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Ralph Gildehaus, JD

Senior Program Director
Area(s) of Expertise: 
Work supports and poverty alleviation strategies

Ralph leads MDC’s economic security initiatives, including The Benefit Bank® of North Carolina, which has helped low-income families apply for over $59 million in work supports since 2010. Ralph and his team are also demonstrating and incubating related initiatives to reach vulnerable populations, including connecting uninsured people with health insurance; tax clients with free tax assistance, tax refunds and credits, and health insurance; and veterans and military families with resources and services through AmeriCorps members deployed with local organizations across North Carolina.

Before joining MDC, Ralph co-founded and served as the director of The Ohio Benefit Bank (OBB), in Ohio Governor Ted Strickland’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. According to an Ohio University report, the OBB in its first two years helped Ohioans apply for over $38 million in work supports. The OBB is now the largest effort of its kind in the United States, with more than 1,000 sites and 3,000 counselors, and has helped Ohioans apply for over $1 billion in work supports since 2006.

Prior to joining Governor Strickland’s staff, Ralph was a litigation law firm partner with Porter Wright Morris and Arthur. Ralph also 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 Congressman Bob Edgar of Pennsylvania, and as issues director for Sam Beard for U.S. Senate in Delaware.

Ralph received his bachelor’s degree in political science and law from Amherst College and a juris doctor from George Washington University Law School.