About Cheryl Kagan

Cheryl Kagan's background includes work in all sectors-- public, private, and nonprofit. Her work has ranged from lobbying for gun control in Congress to protecting women’s reproductive choices and working to elect progressive candidates at the federal, state, and local levels.

A Montgomery County native and product of our public schools, Cheryl graduated from Vassar College with a degree in political science.  She returned home to make a difference in our community and later did graduate work in public policy at the University of Maryland.  She worked to protect our civil liberties, elect progressive, pro-choice Democrats, and enact the Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons Ban.

A lifelong Democrat, Cheryl served 8 years as an elected member of the Maryland House of Delegates representing District 17.  During her time in Annapolis, Cheryl earned a reputation as an independent-minded legislator and a strong voice for her constituents in Rockville, Gaithersburg, and Garrett Park on issues like fairness, public safety, fiscal priorities, and transportation.

After choosing not to seek reelection, Cheryl stayed involved in the community as the first-ever Executive Director of the Carl M. Freeman Foundation.  Under her guidance, the Foundation contributed over $1,000,000 each year to deserving nonprofit organizations primarily in the DC metro area.  In addition to grant-making, the Foundation created capacity-building programs and a leadership institute in partnership Montgomery College. These provided support for worthy nonprofit organizations working on behalf of the underprivileged, the environment, education, the elderly, and the arts.

In 2010, Cheryl ran for the State Senate.  Thanks to hundreds of volunteers, contributors, and activists, Cheryl’s energetic, grassroots campaign was called the "#1 Race to Watch" in all of Maryland.  Cheryl was endorsed by The Washington Post, the environmental community, NARAL, the Service Employees, the firefighters, and many other influential advocacy groups, ultimately finishing just 300+ votes shy of victory.

In recent years, Cheryl has worked at both the national and local levels.  As Executive Director of Americans for Democratic Action Education Fund, she convened expert panels on pressing policy issues on Capitol Hill.  In partnership with the Community Foundation for Montgomery County, she launched the Fund for Montgomery, raising private funding to continue important events like the World of Montgomery Festival and Community Service Day.  Since 2012, Cheryl has served as Director of Community Engagement for BBYO (a 90-year old Jewish teen leadership, volunteerism, and philanthropy organization), where she is responsible for community outreach, partnerships, fundraising, and media throughout the Mid-Atlantic. 

Cheryl has always been engaged in community activities.  She served as a Democratic media spokesperson; taught State & Local Government at the college level; and established a house concert series for national touring singer/songwriters.  She has volunteered her time for groups that include the American Jewish Committee and Leadership Montgomery (a proud member of the Class of 2002!)  In addition, Cheryl was appointed to the Maryland State Arts Council, the Charter Review Commission, and the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County.

Twice recognized as one of Maryland's "Top 100 Women," Cheryl was also selected by Montgomery County's Business and Professional Women as a "Woman of Achievement" and as both a Blaustein and Comay Fellow by the American Jewish Committee.  The Greater Washington Board of Trade twice recognized her for leadership on behalf of the Intercounty Connector, and The Baltimore Sun named her as one of their "Rising Stars."