Nisha Patel

Senior Fellow

Nisha G. Patel is a Senior Fellow at Social Policy Institute and national expert on social and economic mobility and philanthropy in the United States. She has more than two decades of cross-sector experience leading and implementing initiatives to increase economic opportunities for low-income families. She served as Executive Director of the U.S. Partnership on Mobility from Poverty at the Urban Institute. The Partnership was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and assembled 24 leading voices to identify ideas for investment to dramatically increase mobility from poverty.

Nisha served in the Obama administration as Director of the Office of Family Assistance within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, overseeing a $17 billion annual portfolio of federal grants that foster family economic security, including the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. She was previously Deputy Director of Ascend at the Aspen Institute, where she led national efforts to expand two-generation approaches to improve outcomes for children and their parents. Prior to that, she was a Program Officer in the U.S. Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she managed a portfolio focused on increasing postsecondary success through community partnerships and policy development, as well as special initiatives. She has also been an Adjunct Professor at the George Washington University.

Nisha is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and holds an MSW with a concentration in social and economic development from Washington University in St. Louis. She is a proud resident of Washington, DC, from where she enjoys traveling to far-flung beaches from Bali to Brazil to Bora Bora.