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Jeremy Nowak

headshot of Jeremy Nowak

Distinguished Visiting Fellow
Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation

Jeremy Nowak is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation. He also consults in urban development and investment ( for national philanthropies, investors, and family offices.

As President of the William Penn Foundation in 2011 and 2012, he developed a blueprint for their grant making. As the founding CEO of Reinvestment Fund (RF), one of the nation’s leading development financial institutions, he oversaw the allocation of more than $1 billion in support of housing, small businesses, and community facilities. He also founded a real estate development firm (Development Partners) and spatial analytics company (PolicyMap) at RF.

Currently he is a Non Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and a Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire (Center for Impact Finance). He is a member of the advisory board of the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Urban Research and the Board of Directors of the University Science Center in Philadelphia. He also chairs the board and writes columns for The Philadelphia Citizen, a nonprofit media startup.

Active in Philadelphia’s civic life, he was the founding board chair of Mastery Charter Schools, a network of twenty inner city schools that has garnered national attention for student achievement. He was also the founding board chair of Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a charity that has raised more than $100 million in support of pediatric cancer research.

In 2007 Mr. Nowak jointed the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s Board of Directors. In 2012 and 2013 Mr. Nowak was appointed to chair the board of the Federal Reserve Bank by the Board of Governors in Washington D.C.; his tenure at the Fed ended December 2013. In 1995, Mr. Nowak received the Philadelphia Award, the city’s highest civic honor. Villanova University (2000) and La Salle University (2008) have given him honorary doctorates.

He has authored numerous articles and chapters in books on development finance, place making, and housing policy. He is the co-author with Bruce Katz of a forthcoming book from Brookings Press titled New Localism: How Cities Thrive in An Age of Populism (November 2017). 

He has Mr. Nowak testified in Congress in support of the Treasury Department’s CDFI Fund; in support of the National Endowment for the Arts; and in support of the Obama Administration’s healthy food initiative. He holds a B.A. degree in Philosophy from The Pennsylvania State University (1973) and a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the New School for Social Research (1986), where his dissertation won the Alfred Schutz award for excellence.