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.
In 2012, Sarah Rosen Wartell became the third president of the Urban Institute since it was founded in 1968. Urban is an economic and social science research and policy organization whose more than 550 researchers, experts, and other staff believe in the power of evidence to improve lives and strengthen communities. During her tenure, Urban celebrated a milestone anniversary by moving into a state-of-the-art research and convening facility and launched its Next50—a strategy “to advance upward mobility, equity, and shared prosperity” by bringing the power of knowledge to help changemakers accelerate solutions. Under Wartell’s leadership, Urban aims to leverage cutting-edge technology and data science, understand and confront structural racism, and deliver timely, relevant, and actionable research to communities, capitals, boardrooms, and wherever innovators are pursuing bold ideas.
Previously, Wartell was deputy assistant to the president for economic policy and deputy director of the National Economic Council. She also worked in various roles at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
After government service, Wartell was the founding chief operating officer and then executive vice president of the Center for American Progress. Her work focused on the economy and housing markets, and she directed the Mortgage Finance Working Group and the “Doing What Works” government performance program. Before her tenure in government, she practiced law with the Washington, DC, firm Arnold & Porter.
Wartell serves on the boards of Enterprise Community Partners and Georgetown Day School, as well as Bank of America’s National Community Advisory Council. She previously served on the boards of the Low Income Investment Fund, the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University, and the Corporation for Enterprise Development (now known as Prosperity Now). Her areas of expertise include community development, consumer finance, asset building, and housing finance.
Wartell has a bachelor’s degree with honors in urban affairs from the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs. She has a JD degree from Yale Law School.