Eli and Phyllis

Eli J. Segal ’64

Photo of Phyllis N. and Eli J. Segal at Summer House
Eli and Phyllis Segal

Eli loved to get things done. His unique combination of optimism, vision and practicality resulted in ambitious and creative programs that have made a real difference in our country. Eli’s passion for citizen engagement has been brought to life in communities across the country every day in the youthful energy and talent of more than 800,000 young people who have served in AmeriCorps, America’s national service program. Millions of lives were transformed through the Welfare to Work Partnership, which Eli founded, to engage businesses in investing in the long-term economic self-sufficiency of welfare recipients.

Through his service to the McGovern Commission, Eli changed forever the way in which elections were conducted so that power was put in the hands of ordinary citizens rather than the political party machines. He was also a brilliant political strategist, an astute businessman and, most importantly, an extraordinary friend and mentor to so many people, from all walks of life.

Phyllis N. Segal 

For more than 50 Years, Phyllis N. Segal has focused her expertise and energy on social justice. She has been and continues to be an advocate for women’s and workers’ rights, preventing gun violence, and addressing other pressing community problems. She is currently Vice President of Encore.org, which empowers people over 50 to be a force for good.

Phyllis serves on the boards of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, and ReServe Inc. She was founding Legal Director (and subsequently President) of the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund. She also chaired the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and served as a Trustee of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts and National Institute for Dispute Resolution.

In the public sector, Phyllis was nominated by President Obama and confirmed as Board Member of the Corporation for National and Community Service, nominated by President Clinton and confirmed as Chair the Federal Labor Relations Authority, and served as Deputy Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and General Counsel to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation and Construction.

She was the inaugural chair of the Segal Program’s Advisory Board, and she partnered with friends and family to create this Program and shape its mission.

Eli taught me the importance of speaking the language of multiple sectors, bringing people together, and listening. He stressed setting high expectations, encouraging people to achieve them, but not micromanaging. [He showed me that] part of setting high expectations is the process of creating a vision for people.” – Mark Feldman, Segal Program Founder