The Rev. Dr. Derrick Harkins is a principal in The Raben Group’s Issue Campaigns practice area, where he uses his extensive political and ministerial career to successfully form coalitions and sees initiatives through from beginning to end with exceptional results.
Prior to joining Raben, Derrick was an appointee to the Biden-Harris administration, where he served as director of the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). There, he developed, led, and coordinated the administration’s policy agenda affecting faith-based and other community programs and initiatives, and optimizing the role of such efforts in communities. Before HUD, he was director of Interfaith Outreach for the Democratic National Committee, where he also led faith outreach during the 2012 reelection campaign of President Barack Obama. At the DNC, he collaborated with elected officials, state party members, and additional stakeholders, to build events, convenings, and activities that offered the opportunity to increase constituency participation. While working as the director of Membership and Strategic Partnerships at the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Derrick led relationship management and engagement with member agencies and strategic partners that included human service organizations, houses of worship and faith institutions, policy and advocacy organizations, and other networks of influence. From 2015 to 2020, Derrick was senior vice president for Innovations in Public Programs at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He also served as chair of the Board of Odyssey Impact Productions and is an executive producer of several acclaimed documentaries, including The Rape of Recy Taylor, and, most recently, A Crime on the Bayou.
Derrick’s ministerial career began at the Historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York as an assistant minister. He served for seventeen years as pastor of the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington, DC. Before beginning his pastorate at Nineteenth Street, Derrick served as the senior minister of the New Hope Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, where he was also president of the Greater Dallas Community of Churches, and a founding board member of The Dallas Leadership Foundation. Derrick has been a guest lecturer on the church and social action at a number of colleges and universities, including Rutgers, Cornell, Iona College, Howard University, and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
He was a contributing author for The Audacity of Faith: Christian Leaders Reflect on the Election of Barack Obama (Judson Press). Derrick earned a bachelor’s degree in Broadcasting and Film from Boston University, a master’s of divinity degree in Church History from Union Theological Seminary, N.Y., and a doctorate in Homiletics as a Proctor Booth Fellow from United Seminary, in Dayton, Ohio. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, he and his wife Juli, a healthcare policy specialist, are the parents of two adult daughters.