Shawn EscofferyProgram Director, Strong Local Economies – With Surdna since November 2010

Shawn Escoffery is the Director of Strong Local Economies at the Surdna Foundation. In his role, Shawn works to support the development of robust and sustainable economies that include a wide range of businesses, equitable economic policy and access to quality jobs. The program aims to create opportunities for upward economic mobility among communities that have experienced historical barriers, including low-income people, communities of color, women, and immigrants. Economic justice and inclusion are at the core of the work Shawn leads at Surdna.

Previously, Shawn served as the Deputy Director of the New Orleans Neighborhood Development Collaborative (NONDC), a community organizing, planning and housing development organization, focused on neighborhood revitalization. Shawn has a strong background in community development, economic policy and workforce development. As an experienced urban planner with over 15 years in the field, Shawn has been responsible for designing workforce development programs serving lower income communities, developing financing strategies for affordable housing projects, and coordinating resident engagement efforts to ensure community input in development projects. Throughout his career, he has managed projects and people effectively to produce positive outcomes for communities.

Shawn has extensive experience in workforce and economic development from his previous senior management responsibilities with the City of Baltimore's Empowerment Zone and at New Community Corporation, one of the largest nonprofit community development corporations in the country. Shawn also served as the Project Executive for a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development contract focused on improving access to technology and has worked internationally on projects in China, Ecuador and Japan.

Shawn holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and English Literature from Rutgers University and a Master’s of City and Regional Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a concentration in Housing, Community, and Economic Development. He also holds certificates in Communications and International Relations, Urban Redevelopment and Effective Leadership from Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pennsylvania and Duke University, respectively.

Fostering sustainable communities in the United States — communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies, and thriving cultures.