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Kilolo Kijakazi
Former employee
Since coming to Urban I have been impressed with the organization’s commitment to ensure that our staffing, the work we produce, and our dissemination strategies reflect the diverse make-up of the country. This comprehensive approach intends to produce work that will attract a growing audience of people of color, women, and people outside Washington, DC, and to yield sound evidence upon which decisionmakers can base equitable policies that lead to economic and social mobility among communities that have been left behind.

Kilolo Kijakazi left the Urban Institute in January 2021.

Kilolo Kijakazi served as an Institute fellow at the Urban Institute. She worked with staff across Urban to develop collaborative partnerships with those most affected by economic and social issues, to expand and strengthen Urban’s agenda of rigorous research, to effectively communicate findings to diverse audiences, and to recruit and retain a diverse research staff at all levels. Kijakazi also conducted research on economic security, structural racism, and the racial wealth gap.

Previously, Kijakazi was a program officer at the Ford Foundation, focusing on building economic security and incorporating the expertise of people of color into all aspects of the work. She was a senior policy analyst for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a program analyst for the US Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, and a policy analyst for the National Urban League.

Kijakazi’s publications include African-American Economic Development and Small Business Ownership. She is a board member of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation; the National Academy of Social Insurance, and its Study Panel on Economic Security; The Policy Academies; and Liberation in a Generation. She is a member of the Washington, DC Equitable Recovery Advisory Group, advises the Closing the Women’s Wealth Gap Initiative, is a co-chair of the National Advisory Council on Eliminating the Black-White Wealth Gap, and was a member of the Bipartisan Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings. Kijakazi holds a BA from SUNY Binghamton, an MSW from Howard University, and a PhD in public policy from the George Washington University.

Research Areas
Wealth and financial well-being
Aging and retirement
Social safety net
Race and equity
Greater DC
Inequality and mobility
Washington, DC, research initiative
Racial barriers to accessing the safety net