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About the Center on Children and Families

The Center on Children and Families (CCF) studies policies that affect the well-being of America’s children and their parents, especially children in less advantaged families. The Center addresses the issues of poverty, inequality, and lack of opportunity in the United States and seeks to find more effective means of addressing these problems.

CCF also houses the Future of the Middle Class Initiative which seeks to improve the quality of life of America’s middle class and to increase the number of people rising to join its ranks.


Gary Burtless, Senior Fellow, Future of the Middle Class Initiative

Gary research on issues connected with the income distribution and poverty, public finance, aging, labor markets, social insurance, and the behavioral effects of government tax and transfer policy. Burtless graduated from Yale College in 1972 and received a PhD in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1977. Before coming to Brookings in 1981, he served as an economist in the policy and evaluation offices of the U.S. Secretary of Labor and the U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare.

Tiffany Ford, Research Analyst

Tiffany joined the center after two years as a senior policy analyst at a health justice non-profit in Chicago. Prior to that role, Tiffany earned her Masters of Public Health with a concentration in Community Health Sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her undergraduate degree from the University of Miami, where she majored in Human and Social Development and Economics. Tiffany is currently a Social Policy PhD student at the University of Maryland College Park where she studies the subjective well-being of Black middle class women and intersectionality-based policy analysis.

Ariel Gelrud Shiro, Research Assistant

Ariel joined Brookings after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied Economics and Cognitive Science. Prior to joining Brookings, he interned at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab in South Asia and the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics. While at Penn, he wrote a thesis on the effects of collaborative and competitive interactions on trust among children. His research focuses on race disparities in the American middle class and intragenerational mobility.

Sarah Nzau, Senior Research Assistant

Sarah’s research has focused on paid family leave, automation and the middle class, and disparities in economic mobility by race and gender. She previously interned at the United Nation Foundation’s Better World Campaign and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL Global). Sarah graduated with a B.A. in Economics from Wellesley College.

Christopher Pulliam, Research Analyst

Chris’s work and research interests include income and wealth inequality, economic mobility, and tax and social policy. Previously, he interned on Capital Hill and was a research assistant for several of his professors. He holds an M.P.A. from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University and a B.A. in economics and political science, also from Syracuse University.

Sarah Reber, Rubenstein Fellow, Future of the Middle Class Initiative

Sarah is an Associate Professor of Public Policy at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Her research focuses on school desegregation, elementary and secondary education finance policy, and college access. She is also a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a California Center for Population Research (CCPR) affiliate, and a California Policy Lab (CPL) affiliated expert. Previously, she was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar in Health Policy Research at UC Berkeley and a Research Assistant and Staff Economist on the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA). 

Richard Reeves, Director

Richard is a senior fellow in Economic Studies, where he holds the John C. and Nancy D. Whitehead Chair. Richard is also the Director of the Future of the Middle Class Initiative. His research focuses on the middle class, inequality and social mobility. His publications for Brookings include his latest book Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do about It (2017). Richard has a BA from Oxford University and a PhD from Warwick University.

Isabel V. Sawhill, Senior Fellow

Belle’s research spans a wide array of economic and social issues, including fiscal policy, economic growth, poverty, social mobility, and inequality. Her latest book is The Forgotten Americans: An Economic Agenda for a Divided Nation, published by Yale University Press in 2018. She served as vice president and director of the Economic Studies program from 2003 to 2006, and as co-director of the Center on Children and Families from 2006 to 2015. Belle attended Wellesley College and received her PhD from New York University.

Jenny Schuetz, Fellow, Future of the Middle Class Initiative

Jenny is an expert in urban economics and housing policy, focusing particularly on housing affordability. Jenny has written extensively on land use regulation, housing prices, urban amenities, and neighborhood change. Jenny earned a PhD in Public Policy from Harvard University, a Master’s in City Planning from M.I.T., and a B.A. in Economics and Political and Social Thought from the University of Virginia.

Chenoah Sinclair, Senior Research Assistant

Chenoah’s research focuses on postsecondary education finance policy, college access, and the role of higher education in promoting intergenerational mobility for students from middle-class families. Prior to joining the Brookings Institution, Chenoah held posts at the United States Department of Labor Women’s Bureau and the United Nations. Chenoah graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Applied Mathematics in 2019. She also holds a certification in Social Program Evaluation from the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab at MIT.

Ember Smith, Research Assistant

Ember joined the Center on Children and Families after completing her B.A. in Economics at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where she wrote a thesis on impact of automation on the 2016 presidential election in the Mountain West. Before joining the team, she worked as a research assistant at Brookings Mountain West focusing on state health policy, automation, and economic mobility. Ember currently authors the center’s twice-monthly newsletter, Class Notes, and researches gender and education policy.

Hannah Van Drie, Senior Center Coordinator

Hannah coordinates the projects and operations for the Center and the Future of the Middle Class Initiative, including communications, research, and development. Her research interests include economic mobility, social capital, and respect. Previously, she worked at the YMCA of Greater New Orleans as a Brand Specialist and Membership and Marketing Director and was a University of Pennsylvania Fox Leadership Program Non-Profit Management Fellow. Hannah received her B.A. in International Relations, with minors in History and Hispanic Studies, from Penn.

Morgan Welch, Senior Research Assistant and Project Coordinator

Morgan supports research and project operations for Senior Fellow Isabel Sawhill. Her research interests are focused in the areas of paid leave, time use, gender equity, and child welfare. She joined Brookings after a year as a Bilingual Recruitment and Outreach Coordinator at For Love of Children, a Washington, DC based nonprofit organization. Morgan holds a B.A in Political Science, with a minor in Spanish, from the School of Public Affairs at American University.


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