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Kahlil Byrd

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Kahlil Byrd
Born Kahlil Julian Byrd
Residence New York, New York
Nationality American
Alma mater Morehouse College, B.A.
Harvard Kennedy School, MPA
Spouse(s) Sarah Haacke Byrd (2011–present)

Kahlil Byrd is the founder and CEO of FPPCO | Invest America Fund.[1] He formerly served as president of StudentsFirst,[2] a political advocacy group focused on education reform. He served less than a year in that role, leaving in July 2013.[3] Prior to that he served as CEO of Americans Elect. During the 2012 presidential election cycle, Americans Elect was a national organization that unsuccessfully sought to nominate and elect a third-party candidate for president[4] by attempting to put a bipartisan presidential ticket on the ballot in all 50 states.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Byrd holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Morehouse College, and a Master of Arts from the Harvard Kennedy School.[6]


Byrd started his career as a journalist, working for National Public Radio in Washington, D.C.[7]

He began his political career as spokesman and communications director for Deval Patrick's 2006 campaign for governor. He left the campaign in April 2006 to "return to business interests".[8] In 2007, Byrd joined the Patrick administration as Director of Gubernatorial Appointments.[9]

Byrd was also a Term Member and an International Affairs Fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations.[10]

Byrd is the founder and CEO of Forward Progress in Politics (FPPCO).[11]

Americans Elect[edit]

From 2009 through the 2012 election cycle, Byrd was chief executive of Americans Elect, a national organization that aimed to reshape the United States presidential primary system and place a bipartisan presidential ticket on all 50 state ballots.[5] During his tenure, the organization raised over US$40 million and established a fully functioning start-up with over 150 paid staff, 4,000 contractors and 3,000 volunteers nationwide. Over two years, Americans Elect had 3.5 million unique visitors to its website and acquired more than 450,000 members. No candidate emerged for president and the organization made the decision in the spring of 2012 to suspend the online convention.[12] was the winner of the 2012 People’s Choice Award at South by Southwest,[13] the Campaigns & Elections 2012 CampaignTech Innovator Award,[14] and two 2012 CLIO Awards for content and interactive excellence.[15]


Byrd served as the first president of StudentsFirst,[16] the grassroots education reform advocacy organization founded by Michelle Rhee. StudentsFirst is currently a multimillion-dollar effort to change the nation's legislative and policy education landscape and drive a national movement of teachers, parents, and students dedicated to reform. He was hired in 2012 to manage the organization's long-term strategy, operations budget and growth.[16][17] In announcing his departure, Rhee credited him with helping the organization, saying "Kahlil has successfully seen StudentsFirst through a critical growth phase", said Rhee. "He leaves the organization stronger and more prepared to challenge the status quo on behalf of kids".[18]


Byrd writes about political entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship. His is a contributor to,[19] The Hill,[20] and Independent Voter Network.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Byrd is married to Sarah Haacke Byrd [22] a non-profit professional[23] living and working in New York City.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Harvard Kennedy School. "Harvard Kennedy School – Winter 2015 :: From the Field". Retrieved May 21, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Michelle Rhee Names Kahlil Byrd as StudentsFirst New President – Los Angeles Sentinel". Los Angeles Sentinel. Retrieved May 21, 2016. 
  3. ^ "President of Rhee's group leaves". POLITICO. Retrieved May 21, 2016. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b "How Americans Elect's Kahlil Byrd is Starting a Third-Party Movement -- New York Magazine". Retrieved May 21, 2016. 
  6. ^ Harvard Kennedy School. "Harvard Kennedy School – Poll Vault". Retrieved May 21, 2016. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ "EX-Patrick press aide donates to Baker camp". Retrieved May 21, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Kahlil Byrd". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved May 21, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Republican Ideals". Harvard University. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Alec MacGillis: Our Centrist Savior Misses His/Her Deadline – New Republic". New Republic. May 15, 2012. Retrieved May 21, 2016. 
  13. ^ "Americans Elect Wins SXSW People's Choice Award". PCWorld. March 14, 2012. Retrieved May 21, 2016. 
  14. ^ "Campaigns & Elections Magazine Announces". TechPresident. Retrieved May 21, 2016. 
  15. ^ DigitasLBi UK. "Latest DigitasLBi News and Press Releases – DigitasLBi". DigitasLBi. Retrieved May 21, 2016. 
  16. ^ a b "Former Americans Elect chief may head Rhee's StudentsFirst". POLITICO. Retrieved May 21, 2016. 
  17. ^ StudentsFirst (January 4, 2013).
  18. ^ Byron Tau, "President of Michelle Rhee's Group leaves." POLITICO, July 12, 2013. Retrieved August 31, 2013
  19. ^ "Kahlil Byrd". Retrieved May 21, 2016. 
  20. ^ Retrieved August 18, 2016.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  21. ^ Retrieved August 18, 2016.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  22. ^ "Staff". Joyful Heart Foundation. Retrieved May 21, 2016. 
  23. ^ NBC4 in D.C. Highlights Choosing to Participate Initiative. November 9, 2010. Retrieved May 21, 2016 – via YouTube.