August 29, 2022

U.S. Digital Response Announces Search for Next CEO, New Board Appointment

USDR interim CEO, Jessica Cole, prepares to step down in December as part of planned transition; Jennifer Pahlka will join its board of directors

U.S. Digital Response Announces Search for Next CEO, New Board Appointment

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Two and a half years after its founding, U.S. Digital Response (USDR), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that helps governments and organizations respond quickly and efficiently to the critical needs of the public, today announced the launch of a search for its next CEO. The planned search comes after USDR hit key milestones, launching three new funded program areas, hiring key organizational talent, building out its 501(c)(3) operations, and marking more than 900 volunteers placed and 330 engagements completed. In addition, as the organization readies for its next chapter of ambitious growth, USDR co-founder and former U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer Jennifer Pahlka will join USDR’s board of directors to help guide the search and in support of the organization’s next phase.

The CEO search will be led by the organization’s Board of Directors, coordinated closely with USDR’s executive team, and run by On-Ramps, a leading search firm. Applicants are encouraged to learn more and indicate their interest here.

Interim CEO Jessica Cole, who previously served as USDR’s Chief Operating Officer and is one of the organization’s co-founders, announced that she would step down from her interim position on December 1. She will stay on with USDR in an advisory capacity in support of current and future leadership. 

“It’s been my deepest joy to steward this incredible organization and mission into its next phase,” said Jessica Cole, interim CEO of U.S. Digital Response. “I’m grateful to have been part of the journey since our earliest days, and I can’t speak highly enough about everyone at USDR –  our founders, our incredibly talented and committed team, our volunteers, our board members, our supporters, our government partners, and, of course, our community as a whole. Even knowing all that we’ve collectively accomplished to date, I’m completely convinced that our biggest impact is still to come.” 

USDR launched in March 2020 with a vision to assist governments and nonprofit organizations in responding rapidly to the critical needs of the public by pairing them with experienced, pro-bono technologists. Building off of the leadership of its founding CEO, Raylene Yung, who now serves as the Executive Director of the federal government’s Technology Modernization Fund, USDR has partnered with more than 240 organizations in order to help deliver technical solutions for our country’s most pressing needs. Working on more than 300 projects that have impacted more than 42 million people across 38 states and territories, USDR has built a dedicated community of nearly 8,000 pro bono technologists who are ready to serve. 

"USDR served as an indispensable partner to hundreds of public servants during the pandemic, helping government help millions of people," said Jennifer Pahlka, USDR's incoming board member. "Today, thanks to a world-class team and the good-will of hundreds of volunteers and partners, the organization is doing even more good, getting ahead of crises by building government's capacity to keep up. I could not be more grateful to Jessica Cole and USDR’s current team for their exceptional leadership in setting USDR up for such a bright future. We are so excited for Jessica's next chapter as we move forward to ours."

USDR’s projects with partners span from country-wide solutions to community-specific needs. Notable highlights from the organization in 2022 include:

Additional highlights can be found in USDR’s 2021 Year In Review.

USDR’s board will transition one additional member as USDR co-founder Cori Zarek steps into a new role in public service as Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Digital Service. 

"Since its founding, U.S. Digital Response has so effectively channeled the collective desire of hundreds of talented technologists to pitch in and help. Thanks to the stewardship of Jessica, Raylene, and the executive team, USDR continues to be a magnet for civically minded, skilled technical talent - whether as staffers or volunteers,” said Janette Fong, USDR co-founder and board member. “Now, we are ready for our next CEO to lead us into our next, even bigger chapter, joining a phenomenal team on a mission that could not be more timely.”

To view the CEO position, visit:

To see staff positions open at USDR, visit or to volunteer at USDR visit To support USDR’s work, visit their giving portal

About U.S. Digital Response 

U.S. Digital Response is a nonprofit, nonpartisan effort that helps governments and organizations respond quickly and efficiently to better serve the public in times of crisis. When public servants are faced with extraordinary tasks, USDR’s team of pro bono tech experts brings the “extra.” Founded in 2020, USDR connects governments and organizations with a surge of technology, resources, and support at critical moments, leaving them better equipped to deliver services and support to millions of people nationwide. Visit to learn more.

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