Ken Johnson joined the OCO staff this summer as our new Chief Operating Officer. In this role, he will manage the fund development, finance, data and administrative operations of the organization, and he will work closely with our Executive Director as part of the management team.
He is a native Californian, having grown up in Silicon Valley. He graduated from public schools and attended Harvard University, from which he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Government, with major coursework in philosophy, political philosophy, international relations, urban politics, and religion. While in college, he was involved with various forms of organizing, direct service, and advocacy activities on campus and in inner city Boston.
After college, Ken returned to California and worked at the State Farm Insurance Companies for thirteen years in a variety of management positions, including office operations, recruitment and training, and the leadership of State Farm’s Claim Automation and Procedures Department in Northern California that handled business process redesign, information technology rollouts, and computer training and troubleshooting.
Ken then went to Boston to work as Director of Policy Advocacy, and later as Executive Director, of the Dorchester Uhuru Project, a.k.a. The Ella J. Baker House, a nationally recognized youth advocacy nonprofit that was a key player in the Boston Model of community policing that eliminated youth homicides during a three-year period. Ken and his staff continued and extended the clergy, community, and police collaborations to deepen the Operation Ceasefire program and other reentry initiatives for returning ex-prisoners, and created the Operation Homefront/Hearts to Homes intervention strategy for youths at risk for gang involvement and entry into the juvenile justice system.
Ken returned to the Bay Area in 2004 and did nonprofit consulting and academic research. In 2007, he joined the City of Sunnyvale’s Environmental Services Department where he managed databases, conducted technology rollouts, did business process analysis, and handled budget reporting and general administration.
Ken is a published author of numerous open letters and statements, and essays about Restorative Justice, the Black Church, youth development and the role of religion and contemporary culture. He was a presenter at the Seventh Annual Telos Conference in New York City in 2013 where he delivered a paper entitled, “The Black Church and the Life of the Nation.” He has lectured or given symposia at numerous venues, including Harvard Business School, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Gordon College, Harvard Divinity School, the University of Virginia, Suffolk University Law School, the Boston Theological Institute, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), and the West Angeles Church of God in Christ (Los Angeles).