Seth Levi is the Southern Poverty Law Center’s chief strategy officer. He plays a leading role shaping the direction of the SPLC and its initiatives to achieve long-term impact goals.
Levi’s major focus is growing and developing the SPLC Action Fund, the SPLC’s 501(c)(4) affiliate organization, so that the SPLC can substantially increase its legislative advocacy; more regularly participate in — and eventually launch — ballot initiatives; and make independent expenditures in candidate races, to help achieve its goals.
He helped lead the creation of the SPLC’s Vote Your Voice program, which has committed $100 million from its endowment through 2032 to grassroots organizations dedicated to voter registration, mobilization and civic engagement. He continues to manage the program. Levi has piloted numerous projects at the SPLC during his tenure, including launching the organization’s voting rights and policy departments as well as the SPLC Action Fund.
His work has extended to the SPLC’s offices as he has overseen an initiative to transform them from conventional workspaces into catalysts for economic development in the neighborhoods where they are located and a resource for residents leading community empowerment efforts.
Before joining the SPLC in 2009, he worked as the director of strategic initiatives for an at-large Philadelphia city councilman. Levi’s legislative accomplishments included amending Philadelphia’s historic preservation code to allow the public interior of buildings to receive historic designation. Another achievement was one of the first laws in the nation banning the use of handheld mobile phones while driving. Other work has resulted in a complete rewrite of the city’s waste-hauling laws to prevent commercial dumpsters from blighting neighborhoods.
Earlier, Levi worked for Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell in a variety of capacities, including deputy campaign manager of his successful 2006 reelection campaign, which ushered Rendell back into office with a landslide 20-point victory. Levi has a bachelor’s degree in film studies from Cornell University. He received a master’s degree in arts administration from Columbia University.