Charles Bell is programs director for Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine. He works closely with Consumers Union's advocacy offices in California, New York, Texas, and Washington, D.C. on a wide range of consumer policy issues, including health care restructuring, financial services, energy, telecommunications, and the environment. He also engages in direct advocacy in the northeastern states on Consumers Union’s priority campaign issues, and works with the External Relations department to develop grants, organizational collaborations, and events.
Over his 25 years at Consumers Union, Charles has helped to initiate and develop a variety of programs involving outside funding and external alliances, on health care, the environment, energy, and telecommunications. These programs have included grant-funded projects to develop consumer education materials about building energy codes, to expand consumer representation on state and federal energy issues, and to encourage consumers to purchase and use energy-efficient vehicles.
In New York, Mr. Bell worked to support the enactment of the Green Jobs - Green New York program to carry out residential retrofits, and served on the project advisory committee. He has also worked to improve consumer representation in state oversight of energy and telecommunications utilities.
He has written articles on health care and consumer affairs topics, which have been published in Consumer Reports, the Charlotte Observer, Gannett Suburban Newspapers, The Hartford Courant, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times, and The Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine. He is coauthor of “Covering the Health of Local Nursing Homes,” published by the Association of Health Care Journalists and the Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism in 2009. He has visited consumer organizations in Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, India, South Africa, and Vietnam to provide technical assistance and advice regarding consumer policy issues and organizational development.
Prior to joining Consumers Union in 1989, Charles worked as a research assistant for the Community Economic Stabilization Corporation, a nonprofit consulting firm in Portland, Oregon that promotes employee ownership. He also served as a research analyst at Northwest Environmental Advocates; executive director of the Oregon Fellowship of Reconciliation; and distribution coordinator for Oregon Food Share, a statewide anti-hunger program.
Mr. Bell serves on the board of Fair Health, Inc., a national nonprofit that is working to bring transparency to healthcare costs and health insurance information, based in New York City; and the steering committee of New Yorkers for Accessible Health Coverage. He also serves as co-chair of the Insurance Working Group for New Yorkers for Responsible Lending; the chair of the board of directors for Nonprofit Quarterly in Boston; board member for Housing Action Council in Tarrytown, NY; and vice chair of the National Jobs for All Coalition, based in Lynbrook, NY.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Antioch University. He studied at the Atkinson Graduate School of Management at Willamette University in Salem, OR, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in international business at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.