Policy & Innovation Center Launches, seeks to solve regional problems

Screen Shot 2021 01 13 At 7.43.03 Am

The San Diego Foundation and The Brookings Institution announced the San Diego Regional Policy & Innovation Center on Monday.

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The San Diego Foundation and The Brookings Institution Monday announced the San Diego Regional Policy & Innovation Center, a partnership focused on conducting research and policy analysis to address the region’s biggest problems and bring new federal infrastructure funding to the region.

The center, a nonprofit organization, is intended to build partnerships to create cross-sector, multi-jurisdictional solutions to problems that require effort beyond the reach of any single agency or department.

These include regional challenges such as climate resilience, infrastructure, creating jobs, homelessness, housing affordability and health equity.

“We have learned so much in the last 19 months as COVID-19 revealed some of our greatest structural challenges — health risks, economic instability and inequity of opportunity,” said Mark Stuart, president and CEO of The San Diego Foundation.

“We recognize that a robust, equitable recovery will require us to address major structural problems.

“The Policy & Innovation Center and our alliance with The Brookings Institution is our response to the need for integrated, collaborative policy solutions to enable transformational systems change,” Stuart said.

The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit think tank devoted to research and policy solutions.

“San Diego County reflects our nation in many ways — it is a thriving economy in an urban-rural region, with a diverse population greater than 20 states,” said John R. Allen, president of The Brookings Institution.

“Most importantly, San Diego’s local leaders recognize that our challenges are bigger than any single city, department or agency.”

Susan Guinn will serve as president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Policy & Innovation Center, while Shalini Vajjhala will be executive director, the parties announced.

The center will be advised by a Government & Agency Advisory Council with representation from municipalities and government agencies within San Diego County. The Chair of the County of San Diego Board of Supervisors, Nathan Fletcher, will serve as the chair of the Advisory Council.

Additionally, the center team has already developed more than $17 million in funding proposals to lay the groundwork for federal grants and projects to address critical needs such as aligning infrastructure to address digital inequalities, moving from utility bill relief to long-term affordability and supporting emerging leaders in green infrastructure.

The San Diego Regional Policy & Innovation Center plans to host a daylong meeting with government and agency advisory council members on Tuesday.

Virtual events that day will include an opening session with center leadership, presentations by The Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program scholars and a fireside chat with Amy Liu, vice president and director with the Brookings Institution, and Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation.

Meeting recordings will be available on the Policy & Innovation Center website, www.sdrpic.org/.

Categories: Local San Diego News, Politics