Gregory Heller is a technology strategist at CivicActions, an internet strategy and web development consultancy dedicated to empowering social change organizations. Gregory has been with CivicActions since the summer of 2005 and in that time has worked on a myriad of projects including DefectiveByDesign.org and the associated anti DRM campaign for the Free Software Foundation, web development projects for the New York & Montana Leagues of Conservation Voters, The Labor Community Strategy Center, YouthBuild USA, The Smithsonian Institute Museum of Natural History and many others. Recently he has worked with many of the firm’s clients navigating them through a burgeoning social media ecosystem.
From 2003 through 2005, Gregory worked for the Office of the Minority Leader of the New York State Senate, David A. Paterson. As an employee of the Democratic Conference, Gregory was responsible for strategic technology planning, online communications strategy and data analysis. During the same period, Gregory volunteered for the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee where he performed electoral targeting and online communications strategy as well as grass roots technology strategy. During the 2004 Presidential Election Cycle, Gregory joined the John Edwards Campaign in early 2003, traveling to New Hampshire for the primary there and working in NY leading up to Super Tuesday. After John Edwards’ withdrawal from the campaign, Gregory joined Downtown For Democracy a political action committee working in the arts community registering young voters and raising funds in an effort to elect John Kerry and John Edwards.
Before working for The New York State Senate in February of 2002, Gregory worked for NY ACORN as a grant writer and legislative advocate on poverty and welfare issues including coordinating the NYC Living Wage Coalition and working with the Coalition for Access to Training and Education (CATE). It was at ACORN that Gregory really cut his teeth in activist technologies designing the Nation ACORN Database and working with New York State Voter Data to perform complex electoral targeting and narrowcasting for direct voter contact.
This was not Gregory’s first foray into electoral politics, or welfare and poverty issues. While studying at New York University he worked on the 1997 mayoral campaign of former City Councilman Sal Albanese. In addition to work for the State Senate and the DSCC, Gregory works as an independent consultant providing strategic technology planning and database services to non-profits, grass roots political organizations and political campaigns. Through his work with the Open Source Development community, Gregory has become known for providing valuable testing and feedback on open source web technologies including Organizer’s Database, AdvoKit and Drupal’s contributed modules.
Gregory is a member of the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN).
In 1996, Gregory became involved in the anti-gentrification movement in the Lower East Side, working with community garden groups and squatters through the Lower East Side Collective (LESC). Later he joined the Coalition on a District Alternative (CODA) an activist political organizations. In 1998, Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields appointed Gregory to Community Board 3 where he served for 6 years on the Economic Development Committee (as chair for 4 years) and the State Liquor Authority Task Force, the Technology Task Force and the Executive Committee.
Gregory earned his BA with Honors in Metropolitan Studies with minor in Architecture and Urban Design from the College of Arts And Sciences in 1999 and his Masters of Public Administration (MPA) with a concentration in Public and Non-Profit Management from the Wagner School in 2000. His honors thesis, “Push Them to the River: The History of Gentrification and Social Control on New York City’s Lower East Side” was adapted and published in the NYU Wagner Review in 2000.
At NYU, Gregory was active in the Baird McCracken Scholars Group and the Dean’s Advisory Panel. He also founded the Metropolitan Studies Society, was a sporadic contributor to the Washington Square News and involved in social and environmental justice issues through Earth Matters and the Student Labor Action Coalition. Gregory earned many honors including a President’s Service Award and a Dean’s Award for participating in the NYU community as well as his service to the broader community through work with Food Not Bombs and Good People Good food, two organization providing healthy vegetarian food to the homeless and hungry on the Lower East Side. He also volunteered at the University Settlement House teaching computer skills including web programming to neighborhood youth. Gregory also interned at the Urban Justice Center for two semesters working on the Homeless Outreach and Prevention Project and the Interfaith Coalition for Social Justice. Through his work in NYC in the last decade, Gregory has demonstrated a strong committment to economic and social justice causes as well as political empowerment of previously unempowered constituencies. His work with technology and data systems is a natural outgrowth of the desire to see the political process opened up to the broadest range of participants.