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February 9, 2021

A Special Message from TCI President & CEO Michael Cassidy

Several weeks ago, I shared the news with the TCI board and staff that I plan to step down as President & CEO in 2021. The board and staff’s gracious support of me in that decision has been heartwarming.

TCI is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. We’ve just adopted a bold and visionary new strategic plan that will be rolled out in the coming weeks. We have an amazing team of talented, diverse professionals deeply skilled in policy and advocacy who are thriving. And our organization is rock solid financially. So it feels like the right time to make space for an amazing new leader of TCI to chart a bright new future for the organization and the work.

It’s hard to believe how far TCI has come since we launched it in 2006. What started as a staff of one is now a team of 14 and growing. In that time, TCI grew into the state’s leading independent voice on state fiscal and economic policy issues. We’ve amassed a significant record of accomplishments, collaborating with partners to expand Medicaid, raise the minimum wage, strengthen the state EITC and unemployment insurance programs, boost state investments in public education, reform criminal justice policies, advance immigrant rights, and further efforts to end the criminalization of poverty in our state.

Sprinkled into all those accomplishments to advance policy change that improves the lives of families and working people in Virginia, has also been a big serving of defensive work. Over the last 15 years, TCI has collaborated with allies throughout the state to protect public investments in the programs and services we know are the building blocks for family economic security and opportunity.

TCI’s mission of providing credible, timely, and accessible analysis and information on policy issues that affect low- and moderate-income people in Virginia remains as vital today as it was when we first launched the Institute back in 2006.

TCI is so fortunate to have a strong, diverse, and engaged Board of Directors who have already begun a thoughtful and deliberate transition process to name interim leadership and select TCI’s next President & CEO.

That has allowed me time to discern what the next chapter of my own career might be. And I’m happy to share that after I leave TCI at the end of February, I will be joining the Annie E. Casey Foundation as the Director of Policy Reform and Advocacy. In that role, I will lead the Foundation’s work on federal, state and local policy issues, including economic opportunity, workforce development, health care, the social safety net, taxes, budget and immigration. It’s an exciting role working with the hugely talented team at the Foundation to set the policy agenda, strategic vision and related policy goals that are at the heart of their mission.

For years, I have kept photos in my wallet of people who I have met along the way and who inspired me in this work, just little snapshots of folks who lifted up their voices and told their stories and advocated for better health care or education or other needs. Tucked into my wallet; kept in my suit jacket; close to my heart, I would take those photos out occasionally to help ground myself or shore up my courage before testifying before a committee or meeting with a resistant lawmaker or even a potential funder for our work — just to remind myself why I do this work. It always helped give me the courage and confidence I needed. As I move on to this next chapter of my career to advance justice in our country, I will continue to hold their faces and stories and the many memories of the last 15 years close to my heart.

Much love to you all.

Michael Cassidy

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