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JUSTINE SARVER

Senior Strategist

Justine Sarver has more than twenty-five years of experience leading campaigns and building organizations and movements that promote social justice. She focuses on creating strategic campaigns and building internal organizational capacity to create the conditions for social change.  

In her eight years as Executive Director of the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center (BISC), Sarver led the nationwide shift to use ballot measures as proactive tools for social change. Thanks to her leadership, advocates for reproductive, racial and economic justice now find themselves playing offense in ballot-measure campaigns, far more often than defense. While leading BISC, Sarver partnered with Wellstone Action to create the only ballot-measure training curriculum in the country and worked to dismantle the status quo in the way the progressive ecosystem conducted ballot measure campaigns, to ensure racial justice and equity were at the heart of the work. She also founded Victory 2020, a national collaboration of funders and strategists working toward a cohesive, inclusive ballot measure strategy for progressives. 

Before joining BISC in 2010, Sarver worked for President Obama’s election and transition team. In 2008, as the Southwest Regional Director at the Obama for America Chicago campaign headquarters, she oversaw campaign activities for many states including Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Maine, Washington and Oregon. Then she served as Deputy Chief of Staff in the office of Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2009 and 2010.

For twelve years, Sarver worked on candidate and ballot measure campaigns at the San Diego Labor Council, AFL-CIO, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, The ACLU of Northern California, serving as a political organizer, strategist, lobbyist in the state legislature, movement builder and leader. Sarver is a proud native of the Detroit area and a graduate of the Ferndale public schools. She received a bachelor’s in history from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, where she was the captain of the women’s water polo team.