Brandy Bynum Dawson


Brandy Bynum Dawson is the senior program director for Rural Prosperity and Investment at MDC. In this role Brandy leads MDC’s rural and capacity building work in NC and beyond, managing a state, regional and national portfolio of work. Prior to joining MDC, she most recently worked for four years as senior director of policy, research and innovation at the NC Rural Center, where she provided oversight and management of the Center’s research and policy agendas, and innovative programs/initiatives, while cultivating partner relations and cross-programmatic, internal center-wide initiatives.

Having previously served for five years as co-founder, and associate director of Rural Forward NC formerly at the Foundation for Health Leadership and Innovation, she worked with the Director and program staff to manage, plan, organize, and direct daily capacity-building services of community initiatives in rural North Carolina. Gaining a strong footing in the policy-advocacy space, she worked at NC Child for over twelve years, where she conducted research and data analysis, led policy campaigns, engaged elected officials, and facilitated numerous community-based projects.

Bynum Dawson has been active in the nonprofit community for more than 20 years as a professional, volunteer, and board member. She has experience providing community development services to agencies, communities, and coalitions in the areas of civic engagement, action planning, results-based facilitation, program implementation, and organizational collaboration. She has facilitated several long-term initiatives across a wide array of subject areas such as education, health, access to mental health and substance abuse services, and delinquency prevention.

She serves on various boards and committees, including the Camber Foundation, Kids Voting NC, North Carolinians Against Gun Violence and the NC Bar Association Juvenile Justice and Children’s Rights Section. Throughout her career, Brandy has been the recipient of awards for her dedication, leadership and commitment to effecting change for North Carolinians in the areas of rural community development, juvenile justice reform and health access.

A native northeastern North Carolinian, she graduated cum laude from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, receiving a bachelor’s in psychology with a minor in sociology. She holds a master’s degree in public administration from NC State University, with a concentration in mental health policy.