Joan Lombardi

Senior Advisor,
Bernard van Leer Foundation

Joan Lombardi Ph.D. is an international expert on child development and social policy.  She directs Early Opportunities LLC, focusing on innovation, policy and philanthropy. She currently serves as senior advisor to the Bernard van Leer Foundation on global child development strategies, as well as to a range of foundations on domestic early childhood issues including The Buffett Early Childhood Fund and the Pritzker Family Foundation. In 2017, she is serving as a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Social Policy.

Over the past 45 years, Lombardi has made significant contributions in the areas of child and family policy as an innovative leader and policy advisor to national and international organizations and foundations and as a public servant.  She served in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as the first deputy assistant secretary for Early Childhood Development from 2009 to 2011 in the Obama administration, and as the deputy assistant secretary for policy and external affairs in Administration for Children and Families and the first commissioner of the Child Care Bureau among other positions from 1993t to 1998 during the Clinton administration. Outside of public service, she served as the founding chair of the Birth to Five Policy Alliance (now the Alliance for Early Success) and as the founder of Global Leaders for Young Children.

Lombardi is the author of numerous publications including Time to Care: Redesigning Child Care to Promote Education, Support Families and Build Communities and co-author of Beacon of Hope: The Promise of Early Head Start for America’s Youngest Children.  She serves as the president of the board of Thousand Days, a member of the board of trustees of Save the Children and is on the executive committee of the Scientific Advisory Board for Grand Challenges Canada.