News Release

Isabel V. Sawhill Named First Recipient of Johnson Chair in Urban and Metropolitan Policy

August 4, 1997

Isabel V. Sawhill, one of the nation’s most distinguished economic analysts, has been appointed to the Adeline M. and Alfred I. Johnson Chair in Urban and Metropolitan Policy at the Brookings Institution, President Michael H. Armacost announced today.

Sawhill, who will leave her current post as a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, is a prominent authority on fiscal policy, poverty and inequality, welfare, and changes in the American family. She will begin work at Brookings in early November.

As chairholder, she plans to focus on the social challenges confronting the nation’s distressed inner-city communities, including crime, poverty, joblessness, out-of-wedlock childbearing, welfare dependancy, and poor schools.

“We are honored and privileged that Belle Sawhill has decided to join Brookings as the first occupant of the Johnson Chair,” said President Michael H. Armacost. “She will enhance our initiative in urban studies with creativity and dedication, drawing on her work as both an esteemed scholar and an experienced practitioner.”

Sawhill is president and founder of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, a private sector, nonpartisan organization committed to reducing the teen pregnancy rate by one third over the next decade. From 1993 to 1995, she was an associate director at the Office of Management and Budget, where her responsibilities included all federal human resource programs, including education, training, welfare, and social security.

Before joining the Clinton Administration, Sawhill wrote or edited numerous
books and articles, including Welfare Reform: An Analysis of the Issues
(Urban Institute, 1995), and Challenge to Leadership: Economic and Social
Issues for the Next Decade
(Urban Institute, 1988).

Sawhill has been director of the Children’s Roundtable, a Carnegie Corporation project designed to educate members of Congress on children’s issues; a visiting professor at Georgetown Law School; director of the National Commission for Employment Policy; and president of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. She has served on the boards of the German Marshall Fund, Resources for the Future, the American Assembly, the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, the Population Reference Bureau, Population Action International, the Council for Excellence in Government, and the Family Impact Seminar. She currently chairs the Research Advisory Board of the Committee for Economic Development.

Born in Washington, D.C. in 1937, Sawhill graduated from Wellesley College and received her Ph.D. from New York University’s Graduate School of Business Administration in 1968. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband, John C. Sawhill.

The Johnson Chair was endowed by Brookings Chairman James A. Johnson in honor of his parents to provide a sustained national focus on the future of America’s cities and metropolitan areas.

The Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy, directed by Bruce Katz, encompasses a wide range of urban policies, including the impact of federal and local mandates on cities, the need to improve delivery of education, public safety, and other core services. The center also examines the problem of growing concentrations of low-income and minority families within distressed neighborhoods, the racial divisions of urban life, and the key relationships between central cities and their larger metropolitan areas.

About Brookings

The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. Our mission is to conduct in-depth, nonpartisan research to improve policy and governance at local, national, and global levels.