Lisbeth B Schorr

Lisbeth (Lee) Schorr is a Senior Fellow of the Center for the Study of Social Policy. Her work is currently focused on efforts to broaden the conventional understanding of evidence as applied to the design, improvement, and evaluation of complex initiatives, and on promoting a results orientation to the reform of social policies and programs.  With a group of colleagues, she recently founded The Friends of Evidence, which works to strengthen the role of evidence in efforts (public and philanthropic, local, regional, and national) to ensure the wise allocation of scarce resources, and to improve outcomes among the children and families who are not faring well in today’s society.

Ms. Schorr has woven many strands of experience with social policy, community building, education, and human service programs together to become a national authority on how to improve the future of disadvantaged children and their families and neighborhoods.  She serves on the board of the SEED Foundation, and was the founding co-chair of the Aspen Institute’s Roundtable on Community Change, and has held leadership positions in many of the major national efforts on behalf of children and youth, including the National Center for Children in Poverty, City Year, the National Academy of Science’s Board on Children and Families, and the Foundation for Child Development.  From 1998 to 2007 she was a member of the National Selection Committee of the Ford Foundation/Kennedy School Awards for Innovations in American Government.  From 1965 to 1967 she headed the health division of the Community Action Program at the federal Office of Economic Opportunity.

She is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies and served on its Governing Board.  She has been awarded honorary doctorate degrees from Whittier College, Lewis and Clark College, Wheelock College, the University of Maryland, Bank Street College of Education, and Wilkes University.

Lisbeth Schorr’s 1988 book, WITHIN OUR REACH: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage, analyzed social programs that succeeded in effectively combating serious social problems (such as high rates of single parenting, youth violence, and school failure).  With its documentation of efforts to improve the life prospects of disadvantaged children, WITHIN OUR REACH is in wide use in colleges and universities, and by policy makers, practitioners, and advocates for more effective interventions.  In COMMON PURPOSE: Strengthening Families and Neighborhoods to Rebuild America, published in September 1997, she laid out the evidence that by acting strategically, putting together what works, and focusing on the systems contexts in which programs are implemented, it is possible to strengthen children and families, and to rebuild communities.

Ms. Schorr founded the Pathways Mapping Initiative (PMI) of the Project on Effective Interventions, supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to develop new approaches to building a stronger knowledge base about “what works” in reaching such goals as School Readiness, Third Grade School Success, the Successful Transition to Young Adulthood, and the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.

Ms. Schorr and her late husband, Daniel, have two children, Jonathan Schorr, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach, US Department of Education, and Lisa Schorr Kaplan, Chief Operating Officer, Heading Home of Boston MA, and three grandchildren, Nora Kaplan, Dalia Schorr and Naomi Schorr.