Robert EspinozaSenior Director, Public Policy and Communications
Robert Espinoza is the Senior Director for Public Policy and Communications at SAGE (Services and 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 27 SAGE affiliates across 20 states. He also steers SAGE’s strategic communications, which has garnered two GLAAD distinctions for excellence in marketing, and four awards from the International Academy for the Visual Arts. He currently serves on advisory boards for StoryCorps, the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and Aging Today, the national newspaper for the American Society on Aging. Robert is a frequent commentator for The Huffington Post; his writing has appeared in Tikkun Magazine, NextAvenue.com, New American Media and Public Policy & Aging Report, among others.
For 15 years, Robert has been a national policy expert, communications strategist, researcher and writer across multiple social issues and sectors. At SAGE, he most recently authored Out and Visible: The Experiences and Attitudes of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Older Adults, Ages 45-75, a research report detailing a comprehensive, nationally representative quantitative study on aging among LGBT people. Additionally, he leads SAGE’s efforts in the Diverse Elders Coalition, which advocates for policy solutions for older people of color and LGBT elders. He also designed SAGE Story, a national digital storytelling and anti-isolation program for LGBT elders, as well as SAGE’s Spousal Impoverishment Protections Initiative, which aims to secure rights under Medicaid for LGBT older adults in all 50 states. In 2012, he steered the branding and online launch of SAGE’s National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, the country’s first federally supported resource center for LGBT elders; in 2013, he co-authored Health Equity and LGBT Elders of Color, a landmark policy report focused on health, racial disparities and LGBT aging; and in 2014, he oversaw the branding for SAGE’s Successful Aging program, which is aimed at LGBT people age 45 and older.
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, with honors, 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.