Robert EspinozaSenior Director, Public Policy and Communications
Robert Espinoza is the Senior Director for Public Policy and Communications at SAGE (Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders), the country’s largest organization focused on improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older people. In this capacity, he established and guides SAGE's national advocacy program, which includes a federal program based in Washington, DC, as well as 26 SAGE affiliates across 19 states. He also guides SAGE’s strategic communications, which has earned widespread acclaim and numerous awards, including the 2010 GLAAD Media Award in Advertising for Outstanding Social Marketing, two awards of distinction in 2012 from the International Academy of the Visual Arts, and a 2012 nomination for a GLAAD Amplifier Award for excellence in advertising and social marketing. A regular commentator for The Huffington Post, Robert’s writing has appeared in Aging Today, Tikkun Magazine, NextAvenue.com and Public Policy & Aging Report, among others.
As part of SAGE’s national advocacy program, Robert leads SAGE’s efforts in the Diverse Elders Coalition, which comprises five national organizations working with low-income elders of color and LGBT elders to advance federal policy change. At SAGE, he designed SAGE Story, a national digital storytelling and anti-isolation program for LGBT elders, supported by the AARP Foundation; as well as SAGE’s Spousal Impoverishment Protection Initiative, which aims to secure critical protections under Medicaid for LGBT older adults in all 50 states. In 2012, he steered the branding and online launch of the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, the country’s first federally supported resource center for LGBT elders. Robert is currently overseeing a two year, historic national market research study of LGBT older adults ages 45-75, led by Harris Interactive. In 2013, he co-authored Health Equity and LGBT Elders of Color, a landmark policy report focused on health, racial disparities and LGBT aging.
Prior to SAGE, Robert served as the Director of Research and Communications at Funders for LGBTQ Issues, where he authored historic research reports on LGBT issues in the U.S. and around the world, including a first-ever study of autonomous LGBTQ people of color organizations in the U.S. and a first-ever study of LGBTI grantmaking and non-governmental organizations in the Global South and East. He also led the research and communications strategies for the Racial Equity Initiative, which helped increase U.S. foundation giving to LGBT people of color organizations and programs—from 2008 to 2010 a total of $36 million was awarded to LGBT people of color programming nationwide. He previously served as the Director of Communications at the Service Employees International Union Local 105, where he used innovative communications strategies to improve wages and secure health benefits for thousands of Colorado healthcare and building service workers.
Robert has served on national advisory boards for the National Education Association, Justice Matters, the Liberty Hill Foundation, the Audre Lorde Project and the Funding Exchange. He received his master's degree in public policy from New York University and his bachelor's degrees in English and Journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he graduated summa cum laude.