Sarah Wartell
Sarah Rosen Wartell
  • Profile
  • Outside Affiliations
  • I learned the value of having solid, data-driven analysis to inform policy decisions when I served in the White House. Urban is uniquely positioned to elevate the debates happening in Washington and in state capitols and city halls across the United States. We have more than five decades of experience conducting the highest quality policy research, modeling capacity that enables us to assess the potential impacts of a wide range of policy scenarios, and expertise spanning an unparalleled breadth of issues.

    Sarah Rosen Wartell, in 2012, became the third president of the Urban Institute since its founding in 1968. A nonprofit research organization of more than 650 staff members, Urban provides data and evidence to accelerate solutions and advance upward mobility and equity. Urban is a trusted source for changemakers who seek to strengthen decisionmaking, create inclusive economic growth, and improve the well-being of families and communities. Urban has delivered facts that inspire solutions, and this remains our charge today.

    Before joining Urban, Wartell was the founding chief operating officer and then executive vice president of the Center for American Progress, where her work focused on the economy and housing markets. She also served as deputy assistant to the president for economic policy and deputy director of the White House National Economic Council. At the US Department of Housing and Urban Development from 1993 to 1998, Wartell advised the federal housing commissioner on housing finance, mortgage markets, and consumer protection. She was later a consultant to the bipartisan Millennial Housing Commission. Before her government service, Wartell practiced law with the Washington, DC, firm Arnold & Porter.

    Wartell serves on the boards of Enterprise Community Partners and Georgetown Day School. She is also a member of the executive board of the National Academy of Public Administration’s Center for Intergovernmental Partnerships, the Sadie Collective’s Advisory Council, Bank of America’s National Community Advisory Council, and the Evidence and Equity Collaborative. Her areas of expertise include community development, consumer finance, asset building, and housing finance.

    Wartell has an AB with honors in urban affairs from the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, a JD from Yale Law School, and an honorary doctorate of public service from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. 

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    Outside Affiliations
    Bank of America National Consumer Advisory Council
    Enterprise Community Partners
    Georgetown Day School
    Trustee, Governance Committee Chair
    Sadie Collective
    Advisory Council Member
    National Academy of Public Administration Center for Intergovernmental Partnerships
    (Past) Low Income Investment Fund
    (Past) Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University
    External Advisory Board Member
    (Past) Corporation for Enterprise Development (now Prosperity Now)
    (Past) Fannie Mae
    Member, Affordable Housing Advisory Committee
    (Past) CLASP – Center for Law and Social Policy

    Urban experts are permitted and empowered to work and affiliate with outside organizations, whether serving on boards, volunteering their time, or providing advice and counsel. And Urban welcomes visiting scholars, nonresident or affiliated fellows who work for other organizations. These outside affiliations enrich our perspectives and our learning environment. We also require all paid and unpaid experts to disclose their affiliations to Urban leadership and follow rules governing their engagement to ensure transparency for audiences and independence of experts.