Mark Gomez is the founder of the Leap Forward Project at the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society.  The project is dedicated to collaboratively researching and developing innovative ideas to tackle extreme inequality and drive enduring prosperity. 

Mark has worked with both labor unions and community organizations in California and Washington DC.  He began his career at the Service Employees International Union, doing economic and political research to support innovative industry organizing campaigns across the United States.  Subsequently, he was an industry strategist with the California’s Justice for Janitors campaign that lifted 25,000 hard working immigrants out of poverty and towards the middle-class.  

At the community group California ACORN, he worked with local chapters to develop and coordinate state-wide campaigns for great schools and to build more housing.  And at the Latino civic engagement organization SOL (a.k.a. Strengthening Our Lives) he developed a path-breaking workshop series “Coming to California,” in which people told stories of coming to the Golden State from around the world and across the country.  

Mark was born in revolutionary Havana, Cuba; grew up in the turbulent New York City of the 1960’s and ‘70’s, and now calls the Greater Bay Area his home.  After one year, he dropped out of the engineering program at The Cooper Union.  Then at the University of Chicago, he studied European and African history.  And then entered a graduate program at Cornell University, where he studied American labor and business history.