PRESS RELEASE: GBPI President and CEO Taifa Smith Butler Stepping Down to Lead Demos

ATLANTA—Today, the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute (GBPI) announced that, after nearly a decade at the organization, President and CEO Taifa Smith Butler will step down at the end of June 2021 to lead Demos, a think tank dedicated to pursuing an inclusive multiracial democracy and economic justice for all. 

GBPI’s Board of Directors will begin a search for a new president and CEO who will continue to prioritize equity and the advancement of policies that expand economic opportunity and well-being for all Georgians. 

“Taifa’s leadership, people-centered vision and commitment to advancing prosperity throughout Georgia has transformed not just GBPI, but the way our state thinks about policy. Under her guidance, GBPI became not only a top resource for policymakers, but for advocates and Georgians from around the state who understand that public policy must be used to improve outcomes for people. She will be missed at GBPI, but we are thrilled to continue to watch her work to advance prosperity and an inclusive democracy in our nation at Demos,” said GBPI Board Chair and Tuskegee University General Counsel and Vice President of External Affairs Charles Johnson. 

“I am proud to have watched GBPI advance prosperity in our state over the last ten years,” Butler states. We have learned from Georgians in every corner of our state that they are ready for a new era, one where our state’s leaders listen to the will of the people and prosperity is within reach for all. Although I will miss GBPI, I am confident our talented staff will continue to advance racial equity and promote economic justice while I work with Demos to strengthen state-level work and eradicate racism and systemic barriers in the South and throughout the United States.” 

Throughout her four years on Demos’ Board, Taifa Smith Butler has brought her policy expertise, vision for America to reach its full potential and passion for serving others to our team. She simply has one of the greatest minds and one of the biggest hearts in this field. Taifa knows in order to uproot systems perpetuating the oppression of Black and brown people, we have to keep an ear to the ground and our eyes on the movement. Taifa is the perfect leader for Demos at this time,” said Joshua Fryday, chair of Demos’ Board of Trustees. 

Taifa Smith Butler has worked at GBPI for nearly a decade and has served as the organization’s top leader since 2015. Under her leadership, GBPI: 

  • Committed to ensuring the organization’s research, outreach, communications and internal practices considered and centered racial and ethnic equity and inclusion; 
  • Launched People-Powered Prosperity, a proactive campaign that sets forth a vision for how our state can leverage the economic power of our people. This campaign has seen several wins, and Georgia leaders from across the political spectrum have championed the policy proposals it sets forth; 
  • Expanded GBPI’s budget by 250 percent in six years by engaging more funders and investors who support the mission and vision; 
  • Grew from a staff of nine to a staff of 19. This growth allowed GBPI to dedicate more resources to higher education, criminal legal systems, immigration, as well as strategic communications and outreach; while maintaining a commitment to researching revenue, K-12 education and health; and
  • Became a model organization in the national State Priorities Partnership (SPP) network, where the work and leadership in Georgia have inspired other state policy efforts. Butler currently serves as chair of the SPP steering committee, influencing the direction of the national network. 

Butler’s last day at GBPI is June 30. She begins her work at Demos on July 1. 

About the organizations:  

The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute (GBPI) strives to be an anti-racist research and advocacy organization that advances lasting solutions to expand economic opportunity and well-being for all Georgians. We examine the state’s budget, taxes and public policies to provide thoughtful analysis and responsible solutions that address inequities in our state. We educate the public about complex issues confronting Georgia. We activate Georgians to call for policy solutions that put people first. We aim to inspire informed debate and decision-making, advancing our vision of fair and inclusive Georgia where everyone can prosper. 

Demos is an organization that powers the movement for a just, inclusive, multiracial democracy. Through cutting-edge policy research, inspiring litigation, and deep relationships with grassroots organizations, Demos champions solutions that will create a democracy and economy rooted in racial equity.

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The Georgia Budget & Policy Institute is a 501(c)3 organization. We depend on the support of donors like you. Your contribution makes the work that we do possible.
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