Rebecca Vallas is a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, where her work focuses on economic justice. Vallas joins TCF after a seven-year stint at the Center for American Progress, during which she helped to build and lead CAP’s Poverty to Prosperity Program, in a range of roles, including as the program’s first policy director and and later as vice president. Vallas also helped to establish CAP’s Disability Justice Initiative—the first disability policy project at a U.S. think tank—as well as the organization’s criminal justice reform work.
Forever a legal aid lawyer at heart, Vallas spent several years representing low-income individuals and families at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, where she began her work as a Skadden Fellow. In partnership with her legal aid alma mater, she co-developed the “clean slate” model of automated, automatic criminal record-clearing that is now law in Pennsylvania, Utah, and Michigan and advancing in additional states. In 2019, she co-founded the Clean Slate Initiative, a national organization supporting state efforts to adopt clean slate policies.
Vallas has authored dozens of policy reports on antipoverty policy, income security, disability policy, access to justice, and criminal records/reentry policy; testified before Congress and state legislatures on numerous occasions; and been cited and quoted in media outlets across the country. She is also the creator and host of Off-Kilter, a nationally distributed podcast about poverty, inequality, and everything they intersect with. Vallas serves on the Board of Directors of the National Academy of Social Insurance, was twice named to Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30” for law and policy, and later to Emory University’s “40 Under 40.” She received her law degree from the University of Virginia and graduated summa cum laude from Emory University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and was elected Phi Beta Kappa. In a past life, she was an operatically trained mezzo soprano. She’s the proud mother of four rescue kitties.