Valerie Piper is the Vice President of Special Projects at The Democracy Collaborative, where she oversees and provides strategic coherence and direction to TDC's community wealth building projects and services across the country, including direct consulting and advisory services with cities and institutions, cohort learning and engagement with anchor institutions, practitioner resources and toolkits, and advancing and documenting best practices in community wealth building programs.
From 2011 to 2017, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Development at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, where she led the development and launch of President Obama’s Promise Zones Initiative, a cross-agency and cross-sector effort to accelerate place-based inclusive economic and community development, as well as leading the creation of new interagency initiatives like the Small Contractor Initiative, the Rural Community Capital Initiatives, and the Community Development Marketplace.
In addition to her service at HUD, Piper’s distinguished career as an advocate for economic inclusion has spanned academia, philanthropy, and public service. As a Senior Fellow at the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Center for Family Economic Success, she identified ways that service systems can connect with housing to help families and children prosper. Working as the Executive Director of the Center for Urban Redevelopment Excellence at the University of Pennsylvania, she was responsible for a national fellowship program that developed a powerful new model for capacity building across the community development system in post-Katrina New Orleans. She has also worked as the Director of Planning & Policy and the Director of Finance & Policy for the Chicago Housing Authority. In earlier federal service, she was a member of the Department of the Treasury team that launched the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, and the HUD team that implemented mixed finance development for public housing.