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Copyright 2019 Sharon Farmer Photography


President’s Message

Brookings Institution President John Allen

As an organization committed to the public good, I believe Brookings has a moral imperative to produce research and policy recommendations on issues of race, equity, and justice. The lingering challenges of COVID-19—from worsened income inequality, public health, unemployment, and so much more—have continued to highlight the many hard truths about the legacy of American slavery, and the systemic racism and inequity that permeates many facets of our society. Even as the public health environment improves, if slowly, Black and Brown Americans continue to lose a disproportionate number of lives and livelihoods. This is an unacceptable reality, and the many injustices of the moment compel us to take a stand.

For Brookings’s part, we have again committed ourselves to championing issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, both internally and across all aspects of our work. This year in particular, we were proud to welcome a new class of David M. Rubenstein Fellows—ten outstanding early- and mid-career scholars with diverse backgrounds and experiences who contribute dynamic, new dimensions to our community. So too did we take advantage of the realities of remote work to feature voices and perspectives from across America and the world—something we will continue to incorporate into our programming for all future events and convenings. How We Rise, a virtual space that not only addresses issues of structural racism, but also promotes diverse voices from inside the institution and beyond, has thrived as well. We have provided new opportunities for our scholars to reflect on and engage with concepts and questions of diversity in their research work. And our latest Presidential priority—Race, Justice, and Equity—has continued to advance Brookings’s public commitment to equity, and to making efforts to combat biased policies and practices that have perpetuated injustice.

At the same time, we recognize that in order to produce high-quality research that informs innovative, practical policy recommendations, we must strive for a workplace that represents diversity of experience, thought, and personal background. Increasing and supporting our staff’s diversity enhances the relevance, perspective, and substance of our work. To that end, we continue to publish our workplace and Board of Trustee demographics with the aim of keeping ourselves accountable on our continued journey towards greater diversity, equity, and inclusion. In the four years since we began publishing this data in 2018, we have noted both exciting improvements and areas where continued, sustained effort is needed. Furthering this commitment, we have also sought to identify tangible, measurable goals for our community in these and other important areas, which we have included with each year’s publication and can be found below.

Brookings strives to continuously offer an inclusive and welcoming workplace that values the experiences, ideas, and efforts of all contributors. This means ensuring that each individual is heard, appreciated, and empowered to fully participate in Brookings’s mission, and holding ourselves accountable whenever and wherever we can improve. While we have so much more to do, I remain optimistic that through hard work, transparency, and accountability, real progress on measures of diversity and inclusion can be achieved over the long term.

I hope you’ll take a moment to read on and learn about the efforts that Brookings is undertaking to ensure the advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion. I encourage you to explore our updated workforce demographics data and a selection of stories, commitments, and goals for the coming year. The road ahead will be long, and our work in this area is an evolving effort in which are learning and adapting. Together, we can lay the foundation for a stronger institution and a brighter, better world.

– John R. Allen



The source of this data is based on the affirmative action questionnaire completed by all Brookings employees. The categories for race and gender are determined by the federal government for workforce reporting.* The categories used for generation identification have been defined by Pew Research Center.

Generation Z: born 1997 to 2012
Millennials: born 1981 to 1996
Generation X: born 1965 to 1980
Baby Boomer: born 1946 to 1964
Silent Generation: born 1928 to 1945

*Brookings is required to report the race and gender for all employees. Thus, in compliance with federal EEO requirements, employees who opt out are visually identified. We intend to fine-tune our systems in the future to include those who opt out of identification in our workforce data.

The Numbers

As of July 1, 2021, our staff headcount was 398 employees in Washington, DC. This includes:

Our Leadership Team (12): President, Executive Vice President and Vice Presidents
Our Fellows/Senior Fellows (96): Brookings Resident Scholars
Our Research Support (67): Research Assistants, Research Associates and Research Analysts
Our Operational Teams (223): Central and Program positions in Management, Operations, Communications, Development, Facilities, Finance, HR, Library, Legal, and Information Technology

This data does not include our nonresident scholars, as they are not employees. As our inclusion and diversity efforts evolve, we plan to capture and report on additional data.

Stock photography of employees looking at the Brookings data visualization on a laptop screen

The Data

  • All Roles
  • Leadership
  • Fellows
  • Research
  • Operational
  • Board of Trustees


Gen Z
1 Gen X
1 Baby Boomer
1 Silent Gen


41 Female
21 Male


1 White
1 Asian
1 Black/African American
1 Hispanic/Latino
1 Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
1 American Indian/Native Alaskan
1 Two or More


Brookings President John Allen speaking to employees at a company event. Copyright 2019 Sharon Farmer Photography.

How We're Improving

2020 and 2021 Highlights

Diversifying our Public-Facing Work

Brookings’s mission is to conduct in-depth research that leads to new ideas for solving problems facing society at the local, national, and global level. Ensuring that a diverse range of people and voices can offer perspectives on the challenges facing our world and proposals to address them is central to our work.

Supporting an Inclusive Workplace

Building Pathways for the Next Generation

Core Commitments

In 2016, the Brookings Inclusion and Diversity Committee was formed. The committee consists of 25 staff members at all levels – from early career to executive – with representatives from every business unit, research program, and employee network. Members serve as ambassadors and liaisons to their teams and are the thought leaders behind the work we do. The committee’s mission is to advance the strategic priority on inclusion, equity, and diversity at Brookings through:

  • Promoting an ongoing process of cultural change;
  • Robust recruitment outreach to traditionally underrepresented communities;
  • Engaging formal and informal leaders throughout the Institution;
  • Challenging or changing practices and policies that inhibit inclusion and diversity; and
  • Working to ensure that the public face of Brookings is representative of the world in which we live and work.

In the ensuing five years, the Committee, staff working groups and others around the Institution have undertaken the following core, ongoing activities to support this mission:

  • Continuing Race, Justice, and Equity as a Presidential Research Priority
  • Improving gender and racial diversity of the invited speakers at Brookings events and work to eliminate all-male panels
  • Providing training opportunities unconscious bias, respectful workplace, managing with an equity lens, micobehaviors, and cross-generational work environments
  • Embedding inclusion, equity, and diversity in our human resources practices, including the regular analysis of the recruitment and selection processes
  • Developing and implementing a jobs framework that seeks to ensure equitable treatment across the institution
  • Celebrating the diversity of our staff through Heritage Months and other cultural observances

Priorities for the Year Ahead

Over the next year, we are committed to building on the highlights from 2020 and 2021 and to continuing to advance our core commitments. In addition, we will prioritize the following activities in the year ahead:

Affinity Groups

Creating guidelines and a support mechanism for employees to establish and lead new diversity-based affinity groups


Assessing Brookings’s DEI progress based on established global diversity benchmarks and tools

Supporting program goals

Continuing to support the development and implementation of DEI goals within our research programs and business units

Paid internships

Committing to a timeline by which all of our internship opportunities are paid

Pay transparency

Adopting new practices to increase pay transparency

Seminar series

Continuing to host a new internal seminar series on racial equity in research

Incorporating equity

Revising the mission statement of our Inclusion and Diversity Committee to incorporate equity as an important component of our inclusion and diversity work

Students from local high schools talking with a Brookings employee about how a computer runs. Copyright 2019 Sharon Farmer Photography.


As we work to make progress within our own institution on diversity, equity, and inclusion, we seek to apply the same rigorous, research-based principles that guide all of our work. In that spirit, we conduct ongoing research to help inform our inclusion and diversity objectives and priorities.

2019 Career Day photos from Sharon Farmer Photography
Other event photos by Paul Morigi

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