Mathew Sanders manages the state planning portfolio of Pew’s flood-prepared communities initiative, which focuses on state-level efforts to plan for current and future flood risk. In this role, he works directly with state governments and community leaders to advocate for, develop, and implement comprehensive disaster-resilience plans for various flood risks, including coastal surge, riverine, and flash flooding.
Before joining Pew, Sanders worked as a planner for the Louisiana state government, with a specific focus on post-disaster recovery and long-term disaster resilience. Notably, he led the development of Louisiana’s successful application to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-sponsored National Disaster Resilience Competition, and upon receipt of a $92.6 million award was the principal planner in development of both funded projects—Louisiana’s Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments (LA SAFE) and the relocation of Isle de Jean Charles in remote coastal Louisiana. Sanders was a Route Fifty Navigator Award recipient in The Leaders category for excellence and achievement in state government. Before working in Louisiana, Sanders did land use planning for the New York City government and was a journalist in Jackson, Mississippi.
Sanders holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Louisiana State University and a master’s in urban planning from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Additionally, he is accredited by the American Planning Association’s American Institute of Certified Planners. He has also been a frequent guest lecturer at institutions such as Columbia University, Tulane University, and Louisiana State University.