Brandon McDowell

Civic Design and Community Leadership Program | San Francisco, California

Brandon McDowell has over 20 years of experience working within the youth leadership field. He has used his education as a community planner, civic designer, and legal advocate to work with organizations and institutions across the country to support the healthy development of communities.

Brandon was born in Alaska and raised in Boston. He leveraged his individual experience to compliment his work as a community organizer, curriculum designer, and youth advocate. As a student at U-MASS Boston he developed a youth organization within the mixed-income community of Harbor Point (Dorchester) focused on youth needs and resource availability.

Brandon has a strong belief that when given support, access, and space, young people can develop the necessary tools to take action related to their community needs. This can lead to the ultimate impact on their own personal lives and the vibrancy of their communities. Brandon also worked as a youth organizer at R.E.E.P (Roxbury Environmental Empowerment Project) focused on Environmental Justice (EJ) issues in the Boston area.

Coupled with his love for the outdoors and the importance of an EJ framework, he traveled across the country working on a spoken word, social justice project as part of the 2008 Obama election campaign. Landing in San Francisco, he worked as youth development director at the Golden Gate National Park Conservancy. In this role, he acted as a “liaison” between the inner-city and the great outdoors, leading groups of youth from their neighborhoods to Alcatraz, Yosemite and beyond, in order to spread the experience of connecting with nature through their own cultural and economic lens.

While in San Francisco, Brandon also worked as youth director of SF Youth Leadership Institute and as a strategic consultant for the Institute at Golden Gate. Brandon landed back on the East Coast where he has worked as a consultant for several organizations in the Boston area. Currently, he is co-founder with Professor Aaron Nunes-Zaller of The Move: Civic Design and Community Leadership Program.