Press Releases Urban Institute Adds Four New Leaders to Its Board of Trustees
Display Date

December 4, 2019 – The Urban Institute has elected four new members to its board of trustees: Kenneth Bacon, cofounder and managing partner of RailField Partners; W. Matthew Kelly, CEO of JBG SMITH; Brian Kreiter, cofounder of LIFT and management committee member at Bridgewater Associates; and Dr. David A. Thomas, president of Morehouse College.

“Our newest trustees round out an ambitious group of diverse leaders with strong track records in creative thinking and entrepreneurship,” said board chair Jamie Gorelick. “This is the high-caliber talent we need guiding Urban as we take on new bodies of research and policy work to address the pressing challenges of today and the next 50 years.”

The Urban Institute, a nonprofit research organization, was founded just over 50 years ago to solve problems and improve decisions, lives, and communities. Inspired by this milestone anniversary, Urban’s scholars are launching new initiatives and partnering with people who are driving social change and can help achieve equity, upward mobility, shared prosperity, and racial justice.

“As Urban strives to provide the data and evidence to advance bold solutions over the next 50 years, these four leaders will bring cutting-edge and road-tested ideas in housing and community development, technology and data science, and higher education,” said Urban Institute president Sarah Rosen Wartell. “With their leadership, we will strengthen our ability to deliver the type of research that changemakers need to close equity gaps and ensure more people can thrive.”

This marks the first of three possible three-year terms.


Kenneth Bacon is cofounder and managing partner at RailField Partners. Before forming RailField, Bacon spent 19 years at Fannie Mae, most recently as the executive vice president and head of the multifamily business. He was previously director of the Office of Securitization for the Resolution Trust Corporation and held officer positions at Morgan Stanley and Kidder Peabody. Bacon currently serves on the board of directors of Comcast Corporation, Ally Financial, Welltower, and Dominium. He is active in several nonprofit and trade groups, including as a board member of the Real Estate Executive Council, National Multifamily Housing Council, and Martha’s Table.

W. Matthew Kelly is CEO of JBG SMITH and a member of the board of trustees. Before the formation of JBG SMITH, Kelly served as a managing partner of the JBG Companies and a member of the executive committee and investment committee. He previously co-headed the firm's investments group and was primarily responsible for JBG’s investment strategy and the investment and acquisition activity of the JBG Investment Funds. Before joining the JBG Companies in 2004, Kelly cofounded ODAC Inc., a media software company, and worked in private equity and investment banking with Thomas H. Lee Partners in Boston and Goldman Sachs, & Co in New York.

Brian Kreiter is a director at Bridgewater Associates, a globally recognized investment manager overseeing $160 billion for clients including foreign governments, central banks, corporate and public pension funds, endowments, and charitable foundations, where he has had various leadership roles over a decade-long tenure. He also serves as the lead director of Elemental Cognition, an artificial intelligence firm he helped launch in partnership between Bridgewater and Dr. David Ferrucci, and coleads Bridgewater’s ESG working group. Previously, Kreiter was a management consultant with McKinsey & Company. While an undergraduate, he cofounded LIFT, a national organization that empowers families to break the cycle of poverty. Kreiter currently acts as an advisor to Renovo Financial and serves on the boards of the Finance Leaders Fellowship at the Aspen Institute and the Open Door Shelter in Norwalk, Connecticut. He holds a BA from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

David A. Thomas is the president of Morehouse College. He has more than 30 years of experience in higher education and is a national expert in organizational change and workplace diversity issues. Previously, he was the dean of Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and served for two decades as a professor and administrator at Harvard University, where he returned in 2017 as the H. Naylor Fitzhugh Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. Thomas is also a former assistant professor of management at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a doctorate in organizational behavior studies and a master’s of philosophy in organizational behavior, both from Yale University. He also has a master’s degree in organizational psychology from Columbia University and a bachelor of administrative sciences degree from Yale University. Thomas is an active member of several boards, including the board of directors of DTE Energy, the American Red Cross, and Commonfund.


A full list of Urban Institute trustees can be found here.