vice president, communications and public affairs, vera institute of justice
Mary Crowley is vice president for Communications and Public Affairs at the Vera Institute of Justice. A member of Vera’s leadership team, she leads its strategic communications and public affairs efforts, particularly around its core priorities of reducing the use of jails, improving conditions for people who are incarcerated, and securing equal justice in an increasingly diverse America. She oversees government affairs, media relations, digital media, crisis communications, and Vera’s editorial department.
Mary has led or been a key partner on a number of significant Vera initiatives, including communications around a 2015 American delegation to study the German justice system that was covered by 60 Minutes; National Prison Visiting Week, which included partnership with the Obama White House in 2016; the 2018 release of Vera’s Reimagining Prison report, which included panels simulcast from both New York and a prison in Connecticut; and its recent Webby-winning rebranding and website overhaul.
Mary has been a featured presenter for the Chronicle of Philanthropy and Story Movements at the Center for Media & Social Impact at American University; an advisor for Bring Down the Walls, a Creative Time public art project which turned an unconventional lens on the prison industrial complex through house music and nightlife; and various films on social justice and criminal justice reform, including the soon-to-be-released Just Mercy. She is a mentor for Future Global Leaders Fellowship, part of the Future Leaders Foundation.
Prior to Vera, Mary established and led a public affairs and communications department at The Hastings Center, a nonprofit, nonpartisan bioethics research and policy institute. There she launched a number of national initiatives, established a Washington, DC policy office, and co-produced an award-winning public television documentary for NOVA. She has also worked with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on its Cover the Uninsured campaign.
Mary holds a BA from Barnard College, and has done graduate work in philosophy at The Graduate Center at the City University of New York. She is a board member of the New York City Criminal Justice Agency, which works with the courts to improve pretrial release and reduce unnecessary jail incarceration, and an executive committee member of the board of Brooklyn Kindergarten Society, a 125-year-old organization providing quality early childhood education to Brooklyn families. She is always happy to talk about running marathons or complain about injuries.