Date November 17, 2023
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Logan Danker: Making advocacy and public service more accessible

By empowering a more diverse generation of future elected officials and community leaders, the Brown University senior hopes to drive inclusive policy outcomes.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Baltimore might be the city he calls home, but Logan Danker can walk the neighborhoods of Providence with a precision and familiarity that rivals most lifelong Rhode Islanders.

That’s because during nearly four years as a Brown undergraduate, he has dedicated hundreds of hours to hitting the city’s streets. Sometimes he’s knocking on doors as a political campaign staffer, sharing information on candidates running for Providence City Council or U.S. Congress. Other times, he’s staffing a table at Kennedy Plaza, helping to run voter registration drives. Over the summer as he prepared to start his senior year at Brown, Danker interned with the Rhode Island Public Defender, conducting client interviews to support criminal defense cases.

Working in local policy and advocacy not only augments his studies at Brown, he says — it fulfills a commitment to community impact that is rooted in his personal experiences.

“As a first-generation and low-income college student, I saw how government and other institutions weren’t designed to support people from my community,” Danker said. “I see public policy as a powerful avenue to address those issues that I saw growing up. Ultimately, those are the kinds of problems that I would like to help solve.”

While he works toward his degree in history and international and public affairs at Brown, Danker has immersed himself in Rhode Island’s political and nonprofit world, determined to help break down barriers encountered by members of marginalized and low-income communities.

As co-executive director for Time to Run — a Providence-based nonprofit that aims to empower a more diverse generation of future elected officials, including people of color, women and younger elected representatives — Danker is working to make knowledge about running for office more accessible. He first joined the organization when he was a campaign volunteer for Corey Jones, a 2022 candidate for city council in Providence’s Ward 3, who co-founded Time to Run.

The organization creates illustrated graphics and short, animated explainer videos that break down step-by-step how to run a campaign for people who don’t traditionally run for office — which is the whole point, Danker said.

Danker is helping to advance the organization’s mission to inspire political leaders that more accurately resemble the diversity of the communities they represent. According to Time to Run, the average American is 38 years old, but the average age in Congress is 57, and in the U.S. Senate, it’s 62. 

Danker speaks at event
Danker commits roughly 10 to 20 hours a week of nonprofit work; here he speaks at a fundraiser for Time to Run. Photo by Time to Run.

“A lot of the training for running for office isn’t catered to everyday individuals like the working class or young people,” Danker said. “It could be hours-long online seminars or networking events that require travel and thousands of dollars to attend. A single parent or someone with a full-time job can’t commit to those things, but it’s a lot easier for them to watch a 5-minute video.”  

Danker is equally active on-campus as he is off-campus. An aspiring law student, Danker serves as editor-in-chief for the Brown Undergraduate Law Review. He’s also one of four undergraduate research assistants working at Brown’s Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy to analyze voting legislation’s effects on marginalized communities. Most recently, Danker formed a new pre-law society at the University to help first-generation college students successfully apply to law school.

Beyond that, Brown’s Open Curriculum has allowed him to explore new interests and learn a new language, he said.

“At Brown, I can focus on the things that I’m passionate about while also being free to explore English and economics courses — and I’ve started to learn Arabic, too,” he said. “I don’t think I could have done that anywhere else but Brown.”

While he’s still considering what comes next, whether he works as an attorney, policymaker or community advocate, he’s grateful for having the opportunity to address issues that impact the Providence community.

“It’s important that we, as Brown students, actively and positively contribute to the local community,” Danker said. “I think a great way to do that is to get involved in local advocacy and help fight for the issues that the community members are facing — and I’m glad I’ve had that opportunity to jump into those spaces.”