Economic Progress Institute names Nelson-Davies new executive director

WEAYONNOH NELSON-DAVIES has been named the new executive director of The Economic Progress Institute in Providence. / COURTESY THE ECONOMIC PROGRESS INSTITUTE
WEAYONNOH NELSON-DAVIES has been named the new executive director of The Economic Progress Institute in Providence. / COURTESY THE ECONOMIC PROGRESS INSTITUTE

PROVIDENCE – Weayonnoh Nelson-Davies, who served as managing attorney at Massachusetts-based nonprofit Community Legal Aid, has been named The Economic Progress Institute’s new executive director, the institute announced Wednesday.

Nelson-Davies will formally succeed Rachel Flum and interim executive director Margaux Morriseau on Jan. 18 to lead the institute and provide research, education and advocacy on policies that improve economic security and opportunity for Rhode Islanders.

The institute said Nelson-Davies – who began her legal aid career in 2008 – worked for Community Legal Aid out of the Worcester County, Mass., offices. She also oversaw multiple special projects with the organization, including the Asian Outreach Project, the Medical-Legal Partnership pro bono project, and the Veterans Legal Assistance Project, the institute said.

Nelson-Davies previously taught a civic engagement law-based course as an adjunct professor at the Community College of Rhode Island. In 2020, she received the Roger Williams University School of Law Alumni Public Interest Champion of Justice Award.

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“I am excited to lead the Institute as it moves with intentionality to uplift community voices and center racial justice in its advocacy for economic policy changes that meet the needs of families and improve the lives of Rhode Islanders and the economic stability of the state,” Nelson-Davies said in a statement. “I am grateful for the vision and legacy of [co-founder] Linda Katz and the late Nancy Gewirtz and the commitment and dedication of the Institute’s staff, board, partners, and supporters.”

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at Bessette@PBN.com. You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette.

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