You are here


Staff Main

Ryan P. Smith

Policy Innovation Fellow


Ryan Smith serves as Innovation Team Project Manager for the City of Durham's newly created innovation team. His team -- a part of the wider Bloomberg Philanthropies innovation team network now in nearly 20 cities around the world -- focuses on pioneering new approaches that improve the lives of Durham’s residents. Specifically, the team is working to create economic opportunity for justice-involved individuals, lower violent crime rates, and reduce high poverty levels.

Ryan Smith also serves as a Policy Innovation Fellow at Sanford. Ryan involves Sanford students in his work in Durham, and supports the school's growing work with local governments and innovation.  

Previously, Ryan served as Director of Strategic Initiatives for Sanford. Ryan worked directly with Dean Kelly Brownell to coordinate and implement the school’s strategic planning process, to research and report on special initiatives, and to provide high-level support for the dean’s development efforts, especially efforts that pertained to launching new initiatives and programs.

Before coming to Sanford, Ryan worked in the non-profit sector in development for seven years.  Over that period of time, he served in management and director-level positions for a diverse array of non-profits in San Diego, Washington, and Durham with missions ranging from documentary photography for recently resettled refugee youth to early childhood education to modern dance. Ryan also supported Congressman David Price’s 2012 bid for reelection as his Campaign Finance Director.

Ryan is an alumnus of Duke, having earned his Master of Theological Studies from the Divinity School and Master of Public Policy from the Sanford School of Public Policy.  He is also a graduate of Samford University, where he earned a B.A. in Religion.

Ryan is an active member of the Durham community, where he has served on the Carolina Theatre’s Board of Trustees and currently serves as the Vice President of the People’s Alliance.