Xavier (Xav) de Souza Briggs is a senior adviser and former program vice president at the Ford Foundation.
As vice president for over five years, he oversaw the foundation’s inclusive economies and markets work, globally, along with its regional program teams based in China, India, and Indonesia. Following a reorganization in early 2019, he helped the foundation launch US Programs—overseeing domestic programming for Civic Engagement and Government, Creativity and Free Expression, Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Justice, Future of Work(ers), Just Cities and Regions, Technology and Society, and Mission Investments. He has led the foundation’s efforts to build the field of impact investing and, starting in 2017, to commit $1 billion of endowment assets for that purpose over a decade.
Previously, Xav was a professor of sociology and urban planning in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and served as head of MIT’s Housing, Community, and Economic Development Group. An award-winning author, commentator, and educator, he has led groundbreaking research in economic opportunity, democracy and governance, and racial and ethnic diversity and segregation. Xav's books include The Geography of Opportunity (Brookings, 2005), Democracy as Problem Solving: Civic Capacity in Communities Across the Globe (MIT Press, 2008), and Moving to Opportunity: The Story of an American Experiment to Fight Ghetto Poverty (Oxford University Press, 2010).
From January 2009 to August 2011, while on public service leave from MIT, Xav served as associate director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. There he oversaw a wide array of policy, budget, and management issues for roughly half of the cabinet agencies of the federal government. Earlier in his career, Xav served as a community planner in the South Bronx, a policy adviser and R&D director at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, a fellow of the Urban Institute, and a faculty member in public policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
Xav holds an engineering degree from Stanford University, an MPA from Harvard, and a PhD in sociology and education from Columbia University. He serves on the board of the Global Impact Investing Network and is an elected member of the National Academy of Public Administration.