Urban Institute Honors the Legacy of Retiring Board of Trustees Chairman Joel Fleishman

Today, the Urban Institute salutes the leadership of Joel L. Fleishman, who is retiring as chairman of its board of trustees. The board has selected Vice Chair Jamie Gorelick, a former deputy U.S. attorney general and a partner at the law firm WilmerHale, to succeed Fleishman as chair.

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Laura Greenback, (202) 261-5709, lgreenback@urban.org

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 22, 2014 – Today, the Urban Institute salutes the leadership of Joel L. Fleishman, who is retiring as chairman of its board of trustees. The board has selected Vice Chair Jamie Gorelick, a former deputy U.S. attorney general and a partner at the law firm WilmerHale, to succeed Fleishman as chair.

The board also elected Jeremy Travis, president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York, as vice chair. Travis chaired the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Causes and Consequences of High Rates of Incarceration, whose report was just released. Freeman Hrabowski, president of University of Maryland, Baltimore County, will also continue to serve as vice chair. Hrabowski chairs the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans.

Fleishman, a teacher, scholar, lawyer, author and leading expert on American philanthropy, has served on Urban’s board of trustees intermittently since 1977; he will continue to do so as a member until May 2015. He has played a critical role in the history of the Urban Institute, most recently serving as board chair for 11 years.

Currently, he is a professor of law and public policy at Duke University. He also serves as director of the Heyman Center for Ethics, Public Policy and the Professions at the university, as well as director of the Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society at the school.  Fleishman previously served as president of The Atlantic Philanthropic Service Company and was the founding director of Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy.

Throughout his career, Fleishman has been committed to bringing evidence to policy. Among many contributions to Urban, Fleishman helped establish its Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy in 1996. Fleishman’s leadership in philanthropy was honored by the Institute during a reception at the Corcoran Gallery of Art last Thursday evening.

Incoming board chair Jamie Gorelick announced, “In tribute to his legacy, we are establishing the Fleishman Innovation Fund, which will free Urban’s own researchers to pursue innovative inquiries that have the potential to advance knowledge and find solutions to critical challenges.” Urban Institute President Sarah Rosen Wartell noted, “I can think of no finer tribute for Joel than supporting the creativity of researchers, giving them more capacity to take compelling policy inquiries to the next step.”

Wartell also stated, “Joel will pass the baton to an experienced policymaker and advisor to presidents and CEOs, a woman with a deep appreciation for how evidence can improve policy. Under Jamie’s leadership, Urban will continue to build on its rich tradition of rigorous applied research while engaging new audiences around insights from evidence.”

Gorelick succeeds Fleishman after having served as one of the board’s vice chairs since November 2013. In addition to her role at WilmerHale, she is a member of the Defense Policy Board and the Defense Legal Policy Board at the US Department of Defense. Gorelick has served as both deputy attorney general of the United States and general counsel of the Department of Defense. She was a member of the bipartisan National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission) and a member of the CIA's National Security Advisory Panel, former President George W. Bush’s Review of Intelligence Committee, and former President Clinton’s Advisory Committee to the Presidential Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection.

Gorelick added, “Urban’s rich history, coupled with its commitment to evidence-based research, sets it apart as one of the most highly regarded nonprofit research organizations. We owe Joel a debt of gratitude for his leadership and guidance. We will miss his graciousness in managing the board, but we are lucky that he will continue to share his wisdom. I’m both proud to carry his legacy forward and enthusiastic to assume this role and work with all the leadership at a dynamic moment in Urban’s history.”

The other members of the Urban Institute board are J. Adam Abram, David Autor, Donald A. Baer, Afsaneh M. Beschloss, Erskine B. Bowles, Henry Cisneros, Fernando Guerra, Marne L. Levine, Eugene Ludwig, N. Gregory Mankiw, Annette L. Nazareth, Joshua B. Rales, Anthony A. Williams, and Judy Woodruff. Bios can be found here.

The nonprofit Urban Institute is dedicated to elevating the debate on social and economic policy. For nearly five decades, Urban scholars have conducted research and delivered evidence-based solutions that improve lives, strengthen communities, and increase the effectiveness of public policy. Their objective research helps expand opportunities for all, reduce hardship among the most vulnerable, and strengthen the fiscal health of government across a rapidly urbanizing world.

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