UD Hosts Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Economic Development Director

Feb 3, 2015 | Kristi Lynch

The University of Dubuque is pleased to welcome Dr. Marva Williams, economic development director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, who will speak on Wednesday, February18, from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. in John and Alice Butler Hall, Heritage Center.  Her remarks are titled Is this Heaven? The Reality of African-American Interstate Migration.  The event is free and open to the public. 

“Dr. Williams’ research fills an important gap in what we have known about the migration of African-Americans into Iowa,” said Mark Ward, vice president for academic affairs.  “Her work provides a correction to popular, but sometimes misguided, perceptions about who migrates to Dubuque and for what reasons.  To continue to support our growing economy, like communities across the country, Dubuque will see a more racially and ethnically diverse work force.  Dr. Williams’ insights have very practical implications for the opportunities and challenges of making diversity work in our community.”

Williams is a seasoned urban economic development researcher and practitioner recognized for commitment to innovation and collaboration.  She is currently an economic development director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.  At the “Fed,” she is responsible for promoting a better understanding of community development and consumer finance by engaging in applied research and providing outreach to financial institutions, community-based organizations, and government agencies.  Williams designed and implemented the Great Neighborhoods Program, a comprehensive community development initiative of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation of Chicago.  She was the Vice President of the Woodstock Institute for over 10 years, where she published research reports and led a coalition of community and non-profit organizations.

Williams holds a master of urban and regional planning from the University of Pittsburgh and a Ph.D. in urban planning and public policy from Rutgers University’s Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.

Williams has established crucial relationships in Iowa communities.  She has, among other projects, provided Community Reinvestment Training (CRA) to non-profit organizations, updated banks on CRA regulations, supported the efforts of community organizations to raise funds for a new program and coordinated asset development training to organizations.  Her research projects include an examination of the links between poverty and childhood trauma on community health, an analysis of the migration of African-Americans to Iowan and a description of a national foreclosure mediation program.