Prof. Orfield Receives Grant to Advance Institute on Race & Poverty
MAY 12, 2011—Professor Myron Orfield, Executive Director of the Institute on Race & Poverty since 2003, recently received a $400,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to support the Institute’s core operations of research, public education, and advocacy. The Institute strives to remove the racial and economic discrimination that create barriers to opportunity for communities of color and low income.
The Institute studied the rebuilt New Orleans school system post-Katrina, for example, and found that it fails to adequately provide equal educational opportunity to all students. In the Twin Cities area, its research during the peak years of the subprime lending crisis revealed mortgage lending disparities for people of color, and another study found underperformance of charter schools compared with traditional public schools, along with intensification of racial and economic segregation.
Recently, Orfield was among experts who provided commentary and perspectives in "The New Metropolis," a two-part documentary released nationally by PBS earlier this month that examines issues facing America’s aging first-ring suburbs. The film is the first public examination of communities built after World War II and considered at the time to be the embodiment of the American dream. Now, with crumbling infrastructures and the lure of newer suburbs, these communities face growing poverty and abandonment. His work will be the subject of a second nationally released PBS documentary in the fall.
Orfield teaches and writes in the fields of civil rights, state and local government and finance, land use, regional governance, and the legislative process. He has written three books, two dozen scholarly articles, and more than 60 policy reports on American metropolitan areas. In 2005-06, he held the Fesler-Lampert Chair in Urban and Regional Affairs, established to support research on Minnesota urban and regional affairs. He is an affiliate faculty member at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.
Recently, Orfield was a member of a bipartisan U.S. commission on fair housing chaired by Henry Cisneros and Jack Kemp. He served on President Barack Obama’s transition team on urban and regional policy, and he was appointed by Minnesota Chief Justice Lorie Gildea to the state court’s Committee on Equality and Justice.