April CallenDirector of Racial Equity Programs Purpose Built Communities
April Callen is a communications strategist, cultural critic, and equity advisor. For 15 years, April has helped nonprofit organizations and other sectors develop a deeper understanding of equity across race, gender, and class, and how to best apply it to their work.
She provides critical leadership to and project management of all aspects of Purpose Built and the network’s racial equity and justice work, including the Truist Foundation Racial Equity Ambassadors program. A cultural critic and communications strategist by training, April has analyzed popular media and communications, politics, and culture to identify necessary intervention points to tell new, more affirming stories about Black people and other people of the global majority for more than ten years. Collaborating with media and nonprofit organizations through various platforms across different issue areas, April’s practice is to support advocates in developing deeper understandings of racial equity, gender justice, and economic mobility and applying those lessons to their own work in purposeful, creative, and engaging ways.
Before joining Purpose Built, April was a principal strategist at the FrameWorks Institute, a communications think tank based in Washington, DC. There, April worked alongside a multi-disciplinary team of social scientists to advance the organization’s strategic outreach and engagement initiatives with partners across various advocacy fields, including housing, education, health, and human services. During her time at FrameWorks, April co-led a project to reframe intergenerational poverty and race to support Purpose Built’s narrative change strategies. April also led FrameWorks’ equity working group and external communications efforts. Prior to joining FrameWorks, April was the manager of communications at Chicago Foundation for Women and a frequent on-air contributor to Vocalo, a next-generation radio station part of Chicago Public Media. She holds a BA in communications and rhetoric studies from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta and an MA in media, culture, and society from DePaul University in Chicago.
- April Callen and Jenni Kotting, Anti-racism and equity in schools is empirical, not ideological, K-12 Dive, October 2021.
- Here’s How Nonprofits Can Get Americans to Fight the Racism Laid Bare by Covid-19, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, 2020.
- April Callen and Lauren Jacobs, Schools Need Resources to Help Us Get Through This Tough Time, Education Post, September 2020.