Erika Poethig is an Institute fellow and director of urban policy initiatives at the Urban Institute. Poethig assembles in-house experts to help local leaders draw insights from research and navigate policy challenges facing urban America in the 21st century. She also leads partnerships to develop new programs and strategies, translate research into policy and practice, and align philanthropic investments and federal policy.
Before joining Urban in 2013, Poethig was acting assistant secretary for the office of policy development and research at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, where she was responsible for research, policy, market analysis and program development assistance. During her tenure in the Obama administration, she also served as deputy assistant secretary for policy development and was a leading architect of the White House Council for Strong Cities and Strong Communities. At the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, she was associate director for housing. She also was assistant commissioner for policy, resource, and program development at the City of Chicago's Department of Housing. In the late 1990s, she developed Mayor Richard M. Daley's campaign to combat predatory lending, prevent foreclosures, and stabilize communities. Previously, she was associate project director of the Metropolis Project, which produced the Metropolis 2020 agenda for regional leadership around the major issues faced by the metropolitan Chicago area.
Poethig was a Phi Beta Kappa from the College of Wooster, a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Vienna, and has an MA with honors in public policy from the University of Chicago.