Passion is the common denominator for every pursuit that energizes Candace Bacchus Hollingsworth. She’s passionate about the power of community, passionate about service to that community, and passionate about advancing the effectiveness of public sector organizations. As a people’s champion, changemaker and advocacy leader with 15 years of experience navigating the nonprofit world, Candace is an engineer of social action who can organize seemingly incongruous people, places and ideas into operational synergy.
In 2015, the then-33-year-old was elected mayor of Hyattsville, MD, solidifying her place as both the youngest and first Black mayor in the city’s 134-year history. She quickly proved herself a champion for marginalized communities, implementing new policies to establish tax incentives for affordable housing in targeted redevelopment areas and establishing a $1 million relief fund for residents and small businesses decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic. To prioritize equity and shared prosperity in her demographically diverse community, she also worked to build strategic partnerships and programming to expand education, economic opportunities and civic engagement for young people, and at the same time, support the long-term sustainability of her city. Her greatest joy as an elected official, she says, was being able to identify things that needed to change and having the power to change them. After leading Hyattsville for six future-focused years, Candace stepped down as mayor in December 2020 to grow Our Black Party, a national organization she co-founded to get folks out, wake folks up and fortify a change-making relationship between the Black community and the political system. The signature passion that has defined her professional timeline also drives her current work as director of AmeriCorps programs at The Corps Network, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit where Candace manages a program that engages more than 900 youth between the ages of 16 and 24 in service opportunities across the country. The role allows her to tap into her gifts as a problem solver and a people connector, and although no challenge is the same, her goal is always to arrive at solutions that help guide young people to their individual greatness.
Candace is a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and earned a Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies from Emory University and a Master of Public Policy from Georgetown University, specializing in education, family and social policy. A native Memphian, she lives happily in a better, brighter Hyattsville, MD with her husband and two children, Ellis and Zora.
She’s a board member for the Prince George’s County African American Museum and Cultural Center, a Sisters on the Planet Ambassador for OxFam America and a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. When she’s not at work or building better community, Candace can be found somewhere writing, enjoying great coffee or bourbon, or making friends laugh with animated stories and eerily accurate impersonations.