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Policy Solutions Team

Maria Bernal
Policy Analyst
Emily Dowdall
President, Policy Solutions
Ira Goldstein
Senior Advisor, Policy Solutions
Alana Kim
Civic Data Manager
Marci Monaco-Vavrik
Policy Analyst
Michael Norton
Chief Policy Analyst
Jacob Rosch
Senior Policy Analyst
Michelle Schmitt
Senior Policy Analyst
Colin Weidig
Senior Policy Analyst

Policy Advisory Board

To further bolster our capacity, Reinvestment Fund’s team has an advisory board that offers feedback and direction regarding our methods and products. The advisory board includes renowned academics and practitioners with various areas of expertise.

Amanda Beswick began her career in mental health services at a time when large institutions were being closed and long-term patients were returning to the community. Housing issues were a significant barrier to people trying to rebuild their lives. As a result of this experience she pursued a career developing affordable housing, which culminated in a ‘special initiatives’ role at the Peabody Trust, one of London largest affordable housing providers. Ms. Beswick then moved on to the Oak Foundation, where over 17 years she built up a significant program of UK and US grant-making designed to address homelessness. Under her leadership the program expanded from service delivery to advocacy; broadened to encompass poverty as a major driver of homelessness; adopted a social rights lens and strategic litigation as an instrument for change; and recognized the part played by research, learning and capacity building. She recently left Oak Foundation to pursue independent work. Ms. Beswick holds a B.A. in psychology and english from Lancaster University and an MSc in policy studies from the University of Bristol.

Charles Branas is Gelman Professor and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University. Dr. Branas has conducted research that extends from urban and rural areas in the US to communities across the globe, incorporating place-based interventions and human geography. His pioneering work on access to medical care has changed the healthcare landscape, leading to the designation of new hospitals and a series of national scientific replications in the US and other countries. His research on gun violence has been cited by landmark Supreme Court decisions, Congress, and the NIH Director. Dr. Branas has also led large-scale scientific work to transform thousands of vacant lots, abandoned buildings and other blighted spaces in improving the health and safety of entire communities. He has led multi-national efforts, producing extensive cohorts of developing nation scientists, national health programs, and worldwide press coverage.

Marland Buckner serves as co-founder and principal of MB2 Solutions LLC, a social impact focused public affairs firm with offices in Washington, DC, and Richmond, VA. Buckner previously served  as Director of Federal Government Affairs for Microsoft Corporation in Washington, DC, where he worked closely with senior leadership and executive staff to integrate Microsoft’s philanthropic, policy, and political efforts. Buckner has served as a policy analyst at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and the Progressive Policy Institute, and his writings have appeared in a variety of publications, and he frequently serves as a commentator and panelist on policy and political issues. Mr. Buckner completed his doctoral examinations at the College of William and Mary and holds a certificate in Business Administration from Georgetown University.

Amy Crews Cutts is the President and Chief Economist of AC Cutts & Associates LLC. She was previously Senior Vice President and Chief Economist for Equifax and Senior Director and Deputy Chief Economist at Freddie Mac before that. With over 25 years of economic analysis and policy development experience, she is a noted expert in credit reporting, consumer and small business credit markets, loan servicing, securitization, residential real estate including home equity and price indices, and trends in employment and compensation. In 2015 she became a Certified Business Economist®, a distinction of professional achievement from the National Association for Business Economics (NABE). She serves on the board of directors for NABE and the National Business Economics Issues Council, and on several advisory boards. She has taught economics at Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Virginia, and was Assistant Professor of Economics and Senior Researcher in the Maxwell School for Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. Dr. Cutts holds a Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy in Economics from the University of Virginia and a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Mathematics from Trinity University.

George Galster serves as the Clarence Hilberry Professor of Urban Affairs at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Wayne State University. He has a wealth of experience in academic, governmental, non-profit and for-profit circles, and has published over 100 scholarly articles and book chapters, primarily on the topics of metropolitan housing markets, racial discrimination and segregation, neighborhood dynamics, residential reinvestment, community lending and insurance patterns, and urban poverty. Before going to Wayne State, Dr. Galster was the Director of Housing Research at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC. Dr. Galster is the author of the recently released Driving Detroit: The quest for respect in the Motor City

Karen Leone de Nie is an assistant vice president in the community and economic development group at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Their work promotes the economic resilience and mobility of families and places by improving the evidence base about relevant issues, sharing ideas and creating tools to foster what works, and building relationships across sectors to achieve these goals. Prior to joining the Atlanta Fed, she was a researcher at Georgia Tech’s Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development, where she led applied research projects on the social determinants of health and regional planning approaches. Ms. Leone de Nie also worked for the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan planning organization, focusing on real estate development and environmental resource management. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a master’s degree in city and regional planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Katherine O’Regan is Professor of Public Policy and Planning. She spent April, 2014-January, 2017 in the Obama Administration, serving as the Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. She holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California at Berkeley and spent ten years teaching at the Yale School of Management prior to joining the Wagner faculty in 2000. She teaches courses in microeconomics, poverty, program evaluation, and urban economics, and has received teaching awards from Berkeley, Yale, and NYU. Her primary research interests are at the intersection of poverty and space –the conditions and fortunes of poor neighborhoods and those who live in them. Her research includes work on a variety of affordable housing topics, from whether the Low Income Tax Credit contributes to increased economic and racial segregation, to whether the presence of housing voucher households contributes to neighborhood crime rates.

Wendell Pritchett is Provost and the James S. Riepe Presidential Professor of Law and Education at Penn. Dr. Pritchett has written two books, and his research examines the development of post-war urban policy, in particular urban renewal, housing finance and housing discrimination. Dr. Pritchett has specialized in real estate and housing law, representing nonprofit organizations involved in the development of affordable housing. Prior to his current position at Penn, he served the University as Interim Dean of the Law School and as a Penn Law professor. Dr. Pritchett also served as Chancellor of Rutgers-Camden, and as Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Policy for Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, who also appointed him to the School Reform Commission. He holds a Ph.D. in history from Penn and is an award-winning urban historian. Dr. Pritchett earned his law degree at Yale.

John Summers is a founding shareholder and attorney with Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller, where he also serves as Chair of the Ethics Committee. As a lawyer, Mr. Summers’ practice includes complex commercial, professional malpractice and misconduct, construction, health care, intellectual property and general business cases. Prior to attending law school, he briefly was an Economist with Glassman-Oliver Economic Consultants in Washington and a Junior Economist for the Council on Wage and Price Stability, also in Washington. He serves on Reinvestment Fund’s Board of Directors.

Dr. Mark M. Zandi is chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, where he directs economic research. Moody’s Analytics, a subsidiary of Moody’s Corp., is a leading provider of economic research, data and analytical tools. He is a cofounder of and is on the board of directors of MGIC and the Coleridge Institute. Zandi is a trusted adviser to policymakers and an influential source of economic analysis for businesses, journalists and the public. He frequently testifies before Congress and conducts regular briefings on the economy for corporate boards, trade associations, and policymakers at all levels. Zandi is the author of Paying the Price: Ending the Great Recession and Beginning a New American Century. His other book, Financial Shock: A 360º Look at the Subprime Mortgage Implosion, and How to Avoid the Next Financial Crisis, is described by the New York Times as the “clearest guide” to the financial crisis. He is host of the Inside Economics podcast. Zandi earned his BS from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania.