Cecile Richards, former president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, serves on the Ford Foundation Board of Trustees. Before joining Planned Parenthood in 2006, Richards served as deputy chief of staff for Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California and played a key role in her being elected the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives. In 2004, Richards founded and served as president of America Votes, a coalition of 42 national membership-based organizations that works to maximize voter registration, education, and mobilization efforts at the grassroots level.
The daughter of former Texas governor Ann Richards, she was raised in a family committed to social justice and public service. Richards began her career organizing low-wage workers in the hotel, health care, and janitorial industries throughout California, Louisiana, and Texas.
Prior to her national advocacy work, Richards established the Texas Freedom Network, of which she is now a trustee, to advance a mainstream agenda of religious freedom and individual liberties across the state. The grassroots organization has grown to include more than 50,000 religious and community leaders. She is also a trustee of the JPB Foundation.
Richards received her bachelor's degree from Brown University.