Ashley Blazer Biden
June 8, 1981
Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.
|Education||Tulane University (BA)|
University of Pennsylvania (MSW)
Ashley Blazer Biden (born June 8, 1981) is an American social worker, activist, philanthropist, and fashion designer. The daughter of U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, she served as the executive director of the Delaware Center for Justice from 2014 to 2019. Prior to her administrative role at the center, she worked in the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families. Biden founded the fashion company Livelihood, which partners with the online retailer Gilt Groupe to raise money for community programs focused on eliminating income inequality in the United States, launching it at New York Fashion Week in 2017. She is married to physician Howard Krein.
Biden was born on June 8, 1981, in Wilmington, Delaware. Her father, Joe Biden, is the president of the United States and previously served as vice president. Her mother is educator Jill Biden. She is the half-sister of Hunter Biden, the late Beau Biden and the late Naomi Biden, her father's children from his first marriage to Neilia Hunter Biden. Biden is a great-great-granddaughter of Edward Francis Blewitt. She is of English, French, and Irish descent on her father's side and English, Scottish, and Sicilian descent on her mother's side.
Biden was raised in the Catholic faith and was baptized at St. Joseph's on the Brandywine in Greenville, Delaware. During her childhood, her father served as a United States senator from Delaware and her mother worked as an educator.
Biden attended Wilmington Friends School, a private school run by the Religious Society of Friends in Wilmington. Biden graduated from Archmere Academy, a private Catholic school, in 1999. While at Archmere, her father's alma mater, she was a member of the lacrosse and field hockey teams. When Biden was in elementary school, she discovered that the cosmetics company Bonne Bell tested its products on animals. She wrote a letter to the company asking them to change their policy on animal testing. She later got involved in dolphin conservation, inspiring her father to work with Congresswoman Barbara Boxer to write and pass the 1990 Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act. Biden made an appearance before members of the United States Congress to lobby for the legislation.
Biden earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in cultural anthropology from Tulane University. During her freshman year of college, she worked at Girls Incorporated, now Kingswood Academy, as a camp counselor. She also interned at a summer program at Georgetown University, working with youth from Anacostia.
After college, Biden worked as a waitress at a pizza shop in Wilmington for a few months before starting her career in social work. She moved to Kensington, Philadelphia, and started a job as a clinical support specialist at the Northwestern Human Services Children's Reach Clinic, assisting youth and their families with accessing resources and working directly with psychiatrists and therapists.[deprecated source] She obtained a master's of social work degree from the University of Pennsylvania's School of Social Policy and Practice in 2010. She was one of twelve graduates who received the John Hope Franklin Combating American Racism Award.
Biden works as a social justice activist and social worker. After finishing graduate school, she gained a job at West End Neighborhood House, a non-profit organization, as their Employment and Education Liaison for adjudicating youth developing various employment and job skills training programs.[deprecated source] She worked as a social worker in the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families for fifteen years. While working for the department, Biden created programs for youth focusing on juvenile justice, foster care, and mental health. In 2008, she was listed in Delaware Today's "40 People to Watch" for her work in the department. In 2012, she joined the Delaware Center for Justice as an associate director, focusing on criminal justice reform in the state. She helped establish and run programs and services at the center focused on public education, adult victim services, gun violence, incarcerated women, and community reentry. Overseeing all direct servicing programs at the center, Biden worked with victims of crime, adjudicated youth, elderly prisoners, adults on probation and parole, truant youth, and Pennsylvania courts of common pleas clients who were eligible for mediation. In 2014, she was promoted to Executive Director of the center, and served in that capacity until 2019. She implemented a program called SWAGG: Student Warriors Against Guns and Gangs, endorsed by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, which provides educational resources and community-based support groups aimed at eliminating violent crimes and gang activity among youth in New Castle County.
In 2014, Biden criticized the death penalty, stating that it is not cost effective and wastes resources that could go towards victim services and crime prevention.
She founded the Young@Art program that provides resources and outlets for students to create artwork while they are detained in detention facilities, and then sells the art in the community. Half of the proceeds of the art go directly to the artists, and the other half goes into funding the program to buy art supplies and to pay the wages of youth who work at the community art shows. Through the program, Biden also teaches the students business and financial literacy skills.
In 2017, Biden launched the Livelihood Collection, an ethical fashion clothing brand, at Spring Place in TriBeCa during New York Fashion Week. The launch event was attended by Biden's parents and celebrities including Olivia Palermo and Christian Siriano. The brand collaborated with Gilt Groupe and Aubrey Plaza to raise $30,000 for the Delaware Community Foundation. Livelihood's logo, an arrow piercing through the letters "LH", was inspired by Biden's half-brother Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015. Biden stated that "[Beau] was my bow. His cancer brought me to my knees. I had no choice but to shoot forward, keep going, keep aiming at my own dreams."
Biden created the brand to help combat income inequality and racial inequality in the United States. All the proceeds from the brand launch at New York Fashion Week were allocated to programs for communities in need. Ten percent of the brand's continued sales are donated to community organizations in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, D.C. and the Riverside in Wilmington. Livelihood's products are made with American-sourced organic cotton and are manufactured in the United States. She decided to design hoodies due to their connection to the Labor Movement, and their symbolic significance toward social justice movements. The brand's website provides information about civic engagement and economic justice.
Along with Colleen Atwood, Barbara Tfank, Rachel Zoe, Bibhu Mohapatra, Betsey Johnson, Calvin Klein, Oscar de la Renta, Anna Sui, Paul Tazewell, and other designers and fashion houses, Biden designed outfits for 12-inch vinyl dolls of the Peanuts characters Snoopy and Belle for the 2017 Snoopy and Belle in Fashion exhibition. The exhibition kicked off on September 7, 2017 at Brookfield Place in Manhattan. It toured in San Diego, Los Angeles, and several other cities throughout the United States before closing on October 1, 2017.
In June 2020, Biden designed the uniforms for the staff at the Hamilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. as an offshoot of her Livelihood Collection The uniforms were unveiled at a private launch party. The hotel donated $15,000 to Livelihood.
In 2002, Biden was arrested in Chicago and charged with obstructing a police officer. She was leaving a club on Division Street when a friend, John Kaulentis, threw a soft-drink can at a police officer who had told him to stay behind a barricade set up to keep club patrons off of the street. The situation escalated and resulted in another friend, Kelly Donohoe, hitting an officer. As Kaulentis and Donohoe were being taken in to custody, Biden allegedly "verbally intimidated" an officer and was arrested. All three were released on their own recognizance.
In 2009, a friend of Biden attempted to sell a video, reportedly of Biden using cocaine at a party, to the New York Post for $2 million. Negotiations brought the price down to $400,000 but the newspaper declined the offer, choosing instead to publish a story about the alleged video. After the New York Post published the story, it was revealed that Biden had previously been arrested in 1999 in New Orleans for possession of marijuana, but the charges were dropped and she was released.
In 2010, she began dating Howard Krein, a plastic surgeon and otolaryngologist, after being introduced by her brother, Beau. They married in a Catholic-Jewish interfaith ceremony at St. Joseph's on the Brandywine in 2012. Her husband, who is Jewish, works at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia and is an assistant professor of facial, plastic, and reconstructive surgery.
Biden is a practicing Catholic. She joined her husband, father, and brother in a private audience with Pope Francis in the Vatican in 2016.
In August 2020, Biden spoke at the 2020 Democratic National Convention before her father accepted the 2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination. On August 6, Biden hosted an organizing event for Wisconsin Women for Biden to discuss the Women's Agenda, released by her father's campaign, and bring awareness to women's issues in the 2020 United States presidential election.
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