Seema Gajwani Leaves Public Welfare Foundation

Seema Gajwani, who came to the Public Welfare Foundation as a Program Officer in 2007, will become Special Counsel for Youth Justice Reform for the Office of the Attorney General for Washington, DC. Her departure is effective April 17.

Initially, Ms. Gajwani served as Program Officer for Criminal and Youth Justice before Youth Justice was designated as a separate program area in 2011. Since then, she has been Program Officer for Criminal Justice, leading the Foundation’s efforts to reduce over-incarceration of adults in the U.S., with a specific aim to reduce racial disparities.

During Ms. Gajwani’s tenure, the Foundation’s criminal justice portfolio has focused on pretrial detention reform that reduces the number of people jailed unnecessarily pending trial by promoting the use of risk assessment tools as well as release policies and practices. It has also supported sentencing reform that aims to reduce lengthy stays in prison as well as the number of people charged with offenses.

Before coming to the Foundation, Ms. Gajwani worked in the Trial Division of the Public Defender Service of Washington, DC. There, she represented juvenile and adult defendants accused of offenses from misdemeanors to homicides at trial. She also helped train investigators, new Public Defender Service attorneys, and students from Washington-area law schools in criminal trial practice.

In announcing Ms. Gajwani’s departure to grantees, Foundation president Mary McClymont stated that, “We at Public Welfare will miss Seema very much! I, along with our Board of Directors, am most grateful to Seema for all that the Foundation has been able to accomplish in our Criminal Justice Program for seven and a half years under her excellent leadership. We all wish Seema the very best in her exciting new venture.”


The Public Welfare Foundation supports efforts to advance justice and opportunity for people in need. These efforts honor the Foundation’s core values of racial equity, economic well-being, and fundamental fairness for all. The Foundation looks for strategic points where its funds can make a significant difference and improve lives through policy and system reform that results in transformative change. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter or on Facebook.

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