Susan K. Urahn, Ph.D., is president and chief executive officer of The Pew Charitable Trusts, a public charity dedicated to improving policy, informing the public, and invigorating civic life.
Over the past 70 years, Pew has evolved from a grant-making organization to become one of the nation’s most innovative and influential public charities, expanding from fewer than 10 employees to more than 1,000 located throughout the United States and around the globe. Pew has maintained its deep roots in Philadelphia, providing research and analysis to help the city’s leaders and citizens understand key issues, while also supporting the cultural community and assisting vulnerable local residents. Pew’s Washington D.C. office focuses on conservation, health, state, and consumer policy initiatives. The Pew Research Center, an internationally known public opinion research center, is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts.
As a public charity, Pew partners with a diverse range of donors, public and private organizations, and concerned citizens who share its commitment to data-driven solutions and goal-based investments to improve society.
Urahn has served at Pew for more than 25 years, with increasing leadership responsibilities. From 1994 to 1997, she was a key member of the planning and evaluation division and then was director of the department from 1997 to 2000. In that role, she helped evaluate all of the institution’s grants and Trusts-initiated projects, including Pew’s early environmental work. After seven years leading Pew’s education and state policy portfolio, Urahn helped launch the Pew Center on the States and served as the center’s director from 2007 to 2012. She became an executive vice president in 2012, leading all of Pew’s work on state policy, economics, and health care, then became chief program officer in 2016 and president and CEO on July 1, 2020.
Before joining Pew, Urahn worked in policy research and evaluation with the Minnesota House of Representatives and at the University of Minnesota.
Urahn holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a doctorate in education policy and administration from the University of Minnesota. She also serves on the board of directors of Phare Bio, a nonprofit organization focused on antibiotic development.