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Alaina Harkness - Participant

Alaina Harkness is a fellow at the Brookings Institution in the Centennial Scholar Initiative, where she works on the Project on 21st Century City Governance. She is on leave from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, where she served as a senior program officer for Cities, focusing on the intersection of urban community development and emerging information technologies. Prior to MacArthur, Harkness staffed two special initiatives at the Chicago Community Trust: The Partnership for New Communities, a civic collaboration formed to support the neighborhoods and residents affected by the Chicago Housing Authority’s Plan for Transformation, and the 2016 Fund for Chicago Neighborhoods, a foundation collaboration that supported the city’s Olympic bid.

Prior to her career in philanthropy, Harkness worked on research projects focused on organizational development, networks, and capacity building, including a collaborative study of arts participation and audience engagement for the University of Chicago’s Cultural Policy Center, and independent qualitative research with an international network of community museums headquartered in Oaxaca, Mexico. She is based in Chicago, where she serves on the City of Chicago’s Community Development Advisory Committee and the board of Chicago Women in Philanthropy. She is a 2014 Fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago. Harkness holds masters degrees in public policy and Latin American studies from the University of Chicago and a bachelors degree in political science and art history from the University of Rochester.



The Brookings Institution


Fellow, Project on 21st Century City Governance

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