About Laurie

Theory and practice for justice.

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Laurie Jones Neighbors specializes in developing and evaluating programs that transform structural barriers impacting low-income communities and communities of color. 

She is the former Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives at Urban Habitat, where she served on the organization’s management team and was the architect of the Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI), a highly successful program focused on preparing and placing under-represented resident-leaders on local and regional boards and commissions. While at Urban Habitat, Laurie also managed the Bay Area Social Equity Caucus, the region’s multi-sector, multi-issue coalition, and its annual State of the Region conference. She developed and launched Urban Habitat's educational technology component for strengthening the collective impact of leadership institute advocates. 

The trust of the leaders in the people reflects the confidence of the people in the leaders.
— Paulo Freire

Prior to joining the staff of Urban Habitat, Laurie had a twenty-year career in higher education, having taught in and directed a number of academic programs for under-represented students at several universities and colleges in Texas, Oregon, and California. She has two master’s degrees – one in Rhetoric and Composition from Texas Tech University, and the other in Sociology from the University of California, Irvine. She is the recipient of many teaching awards and, in 2016, was proud to be included on the Living Cities list of 25 Disruptive Leaders working to improve economic outcomes for low-income people in America's cities.

Laurie serves as an adjunct professor in the Health Education Department of San Francisco State University, teaching courses on such topics as the history of health and social movements in the US and structural inequalities and public health. At SFSU, she also works with the Metro College Success Program, an academic retention program that supports first-generation students in their first and second years of college as they explore opportunities for using their college degrees to advance social justice goals. Laurie works with Metro's  Faculty Learning Community to train new teachers, develop curriculum, and build critical thinking course components and program assessments.  

Laurie's progressive movement and leadership work draws heavily on her teaching experiences, her academic preparation, and her upbringing in rural and conservative communities in Louisiana and Texas, as well as her more recent experiences living and working in communities on California's Central Coast, in Central Oregon, in Southern California, and in the San Francisco Bay Area. She lives in San Francisco with her partner Gordon Edgar, a worker-owner at Rainbow Grocery Cooperative, a food cooperative founded in 1975. 



The Evaluators' Institute
Certificate in Evaluation Practice
(In Progress) 

University of California, Irvine
Master of Sociology (Social Movements and Globalization), 2008

Texas Tech University
Master of English (Rhetoric), 1990

Texas Tech University
Bachelor of English and History, 1988

Activities & Affiliations

American Evaluation Association, Member

American Public Health Association, Member

Association for the Study of Higher Education, Member

European Evaluation Association, Member

National College Access Network, Member

National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers, Member

Native Americans in Philanthropy, Member

San Francisco Evaluators and Applied Researchers, Member