Leslie Acoca currently serves as Director of Development and Operations for Daraja Education Fund, a nonprofit that supports a secondary school in Kenya educating girls to become critical thinkers, progressive leaders, and architects of their futures.
Throughout her career, Leslie has founded and led a number of organizations working at the intersection of the justice and health systems. Her previous positions have included co-founder of Commonweal, founder and Director of Threshold for Change Inc., Director of the Women and Girls’ Institute at the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, and founder and President of the National Girls Health & Justice Institute. As a Stoneleigh Fellow from 2007-2010, Leslie developed and piloted the Girls Health Screen, the nation’s first evidence-based medical screen designed exclusively for girls in the juvenile justice system. Her work has been featured by The Los Angeles Times, Kaiser Health News, and NPR’s All Things Considered, among others. She lectures nationally, is a published author, and is the recipient of several awards, including the International Unsung Hero of Compassion award from the Dalai Lama.
Leslie holds a BA in English and sociology from Yale University and a dual master’s in counseling and psychology from the University of San Francisco.