The Honorable Valerie Ervin
Executive Director, Center for Working Families
THE HONORABLE VALERIE ERVIN is the executive director of the Center for Working Families. She believes that policy and public engagement converge to create a space for change. Her work as a legislator focused on connecting government, business, education, and the safety net to serve the needs of all residents of the community.
As an elected official in Montgomery County for nearly a decade, she championed the vision that America succeeds when working families succeed. Her policy accomplishments include raising the minimum wage, expanding
universal prekindergarten, establishing the nation’s first countywide food recovery network, increasing childcare subsidies, improving childhood nutrition, expanding universal breakfast programs, and developing models for closing the achievement gap. She served as chair of the Montgomery County Council’s Education Committee, where she was an advocate for Montgomery College and its mission to provide postsecondary educational
opportunities to students who are often the first in the families to attend college.
Ms. Ervin served as the Montgomery County Council president in 2011 and made her mark as a strong, independent voice. She, along with her colleagues, weathered the storm of one of the toughest budgets in recent memory during the height of the great recession. Montgomery County came out of that year with a fiscal plan that has put the county on the road to recovery. Ms. Ervin is a woman who sees hard truths and focuses on innovative strategies for solving problems. She has said: “The Center for Working Families is elevating the discourse on issues of income inequality and social justice to expand our vision of the possible. We intend to forge new policy paths for making the American dream achievable for all families.”
She has received many awards for her public service including the Montgomery County Commission for Women’s Historical Archives Inductee, Washingtonian magazine’s Most Powerful Women Award, Maryland’s Top 100 Women from the Daily Record (2008 and 2012), the Phyllis Campbell Newsome Public Policy Leadership Award from the Center for Nonprofit Advancement (2008 and 2013), the John Greeley Award from Liberty’s Promise, and the Phenomenal Woman of the Year Award from Community Bridges.