Linda Stout is the Director of Spirit in Action. She has been a grassroots organizer and activist for almost two decades. As a thirteenth-generation Quaker born to a tenant-farming family, Linda founded a successful grassroots organization in 1985, the Piedmont Peace Project. PPP attracted national attention for its success in drawing leadership from within a working-class community, actively encouraging diversity, and empowering people who never had a voice in policy decisions to speak up for their own interests. PPP established itself in the midst of a daunting mix of well-organized corporate interests, including textile giant Cannon Mills and icons of the political right wing such as the Moral Majority, Senator Jesse Helms, and the Ku Klux Klan.
In order to work at the national level, Linda Stout accepted the Executive Director position at The Peace Development Fund (PDF) in 1995. PDF used Linda’s arrival as an opportunity to examine the direction of the social change movement and to explore PDF’s ability to move towards a clear, attainable vision of justice and equity. Under Linda’s leadership, PDF tripled its grant making capacity and initiated several groundbreaking projects, including the Community Media Organizing Project, the Southeast Training for Trainers Program, and the Listening Project.
Linda founded Spirit in Action in January 2000 to seek out transformative tools, models, and resources for building a powerful and visionary progressive movement.
Linda is the author of Bridging the Class Divide, published by Beacon Press in 1997. Her awards include a Public Policy Fellowship from Harvard’s Radcliff College and the Freedom Fighter Award of the Equal Rights Congress. Studs Turkle profiled her life in his new book, Hope Dies Last.
Linda runs her community garden and loves to garden herself and teaching the “old ways” of gardening by moon signs using passed down heirloom seeds. She is an avid bird watcher and loves nature. She lives in Asheville, NC with her wife, Angela and her two dogs, Shasta and Smidgen.