Autumn McDonald

Senior Fellow & Head of New America CA

Autumn McDonald is a senior fellow, head of New America CA, and a member of New America’s Leadership Team. Her work focuses on issues of economic equity, community engagement, resident voice, policy influence, and narrative change.

McDonald’s writing has been featured in numerous publications including Techwire, KQED, CalMatters, Brittanca Parents, and the Pacific Standard. Her article, “The Talk,” was published by Slate and her piece, “The Racism of the ‘Hard-to-Find’ Qualified Black Candidate Trope,” was Stanford Social Innovation Review’s most read article of 2021.

McDonald has more than two decades of experience working with foundations, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies on strategy, advocacy, and civic innovation. Before joining New America, McDonald served as a senior advisor to San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee through the FUSE Corps executive fellowship. During her tenure, she led the women's economic empowerment agenda, shaping policies and public-private initiatives to improve economic opportunity for women and families throughout the Bay Area. Prior to that, McDonald worked with FSG, a social impact consulting firm.

McDonald serves as Vice Chair of the board of directors for Lincoln Families. She has a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, a master’s from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a master’s from the Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy. She, her husband, and their three children live in Oakland.