About Laurie

Theory and practice for justice


Laurie Jones Neighbors specializes in developing and evaluating programs that transform structural barriers impacting low-income communities, communities of color, and others who lack decision-making power. 

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 and the annual State of the Region conference.

Prior to her work at Urban Habitat, Laurie 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. When her schedule permits, she still enjoys teaching, most recently in the Health Education Department of San Francisco State University, where she focuses on structural inequalities and public health.

Laurie enjoys living car-free in San Francisco’s transportation-rich Duboce Triangle, a definite contrast to her unwalkable upbringing in rural communities in Louisiana and Texas. 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. She currently sits on the board of TransForm, a California policy and advocacy organization that promotes walkable communities with excellent transportation choices in order to connect people of all incomes to opportunity, keep California affordable, and help solve our climate crisis.  

I define ‘politics’ as the ongoing collective struggle for liberation and for the power to create­—not only works of art, but also just and nonviolent social institutions.
— Adrienne Rich



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 Educational Research Association, Member

American Evaluation Association, Member

European Evaluation Association, Member

National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers, Member

Native Americans in Philanthropy, Member

San Francisco Evaluators and Applied Researchers, Member