About MDRC

Created in 1974 by the Ford Foundation and a group of federal agencies, MDRC builds and applies evidence about changes in policy and practice that can improve the well-being of people who are economically disadvantaged. In service of this goal, we work alongside our programmatic partners and the people they serve to identify and design more effective and equitable approaches. We work with them to strengthen the impact of those approaches. And we work with them to evaluate policies or practices using the highest research standards.

Our staff members have an unusual combination of research and organizational experience, with expertise in the latest qualitative and quantitative research methods, data science, behavioral science, culturally responsive practices, and collaborative design and program improvement processes. To disseminate what we learn, we actively engage with policymakers, practitioners, public and private funders, and others to apply the best evidence available to the decisions they are making.

MDRC has worked in nearly every state and most major cities, in Canada, and in the United Kingdom. We are funded by government agencies and more than 100 private, family, and corporate foundations. With a staff of more than 300 in New York City, Oakland and Los Angeles, California, and Washington, DC, MDRC is engaged in nearly 100 projects in five policy areas — Family Well-Being and Children’s Development; K-12 Education; Postsecondary Education; Youth Development, Criminal Justice, & Employment; and Low-Wage Workers and Communities — and in two centers, the Center for Applied Behavioral Science and the Center for Data Insights.

MDRC was founded as the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation. However, in 2003, we made “MDRC” the registered corporate identity of our organization, thereby formally adopting the name by which we had become best known to our professional colleagues and the general public.