Xavier (Xav) de Souza Briggs is a senior fellow at Brookings Metro, part of the Brookings Institution. His work has focused on economic opportunity and inclusive growth, racial equity and pluralism, housing, urban and regional development, and democratic governance in the U.S. and abroad. An award-winning educator and researcher, he is also an experienced manager in philanthropy and government.
He has written or edited three books: The Geography of Opportunity: Race and Housing Choice in Metropolitan America, which won planning’s top book award; Democracy as Problem Solving: Civic Capacity in Communities Across the Globe, a finalist for the C. Wright Mills Prize for best scholarly book on a social problem, and Moving to Opportunity: The Story of an American Experiment to Fight Ghetto Poverty, winner of the Brownlow Award. His views have appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, CNN, and other major media, in English and in Spanish.
In 2020, he served as Distinguished Visiting Professor of Business, Public Service and Sociology at New York University and was a volunteer on the Biden-Harris Transition Team, conducting agency reviews, serving on the volunteer interviewer corps, and advising on business recovery, climate action, racial equity, worker empowerment, philanthropic partnerships, and other issues.
Prior to joining Brookings, he served for six years as vice president of the Ford Foundation, overseeing the its inclusive economies and markets work globally along with its regional program teams based in China, India, and Indonesia. He led the foundation’s efforts to build the field of impact investing and commit $1 billion of endowment assets, the largest-ever for a private foundation, for that purpose.
Previously, Briggs was professor of sociology and urban planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and served as head of MIT’s Housing, Community, and Economic Development Group. From January 2009 to August 2011, he was appointed by President Obama and served as associate director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. There he oversaw a wide array of policy, budget, and management issues for roughly half of the cabinet agencies of the federal government. He has also worked as a community planner in the South Bronx and faculty member at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
He serves on the boards of Demos, the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences, the Global Impact Investing Network, JUST Capital, and One Fair Wage and is an elected member of the National Academy of Public Administration. Xav holds an engineering degree from Stanford University, an MPA from Harvard, and a PhD in sociology and education from Columbia University. He also studied as a Rotary Scholar in Brazil.