Madeline Janis is co-founder and national policy director of LAANE. Under her stewardship as executive director from 1993 to 2012, LAANE became an influential leader in the effort to build a new economy based on good jobs, thriving communities and a healthy environment. Combining dynamic research, innovative public policy and the organizing of broad alliances, LAANE has helped lift tens of thousands of working people out of poverty and has won major health and environmental victories for communities throughout Los Angeles County.
In 2002, Ms. Janis was appointed by the mayor as a volunteer commissioner to the board of the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency, and then reappointed to that position by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in 2006. She served until the agency’s closure in 2012. She is also a Senior Fellow at the UCLA School of Public Affairs.
Ms. Janis led the historic campaign to pass L.A.’s living wage ordinance, which has since become a national model. Over the past decade, she has provided training and assistance to community organizations and unions in dozens of cities across the country, and is widely regarded as an innovator in devising strategies to create good jobs and healthy communities. She serves on the boards of directors of Good Jobs First, the Partnership for Working Families, Brave New Foundation and the Phoenix Fund for Workers and People for the American Way.
LAANE and Ms. Janis have received many honors, including the UCLA Law School’s Antonia Hernandez Public Interest Award and the Los Angeles Roman Catholic Archdiocese’s Empowerment Award, awards from the Liberty Hill Foundation and Office of the Americas, and numerous commendations from the Los Angeles City Council and the California Assembly and Senate.
Prior to founding LAANE, Ms. Janis served as executive director of the Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) from 1989 to 1993, where she helped lead a successful campaign to legalize and regulate the activities of the mostly Latino immigrant sidewalk vendors. During this time, she also headed efforts to combat civil rights abuses of Central American immigrants by the L.A. Police Department and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and helped tens of thousands of Central American immigrants achieve legal immigrant status.
Before joining CARECEN, Ms. Janis, an attorney, represented tenants and homeless people in slum housing litigation, and advocated for homeless disabled people who had been denied government benefits. She also worked for two years at the law firm of Latham & Watkins on commercial litigation and land use matters, representing many large companies throughout Los Angeles. She received degrees from UCLA Law School and Amherst College in Massachusetts.