Founder and Principal
Give Light Consulting
Matt Hammer was the founder and chief executive officer of Innovate Public Schools, an organization working to promote and initiate great public schools for all children through parent organizing, research/policy, and school development. Through Innovate's national training programs, dozens of organizations and hundreds of parent leaders have been trained to build local political power and win policy for their children. Hammer was the executive director of People Acting In Community Together from 2000-2012. Under Hammer's leadership, PACT led the effort to make Santa Clara County the first in the country to provide access to health insurance to all low-income children, launched the highest-performing schools in Alum Rock, created ACE Public School Network, and built one of the only large public school choice movements in the country initiated and driven by low-income parents. In the 1990s, Hammer was a community organizer with Oakland Community Organizations, where he built the organization's parent-led new schools campaign. This effort made it the most improved urban district in California for 7 years. Hammer's work is featured in Jonathan Schorr's book, Hard Lessons: The Promise of an Inner-City Charter School, and in Mark Warren's book, A Match on Dry Grass: Community Organizing As A Catalyst For School Reform. Hammer has advised organizations around the country seeking to build parent-led school reform efforts. Before moving back home to the Bay Area, Hammer was a staff organizer for Southern Echo in Mississippi and was the founding director of the Community Service Center at Duke University, his alma mater, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude. He and his wife Michelle live in the Bay Area with their two children, Mikaela and Mateo, and Mo Dog Hammer.