Adrienne Smith joined Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) in 2022 and leads the organization’s research strategy and agenda. In addition to leading OFN’s research team, she partners with external researchers and serves on the Research Advisory Board and executive committee of the CDFI Research Consortium. Since joining OFN, she has worked to convene, collaborate with, and build the field of researchers at OFN-member CDFIs.
Prior to OFN, Smith was a senior associate in Abt Associates’ Social and Economic Policy division, where she directed and contributed to large, multi-year research projects and program evaluations for funders in the U.S. government and foundations. These projects spanned diverse policy areas and issues such as community development, housing, workforce training, and other policies and programs aimed at advancing economic mobility. She also co-led Abt’s Housing, Communities, and Asset-Building market center.
Before Abt, Smith was an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Tennessee. She conducted research and taught courses on U.S. politics and policymaking; public policy processes; urban, local, and state politics; and race, ethnicity, and politics.
Smith holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Emory University and a B.A. in government in politics and a B.A. in art history from the University of Maryland College Park. She was the 2012 recipient of the Urban Affairs Association’s emerging scholar award.