Press Releases

Ken Zimmerman to Join the NYU Furman Center as Distinguished Fellow

March 16th 2018 / Download PDF

New York, NY—The NYU Furman Center, one of the nation’s preeminent research centers on housing, neighborhoods, and urban policy, announced today that Ken Zimmerman is joining the Center as a Distinguished Fellow.

Zimmerman, a noted policy maker, fair housing expert, and civil rights attorney, has devoted his career to justice and equality issues. He most recently served as the Director of U.S. Programs for the Open Society Foundations, where he oversaw the annual dissemination of over $100 million in grants to organizations focused on equality, fairness, and justice.

At the NYU Furman Center, Zimmerman’s research will examine new forms of social advocacy and policy development in the urban environment, with a special focus on evolving mechanisms for civic engagement and innovative approaches to address growing inequality.

“We have long admired Ken’s leadership on issues of justice and equality, and we are delighted to have him on our team,” said Vicki Been, Faculty Director at the NYU Furman Center. “His experiences building multidisciplinary coalitions and engaging with communities across the U.S. will provide invaluable insights for our research.” 

Zimmerman’s diverse experience in philanthropy, state and federal government, and public interest law brings to the NYU Furman Center a wealth of expertise on public governance, social change, and new approaches to resolving social issues affecting urban areas. Before joining Open Society Foundations, he served as part of the Obama Administration’s presidential transition team for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and served as senior advisor to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. Previously, he was a litigation partner for the pro bono practice group at Lowenstein Sandler PC, chief counsel to New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine, and founding Executive Director of the New Jersey Institute of Social Justice. Early in his career, Zimmerman served as a Senior Trial Attorney, then Deputy Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Programs, in HUD’s Office of Fair Housing. He also served as a Skadden Legal Fellow at the Legal Aid Society of Alameda County, California and at the Washington D.C. Legal Clinic for the Homeless. Zimmerman graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. from Yale University in 1982 and earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School, also graduating magna cum laude, in 1988.

"From his early efforts to combat predatory lending at the New Jersey Institute of Social Justice to his work at HUD in the early years of the Obama Administration, Ken has been a true leader on fair housing," said Ingrid Gould Ellen, Faculty Director at the Furman Center, "We look forward to learning from his wisdom and experience."

Established in 1995, the NYU Furman Center is a joint initiative of the NYU School of Law and Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. It is led by three Faculty Directors, Professor Vicki Been, Professor Ingrid Gould Ellen, and Professor Katherine O’Regan, and Executive Director Jessica Yager.