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Claire Dunning

"Funding the Urban North: Policy, Philanthropy, and Racial Equity 'After' Civil Rights"

Claire Dunning

Mellon Fellow in Urban Landscape Studies (Spring 2023)

Funding the Urban North explores whether philanthropy can help build equitable cities and does so through historical analysis of whether it has. The book follows the Taconic Foundation’s quest to desegregate American housing following the 1968 Fair Housing Act. Taconic underwrote Architectural Forum, funded litigation, and supported voucher experiments, making a permanent, if largely invisible, mark on how and where Americans lived. This project spatially grounds histories of philanthropy and race in the “post” civil rights metropolis, analyzing how the movement of dollars shaped the built, social, and legal landscapes.

Claire Dunning is an assistant professor of public policy and history at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research on the histories of poverty, inequality, governance, and nonprofit organizations in US cities has been published in several academic journals and public outlets. She is the author of Nonprofit Neighborhoods: An Urban History of Inequality and the American State (University of Chicago Press, 2022), a book tracing the consequences of pursuing a public good through private organizations from the 1950s to the present. Dunning holds a PhD in history from Harvard University and an AB from Dartmouth College, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University.