Urban Institute

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Urban Institute

The Urban Institute is an industry-funded[1] nonprofit organization that, according to its mission statement, "conducts research, evaluates programs, offers technical assistance overseas, and educates Americans on social and economic issues."[2]

The Urban Institute distributes its research findings to "policymakers, program administrators, business, academics, and the public online and through reports and scholarly books."[3]


In the mid-1960s, President Johnson created a "commission of civic leaders who recommended chartering a center" to do "independent nonpartisan analysis." The Urban Institute was founded in 1968 as that charter.[4]


In 2010, industry funders of the Urban Institute included CIGNA Corporation and Pfizer. Other major donors included the Popplestone Foundation and the Price Family Charitable Fund.[5]

Policy Centers

The Urban Institute Policy Centers are:

Education Policy

The Education Policy Center conducts research on “education reforms involving accountability, school vouchers, standards, after-school programs, technology, teacher quality, and the new increased flexibility in using federal funds.”

The Education Policy Center also takes part in a project called the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER, or Calder Center), a federally-funded nonprofit organization that conducts education reform research using state administrative “longitudinal databases,” which track information about students, teachers, and schools over time.[6] The Calder Center has several industry-funded and conservative think-tank members in management, on the advisory board, and working as independent researchers. In the states of Washington and Texas, all the Calder Center researchers are also members of the industry-funded nonprofits Center for Education Data and Research and Texas Schools Project, respectively.

The Education Policy Center research staff includes:

  • Zeyu Xu, also a Calder Center researcher

Health Policy

The Health Policy Center conducts independent research on health care and health insurance.

Income & Benefits Policy

The Income and Benefits Policy Center studies “how public policy influences the behavior and economic well-being of families, particularly the disabled, the elderly, and those with low incomes.”

International Development and Governance

The Center on International Development and Governance develops “policy analysis” after working with “central and local government officials, international development agencies, and international financial institutions.”

Justice Policy

The Justice Policy Center researches “justice and public safety policies and practices at the national, state, and local level.”

Labor, Human Services & Population

The Center on Labor, Human Services, & Population “analyzes employment and income trends, studies how the U.S. population is growing and changing, and evaluates programs dealing with homelessness, child welfare, and job training. The center also works on immigration, mortality, sexual and reproductive health, adolescent risk behavior, child care, domestic violence, and youth development.”

Metropolitan Housing & Communities

The Metropolitan Housing & Communities Policy Center investigates “federal, state, and local public policies that govern urban housing and neighborhoods.”

Nonprofits & Philanthropy

The Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy Projects studies nonprofits, governmental contracting and grants, nonprofit governance, and philanthropy projects. Their Emerging Issues in Philanthropy Seminar Series is conducted in collaboration with the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University.


Accessed March 2011: [7]

Former Officers

Accessed August 2008: [8]


2011 Trustees

Accessed March 2011:[9]

2008 Trustees

Accessed August 2008:[10]

Life Trustees

Accessed March 2011:[11]


Web: http://www.urban.org

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. "2010 Donors List," "Urban Institute," accessed March 22, 2011.
  2. [1], Urban Institute, accessed March 22, 2011.
  3. [2], Urban Institute, accessed March 22, 2011.
  4. [3], Urban Institute, accessed March 22, 2011.
  5. "2010 Donors List," "Urban Institute," accessed March 22, 2011.
  6. “What are Longitudinal Data?”, Urban Institute, retrieved 3/22/2011.
  7. Officers, Urban Institute, accessed March 23, 2011
  8. Officers, Urban Institute, accessed August 29, 2008.
  9. “Trustees,” “Urban Institute,” accessed March 22, 2011.
  10. Trustees, Urban Institute, accessed August 29, 2008.
  11. “Trustees,” “Urban Institute,” accessed March 22, 2011.

External resources

Urban Institute

Calder Center