Ford Foundation appoints Phillip L. Clay as senior fellow

NEW YORK, 19 September 2011 — Phillip L. Clay, a prominent housing and community development expert, academic and administrator, has joined the Ford Foundation as a senior fellow.

Clay finished his term as chancellor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the summer of 2011. A member of the MIT faculty since 1975, Professor Clay was head of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning from 1992 to 1994 and associate department head from 1990 to 1992. From 1980 to 1984, Clay served as the assistant director of the Joint Center for Urban Studies of MIT and Harvard. He became chancellor in 2001.

“Phillip’s extensive knowledge and expertise in housing and community development is so important at this critical time when millions of Americans are affected by declining neighborhoods, collapsing industries, unemployment and a lack of affordable housing. Furthermore, the global trend toward urbanization is putting effective urban planning and management at the core of the development agenda,” said Pablo J. Farías, vice president of the foundation’s Economic Opportunity and Assets program.

“We are delighted to have Phillip with us to support our efforts to ensure that low- and moderate-income people have access to safe, affordable housing, efficient transportation and good jobs in prosperous metropolitan areas.”

While at Ford, Clay will serve as an adviser and collaborate with the foundation’s Metropolitan Opportunity team on a review of current challenges in community development and housing finance in the United States. This work will contribute to the foundation’s exploration of urban planning and development practices on an international scale. He will also work with the Educational Opportunity and Scholarship team on education access and success in the United States and Africa.

Clay is known for his work in U.S. housing policy and community-based development. In a 1987 study commissioned by the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp., he identified the market and institutional conditions contributing to the erosion of low-income rental housing and documented the need for a national preservation policy. He later served on the national commission that recommended the policy that became part of the Housing Act of 1990.

The Ford Foundation appoints scholars who have distinguished themselves in fields related to our work. During their tenure, these experts pursue independent projects that contribute to their expertise and provide the program staff with additional perspectives and knowledge.

Previous resident scholars have included: Juan E. Méndez, a prominent human rights lawyer, advocate and academic; Albie Sachs, human rights and anti-apartheid activist and justice of the South Africa Constitutional Court; Professor Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, professor of law and a leading scholar of Islam; former U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata; South African writer and educator Njabulo Ndebele; actor and playwright Anna Deavere Smith; and Sir Brian Urquhart, former U.N. under-secretary-general for special political affairs.

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The Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 80 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.