San Diego Regional Policy & Innovation Center Announces Multi-Year Partnership with The Brookings Institution. Learn More 

Climate resilience, critical infrastructure, homelessness, and housing affordability are challenges that require massive collective effort. We build partnerships to create cross-sector, multi-jurisdictional solutions.

The San Diego Regional Policy & Innovation Center is a partnership between The San Diego Foundation, the County of San Diego, and the world’s leading think tank - The Brookings Institution - to conduct research and policy analysis and help solve the region’s biggest problems.

The University of Pennsylvania Global Go To Think Tank Index Report has named The Brookings Institution "Think Tank of the Year" and "Top Think Tank in the World" every year since 2008.

Learn more about The Brookings Institution
Amy Liu speaks at a podium at a Brookings Institute event

Our mission is to develop, test and implement world-class research and policy-driven solutions to address our region’s most pressing challenges. We use applied research to help local leaders identify catalytic policies, programs, and interventions and attract greater capital to the region.

Meet Our TeamSee Our Partners

We break down silos

Our core focus is on multi-jurisdictional collaboration to solve problems that extend beyond the reach of any single agency or department. For example, sea-level rise, fire risk, barriers to broadband access, and housing affordability are no single agency’s jobs, but they are everyone’s challenges.

Through our partnership with The San Diego Foundation, we bring deep, long-standing community relationships together with best-in-class policy research from The Brookings Institution to work across sectors and jurisdictions to build consensus and directionality for the region. This multi-issue, multi-jurisdictional, coordinated approach is essential to transformational systems change.

Smoke and flames come over a hill and threaten homes in San Diego

As a 501(c)3 organization of The San Diego Foundation, the San Diego Regional Policy & Innovation Center benefits from The Foundation’s community knowledge; strong relationships with all sectors of the San Diego economy, including community-based, grassroots organizations; mission and vision of just, equitable, and resilient communities; and its support systems and resources. 

Through the Policy & Innovation Center, regional leaders, municipalities, and other stakeholders will have opportunities to engage with Brookings Institution scholars to gather insight into federal policy programs and co-develop new regional policy solutions.

We utilize data and policy research to serve communities

We understand that data and research are only helpful when they are connected to better outcomes for communities in need.  Our immediate focus is supporting the recovery from the cascading effects of COVID-19. We are already co-designing new programs to bring large-scale federal recovery and infrastructure funds to the region by working with local municipalities and regional agencies.  

Over the longer term, our vision is to craft new policy solutions, drive large-scale private partnerships and investment opportunities, and enhance regional development.

Homeless tents along a downtown city street

Our core work is organized around four anchors—People, Ideas, Resources, and Impact—based on deep, outcome-oriented partnerships with governments, corporations, and philanthropies.

We know collaboration is essential for developing effective, practical, and equitable solutions for improving critical infrastructure, creating stable high-paying jobs, and generating measurable long-term socio-economic and environmental benefits.

We learn and share our expertise nationally

Affordable housing, homelessness, health equity, broadband access, climate resilience, infrastructure, quality jobs – these are not just regional challenges. Through The Brookings Institution, we will learn from other cities and states and share lessons and successes from our work with a national audience of policymakers and practitioners.

Construction in the downtown San Diego region

We value relationships

Our team has years of experience working in and with the public sector. We have strong relationships with local, state, and federal officials and a vast network of private, philanthropic, and community leaders and innovators. Join our growing network of supporters and partners.

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Supporting Partners

Leadership Council

Alliance Healthcare Foundation

San Diego & Imperial Small Business Development Center

Health Net Community Solutions

David C. Copley Foundation


Chair: Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, San Diego County Board of Supervisors

County of San Diego

City of San Diego

City of Carlsbad

City of Chula Vista

City of Coronado

City of Del Mar

City of El Cajon

City of Encinitas

City of Escondido

City of Imperial Beach

City of La Mesa

City of Lemon Grove

City of National City

City of Oceanside

City of Poway

City of San Marcos

City of Santee

City of Solana Beach

City of Vista

San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG)

Metropolitan Transit System (MTS)

Port of San Diego

San Diego Airport Authority

We are working to serve the region

We are already hard at work with the County of San Diego and other regional partners. To date, our team has developed and submitted several million dollars in federal funding applications and provided insight into how COVID-19 recovery funding can lay the groundwork for significant large-scale federal grants and projects to address critical needs. Here’s a snapshot of a few of our projects:

Aligning infrastructure to address digital inequalities

We are exploring where and how to extend cost-effective broadband services to underserved communities by aligning investments in streets and water system upgrades and integrating fire and flood risk monitoring for at-risk areas across the County.

Laying the groundwork for resilient growth

We are building partnerships to create a new platform for testing, demonstrating, and accelerating essential infrastructure upgrades to enhance region-wide resilience.

Moving from utility bill relief to long-term affordability

Our team is developing a model to help families who have been struggling to afford their water and electricity bills get property upgrades that improve affordability and regional sustainability.

Supporting emerging leaders in green infrastructure

We are working with national partners through a grant funded program to increase the capacity of cities in federal grant writing, green infrastructure project delivery, and equity-focused collaboration.

News & Events

Check out our latest activities, events, and milestones. For media inquiries, please email Ashley Bendas or Sandy Young at J. Walcher Communications, or call (619) 295-7140.

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The Brookings Institution Partnership Announcement

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Media Advisory

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Launch Announcement

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The San Diego Regional Policy & Innovation Center Team

Susan Guinn

President & CEO
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Audra Herrmann-Hayes

Director of Government Grants

Jamal Russell Black

Senior Officer, Analytics & Impact

Rachel Lozano Castro

Senior Officer, Programs & Impact

Tedi Doychinova

Officer, Network Engagement

Josh Jacobsen

Officer, Government Relations & Policy

Victoria Vasquez

Executive Assistant

Niloufar Nasrollahzadeh

Associate, Research & Analytics

Andrew Bourne

Fellow, Research & Analytics


Adie Tomer

Infrastructure, Transportation & Digital Technology
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Jenny Schuetz

Housing & Urban Economics
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Joe Kane

Environment, Transportation & Water
See Profile


Kay Coleman

Chair & Executive Committee Chair
President & CEO, Del Mar Venture Group

Constance Carroll

Vice Chair
Chancellor Emerita, San Diego Community College District

Jim Howell

Treasurer, Finance & Administration Committee Chair
Chief Financial Officer, The San Diego Foundation

Ben Haddad

Partner, California Strategies

Lisa Cuestas

Audit Committee Chair
CEO, Casa Familiar

Mel Katz

Governance Committee Chair
Co-founder & Executive Officer, Manpower Staffing Services

Ernest Rady

Chairman & CEO, American Assets Trust & Philanthropist

Mark Stuart

President & CEO, The San Diego Foundation

Susan Guinn

President & CEO, San Diego Regional Policy & Innovation Center

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