Common Purpose Project

Meet the Team

The Common Purpose Project is led by a team of experienced political professionals and supported by a board of directors with deep expertise in developing winning progressive public policy campaigns.

The staff includes:

Laura Capps
Managing Director & Board Member

Laura Burton Capps has spent fifteen years developing strategic communications and issue advocacy campaigns for the nation’s highest profile public officials, including President Bill Clinton, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Senator John Kerry’s presidential campaign, as well as leading academic and non-profit organizations. Capps has built a reputation as a respected advocate for environmental and climate issues through her most recent roles as Senior Vice President for Government Affairs and Communications for the Ocean Conservancy and as communications director for the Alliance for Climate Protection, the non-profit founded and chaired by Vice President Al Gore.

Clarissa Unger
Outreach Director

Clarissa has a background in advocacy, communications and political campaigns, having begun her career on the Obama campaign as the Deputy State Director of Kansas. She did press work as an intern in the State Department European Media Center in Brussels. During the 2009-2010 Congressional debate over climate change legislation, she served as the press assistant at the Alliance for Climate Protection, the organization chaired by Al Gore. While a student at the University of Kansas she worked at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics. Most recently she received her Master’s in Comparative European Politics from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland where she also worked at Transparency International Ireland.

John Bivona
State Outreach Director

John was most recently the Director of Special Projects at the DNC and was the Florida field director for Organizing for America and the Florida Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign. He was a regional field director in the 2008 Obama for America campaign.

Edgar Gonzalez
State Outreach Director

Edgar joins us from the Administration where he served as Program Manager at the Office of Personnel Management and the White House Office of Presidential Correspondence. He was a regional field director in the 2008 Obama for America campaign, and served as Outreach Coordinator in Illinois for Senator Obama.

Nicholas Kowalski
State Outreach Director

Nick recently ran a successful state senate race in Virginia and served as Rahm Emanuel’s Deputy Field and Political Director on the mayoral race and inauguration committee. He was a regional field director in the 2008 Obama for America campaign and 2009 Virginia Democratic Coordinated Campaign.

Maggie Thompson
State Outreach Director

Maggie joined us from the White House Council on Environmental Quality and previously worked in the office of the director at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. She was a regional field director in the 2008 Obama for America campaign.

Board Members

The Common Purpose Project has four board members in addition to Laura and will continue to expand to include other notable progressive leaders. Our current members are:

David Friedman
Founding Board Member

David has been active member of the national and international non-profit community for over 30 years. An original member of the National Finance Committee for Obama for America, David was in charge of Special Projects, including ‘Obama University’, a training program for fundraisers. He served as a Trustee of the Presidential Inaugural Committee in 2009, and has been active in the Democracy Alliance since its inception in 2005.

Carol Frillman
Founding Board Member

Carol has been active in a variety of political roles in both Washington State and Minnesota. Throughout the 2008 election cycle, Carol co-chaired the Minnesota and Washington Finance Committees, and the Native American Finance Committee for Obama for America. Currently, she is serving on the board for the West Seattle Democratic Women and the 34th District Democrats in Washington state, as well as the national finance co-chair for the Common Purpose Project.

Ricki Seidman
Founding Board Member

Ricki most recently served as Senator Joe Biden’s communications director in the 2008 general election. Previously, she served two years as Deputy Associate Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice. Ricki also served for three years as the executive director of Rock the Vote, a music industry-backed, non-profit organization that engages young people in the political process.

Frank White (2011)
Frank is the former Chairman and CEO of Advanced Concepts, Inc. which was sold to L1 Identity Solutions in 2007. After selling ACI, Frank became a member of the Obama 2008 National Finance Committee. Since President Obama took office, Frank has continued to work closely with the Administration to help improve the policies affecting small and minority owned businesses across the country.