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Ralph Gildehaus, JD

Senior Program Director

Durham, NC

Ralph is a Senior Program Director at MDC and leads its Economic Security and Mobility practice, which equips communities, leaders, and institutions to change systems and policies for empowering people and their families to stabilize finances, increase economic security, and improve economic mobility (towards MDC’s vision of shaping a South where all people thrive).

Current projects led by Ralph and his teams include supporting the Build Up Initiative, the Guilford Success Network, the Saint Paul Economic Mobility Hub, the Southern Partnership to Reduce Debt, the North Carolina Student Debt Relief Coalition, and the Human Services Workforce Learning Community. Past projects include supporting The Benefit Banks of North and South Carolina, the NC Get Covered Coalition and the NC Navigator Consortium, the NC VetsCorps program, and the Virginia Financial Success Network.

Before joining MDC, Ralph co-founded The Ohio Benefit Bank (OBB) and served as its director in Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. He also served as the co-administrator of Ohio’s first-ever statewide SNAP Outreach Plan. Prior to joining Gov. Strickland’s staff, Ralph was a litigation partner with Porter Wright Morris and Arthur.
Ralph served as a law clerk for Judge Lawrence S. Margolis of the U.S. Claims Court in Washington, D.C.; on the legislative and political staffs of former U.S. Rep. Bob Edgar of Pennsylvania; and as issues director for Sam Beard for U.S. Senate in Delaware.

Ralph has a Juris Doctor degree from George Washington University Law School, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Amherst College. When not working, Ralph serves as clerk of the personnel committee at Durham Friends Meeting. He served as a high school girls’ tennis team coach for six years and continues to play as a state-ranked tournament tennis player and captain for several USTA tennis teams.