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Home / Biography / Jim Bernfield

Jim Bernfield

Senior Vice President, Marketing & Communications

Jim Bernfield oversees Human Rights First’s marketing and communications efforts.  His work has always focused on using data to craft emotional narratives that brand organizations, elect leaders, and change policy. 

Before joining Human Rights First, he worked with a range of nonprofit, political, and commercial organizations, from the Alliance for Climate Protection to the Rockefeller Family Fund, the Los Angeles Dodgers to the last four Democratic Presidential nominees.  For Repower America, he amplified voices not typically at the center of the environmental movement in the fight against climate change. The success of his work at American Resources Network led to his creating the television documentary Rally Behind the Virginians and writing a chapter on communications strategy in Let the People Judge.  In electoral politics, Jim produced media that defeated Joe Arpaio, known as America’s worst sheriff for his disregard of immigrants’ and prisoners’ human rights. 

As President of the 1661 Foundation, Jim nurtured new generations of leaders from underrepresented communities.  At the outset of his career, he helped plan and lead the Chaney-Goodman-Schwerner Memorial Coalition’s bus caravan from New York City to Philadelphia Mississippi to highlight America’s unfinished journey toward social justice. 

Jim recently completed Me To Play, a documentary feature about actors with Parkinson’s disease who put up Samuel Beckett’s Endgame.  He wrote It’s Best Not to Know, a TV miniseries based on two sisters’ experience in the Holocaust. 

Jim holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Film from Columbia University’s School of the Arts.  He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Columbia College at Columbia University.