Philip Cooper

Philip Cooper is a Western North Carolina native, an accomplished reentry expert, criminal justice reform advocate, and statewide change agent. He is the Founder and Chief Change Agent of Operation Gateway Inc., whose mission is to decrease recidivism by addressing social determinants of health for North Carolinians reentering after a period of incarceration. He is the founder of Voices of Affrilachia, a state-funded initiative that addresses the behavioral health stigma in the marginalized communities of Western North Carolina.

Cooper is an MLK Service Award Recipient, the Attorney General’s Dogwood Award Recipient, recipient of the 2024 Recovery Role Model Award for the Addiction Professionals of North Carolina, Appalachian Leadership Institute Fellow, and Leading with Conviction Fellow with Just Leadership USA. He is an ambassador for Just Economics of WNC and is a Recovery Ministry Leader at Revol Church. Cooper believes that those closest to the problem are the closest to the solution, which is why he is fully committed to teaching people how to leverage their lived experience to change the world.