Urvashi Vaid is an attorney and strategist who works in social justice movements.
Vaid is President of The Vaid Group LLC, a social innovation firm that works with global and domestic organizations to advance equity, justice and inclusion. Vaid is co-founder of the Donors of Color Network, the first cross-racial network connecting individuals of color to leverage their giving for racial equity; co-founder of the National LGBTQ Anti-Poverty Action Network, the National LGBT/HIV Criminal Justice Working Group, LPAC, the Equality Federation, the National Religious Leadership Roundtable, and the Creating Change Conference of the National LGBTQ Task Force, among other networks and projects.
Vaid has held leadership roles in academic, philanthropic, advocacy, and community-based organizations. She was Senior Fellow and Director of the Engaging Tradition Project at Columbia Law School’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, exploring how tradition-based resistance inhibits projects to advance gender, sexual and racial equity. Prior to joining the Law School, Vaid was Senior Fellow at the Social Justice Sexuality Project at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
In philanthropy, Vaid served as Executive Director of the Arcus Foundation, a global funder of LGBTQ social justice and great ape conservation from 2005-2010. She was Deputy Director of the Governance and Civil Society Unit of the Ford Foundation from 2001-2005, and she served on the Board of the Gill Foundation from 2004-2014.
Within advocacy groups, Vaid worked at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (now the National LGBTQ Task Force), serving first as its Public Information Director, then as its Executive Director. After leaving to write a book and organize, she returned as Director of the Task Force think tank, the Policy Institute. Vaid started her working career as a staff attorney at the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), where she initiated the group’s work on HIV/AIDS in prisons.
Urvashi Vaid is an award winning author and researcher, whose published work includes books, reports, articles and columns. She is author of the books Irresistible Revolution: Confronting Race, Class and the Assumptions of LGBT Politics (2012); and Virtual Equality: The Mainstreaming of Lesbian and Gay Liberation (1996). She co-edited an anthology with Dr. John D’Emilio and Dr. William Turner, titled Creating Change: Public Policy, Sexuality and Civil Rights (2000).
She is lead researcher and co-author with Ashindi Maxton of The Apparitional Donor: Understanding & Engaging High Net Worth Donors of Color (Advancement Project &Donors of Color Network 2017); co-author, with Catherine Hanssens, Aisha-Moodie Mills, Andrea Ritchie, Dean Spade, of A Roadmap for Change: Federal Policy Recommendations Addressing the Criminalization of LGBT people and People living with HIV (Columbia Law School, 2014).
Vaid’s community service includes serving on the National Board of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, The Provincetown Commons, the American Museum of LGBTQ History & Culture. She is a past board member LPAC, and the Roadwork Center for Culture in Disputed Territories.
Vaid is a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law and Vassar College.