Lindsay Coates

Lindsay Coates is the president of InterAction, overseeing all management issues and institutional outreach to InterAction members and partners. A life-long advocate for human dignity, Lindsay currently serves on the steering committee of the World Bank Global Partnership for Social Accountability, the executive committee for Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN), and the boards of Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) and United State Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC).  She also served on the Obama administration’s task force on Global Poverty, was a Trustee for her alma mater the University of the South at Sewanee, and a board member for the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project and the Global Heath Council.

Before joining InterAction in 2008, she was the COO of Population Action International, a leading international NGO advocating for access to family planning services. Prior to her work in the nonprofit sector, Lindsay practiced civil rights law in various capacities. She began her career in Mississippi, and then served as chief of staff for the U.S. Department of Education, and an equal employment opportunity attorney at the National Gallery of Art.

From 2008-2009, Lindsay was a nonresident fellow of Seminar XXI, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for International Studies. She holds a JD from the University of Mississippi, a B.A. magna cum laude from Sewanee, and has studied at the London School of Economics.

Diversity Makes America Great: We Are a Nation of Immigrants

Two and a half years ago, the world was arrested by an image—the body of three-year-old Alan Kurdi on a Turkish beach.  He and his family came from the northern Syrian town of Kobani, the site of fierce fighting between Islamic State insurgents and Kurdish forces at the time. Many Americans saw both the pain and the unnecessary suffering caused by dangerous and unsupported migration. Compassion and horror flowed in equal measure, though still not enough is changing today. As evidenced by recent U.S.

The Art of Empowerment and Transformation From Within

Jesus' life was about strengthening the disinherited of the world so they could survive and empower themselves in the face of oppression and disenfranchisement from civic and economic power. Howard Thurman, the theologian, prophet and mystic wrote in his book Jesus and the Disinherited of a love rooted in the "deep river of faith," that would help oppressed peoples overcome persecution through belief in their own unique worth and dignity.

Addressing Sexual Violence in the NGO Community

The Silence Breakers emerged as Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” in a swirl of allegations of sexual misconduct and assault, exposing famous individuals in Hollywood, politics, journalism and other industries as sexual predators.  Survivors of sexual harassment and assault have stepped forward and launched a conversation that all of us, in every sector and slice of life, need to have, honestly and in the open. The NGO community, driven to promote the dignity of all and correcting power imbalances, must address sexual harassment and the inequalities that abet it.

Learning From Disaster

Extensive destruction and loss of life in the U.S. and our hemisphere from hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria will take a long time to heal. We wish for healing for the people of Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and other impacted parts of our country and the Caribbean. As we work to help in the aftermath, we must learn what these disasters have to teach us about successful recovery and addressing deeper injustices.

Honoring and Protecting the World's Humanitarians

The world is experiencing humanitarian crises in scope and scale not seen since the end of World War II. Famine like conditions threaten 20 million people in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, and Nigeria, and conflict is raging in Syria, the Central African Republic (CAR), and other parts of the globe. On World Humanitarian Day, August 19th, we honor the contributions of and risks taken by all who strive to alleviate human suffering and elevate humanity in time of crisis.  

United We Stand: A Preview of InterAction Forum 2017

Amid rapid changes and increased uncertainty here in the U.S. and around the world, the needs of and demands upon our community are also shifting.

Recent Executive Order Runs Counter to America's Values and Interests

Vivid stories and images of suffering and struggle from around the globe— Syria, North East Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen along with families caught in the global migration crisis—are fueling compassion and a will to act among Americans. In response to the administration’s proposed budget cuts to USAID and the Department of State, we see renewed bipartisan support for development as a key aspect of U.S. foreign policy.

Standing United in a Time of Uncertainty

At this moment, when institutions and norms of governance, economics, and human relationship are being questioned, finding common ground for discussion, much less progress, feels elusive. During this time of uncertainty it is essential for civil society all over the world to remember and renew our core values and mission. InterAction and our members are counted among the internationalists.

Congress Takes Bipartisan Stand Against Global Hunger

Seeing that your family has a steady and stable supply of healthy and nutritious food is a fundamental commitment—and mission—of all mothers and fathers around the globe. It's a value, a need and an imperative that crosses cultural, geographic, and gender lines. And today it's a principle that crosses partisan lines in Congress, with the final passage of the Global Food Security Act (H.R. 1567/S. 1252).

Reflecting on 2015: What Images Inspire You?

Images can accomplish in a glance what we try to persuade others of every day. We, who fight to end global poverty and promote human dignity, can quickly get into the minutia of microfinancing in Iraq or improving food security in Togo – and that is important.  But we don’t do this work only because it’s technically challenging or innovative; we do it because of how lives can change. 


Lindsay Coates's picture
Executive Office