Janice Nittoli Practitioner Fellowship

About the Fellowship

Leaders working to alleviate inequalities and support social mobility are often keenly aware of questions that, if answered, could result in significant improvements in policy and practice. Yet they rarely have the time or support necessary to fully explore these questions and produce answers that benefit their work and that of the field. The Janice Nittoli Practitioner Fellowship offers a unique opportunity for leading practitioners and their home organizations to advance evidence-based solutions in partnership with senior researchers at the Urban Institute.

The Janice Nittoli Practitioner Fellowship competitively chooses one practitioner each fall who focuses on inequality and economic and social mobility and can pose a critical research question about their work to be answered—or at least advanced—by the research, evidence-based analysis, and evaluation done at Urban. The Fellowship aims to:

  • empower a practitioner in the government, nonprofit, and/or social enterprise sectors to partner with researchers on a research concept with significant potential to reduce inequalities and promote social mobility;
  • engage nationally recognized researchers to evaluate and synthesize the best evidence available to shed light on the issues raised by the practitioner;
  • generate actionable insights that can inform policy and build the capacity of the practitioner’s home organization and others in the field to conduct transformative work; and
  • foster a culture of researcher-practitioner collaboration so that more research draws on experience from the field, and more organizations make decisions grounded in evidence.

Our Work with 2017 Fellow, Manmeet Kaur of City Health Works

For the inaugural year of the Janice Nittoli Practitioner Fellowship, the Urban Institute selected Manmeet Kaur, executive director and founder of the Harlem-based community health organization, City Health Works (CHW). CHW works to create healthier, stronger neighborhoods while reducing health disparities and health care spending through health coaching and care coordination. Working at the intersection of policy and practice, City Health Works’ vision is to implement a high-quality community health system at scale. Over the past year, we collaborated with Manmeet and her team at CHW to hone practical insights and data toward policy efforts to improve health care and address social determinants of health. 

2017 Fellowship Products

Honoring Janice Nittoli

The Janice Nittoli Practitioner Fellowship was developed with support from the Rockefeller Foundation to honor the late Janice Nittoli, the Foundation’s former associate vice president and managing partner. During her distinguished career, Nittoli provided leadership and strategic direction for the Rockefeller Foundation’s Campaign for American Workers, which focused on repairing and strengthening the work-based safety net. She also served as a senior executive at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the nation’s largest private foundation dedicated to improving the lives of poor children, their families, and communities. Nittoli also held several positions in New York City government, including senior positions in the Department of Health, where she managed the health system for the city’s correctional facilities. She retired as the President of the Century Foundation in 2014 due to illness.

Throughout Nittoli’s career, she combined a strong commitment to removing barriers to opportunity with an abiding belief that rigorous research and evidence-based decision-making could contribute to that cause. In honor of her life’s work, the Nittoli Practitioner Fellowship will support practitioners working toward social change and provide them with research and strategies to improve their workplace and communities of practice.

The Janice Nittoli Practitioner Fellowship is made possible by generous support from the Rockefeller Foundation. We are grateful to the Rockefeller Foundation and to all our funders, who make it possible for Urban to advance its mission.

How It Works

The Urban Institute encourages the fellow to spend a minimum of one month (30 days) in residence at the Urban Institute, but the time spent in residency does not need to be consecutive. The fellow will receive a stipend of $70,000 over the duration of the fellowship. They will also receive funds to cover related travel and lodging expenses.

How to Apply

We encourage mid- to senior-level leaders who are seeking to drive change in their organizations, communities, or fields to apply. The ideal candidate will have extensive professional experience (10+ years) working in the government, nonprofit, and/or social enterprise sectors, and a strong track record of success in helping vulnerable populations overcome barriers to opportunity and mobility. A master’s degree is strongly preferred. Practitioners should demonstrate that their work focuses on reducing one or more dimensions of inequality.