Elizabeth L. McCloskey

Liz McClosky

President and CEO President & CEO Liz McCloskey sees her work at The Faith & Politics Institute as a privilege.  She hopes that the opportunities the Institute creates for Members of Congress to find reflective spaces and share transformational experiences will assist them as they cultivate the spirit in their own lives, so that they may be strengthened in their efforts to lead with vision and values across race, party and religious identities. A graduate of the College of William and Mary with a Masters of Religion from Yale Divinity School and a Ph.D. in Spirituality from The Catholic University of America, Liz spent her early career working on the legislative staff of Senator John C. Danforth (R-MO) whom she honors as a model of reflective and thoughtful leadership.  Liz has taught and published numerous articles and book chapters on faith, ethics and politics and is a former columnist for Commonweal magazine.  Liz has been married for 27 years to Peter Leibold, and she deeply admires their three college and high school-aged children:  Brian, Collin and Nora.

Doug Tanner

Doug Tanner

Founder and Senior Adviser Doug Tanner came of age in his native North Carolina during the Civil Rights Movement. His vocation is at the intersection of race and history, spirit and politics. As co-founder and long-time chief executive of The Faith & Politics Institute in Washington, DC, and now as its senior adviser, Doug has worked closely with Congressman John Lewis of Georgia and many other members of both the House and Senate, from both parties.

Nelson Watkins

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Director of Congressional Relations As Director of Congressional Relations for the Faith and Politics Institute (FPI), Nelson Watkins is responsible for working closely with Congressional Members, to establish strong relationships with Members and their Staff.  Nelson has held several key roles at the Faith and Politics Institute during his 10 year tenure.  His current role most aptly reflects his passion for communicating the goals of FPI by providing service to Congressional Offices.  Throughout his time at FPI Nelson’s attentiveness and work ethic has been reflected in his transitions from Office manager to Program Coordinator, to Senior Congressional Liaison and to his current role as Director of Congressional Relations.

Jennie Ellwanger

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Director of Development Jennie has been serving as the Director of Development since August 2012.  She was born and raised in New Jersey. She graduated cum laude from Wake Forest University in May 2010 with a degree in Economics and minors in Mathematics and International Studies. Jennie spent the Fall of 2008 in London where she interned for an international tax firm. Jennie started with The Faith & Politics Institute during the summer of 2010 as an intern and became Development Associate in October of 2010.

Andrea Wise


Originally from Seattle, WA, Andrea joins FPI with a passion and commitment to reconciliation. Andrea has a keen interest in Black church history and social change and has a heart to love God and serve people. Andrea graduated from Amherst College in May 2011 as a double major in Black Studies and Political Science and looks forward to engaging in the ongoing work of healing and racial reconciliation in the U.S. and abroad.