Shena Ashley is vice president of the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute. She uses research to help nonprofits, governments, and foundations achieve outcomes that contribute to healthy, thriving, equitable, inclusive, and connected communities. Her work combines academia and practice with a strong orientation toward community-engaged scholarship. Her research focuses on grantmaking effectiveness and nonprofit management and has been published in several journals, including Public Administration Review, Administration and Society, Nonprofit Management and Leadership, New Directions for Evaluation, and American Review of Public Administration.
Before joining Urban, Ashley was an assistant professor in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. She taught graduate courses on the nonprofit sector and on quantitative research methods. Before that, Ashley was director of research and policy at the Annie E. Casey Foundation Atlanta Civic Site. She led the performance tracking and evaluation activities of a major place-based community change initiative that integrated workforce development, education reform, and housing stabilization to provide opportunities for vulnerable families living in five of Atlanta’s most distressed neighborhoods.
Ashley applies her academic expertise and professional experience through sustained engagements with domestic and international foundations and nonprofit organizations in performance measurement, strategic planning, and community change.
She received her BS in agricultural business from Tennessee State University, MS in public policy from the University of Michigan, and PhD in public policy from Georgia State University and the Georgia Institute of Technology.
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