Marva E. Williams is the economic development and Iowa state director for the Community Development and Policy Studies division of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. She helps financial institutions, community-based organizations, government entities and the public understand and address financial services issues that affect low- and moderate-income people and geographic regions. In addition, she is the point person for activities in Iowa and also engaged in applied research. Prior to the Chicago Fed, Williams was the senior program officer at Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) of Chicago and senior vice president of the Woodstock Institute.
Williams has spent her career in the field of community economic development, community reinvestment and organizing. Her work has included policy development and advocacy, nonprofit management, real estate development and finance and philanthropy. She was selected by LaSalle Bank to receive the 2004 Tom Gobby Community Leadership Award for her commitment to helping lower-income households access the financial mainstream and develop assets. Williams holds a master of urban and regional planning from the University of Pittsburgh. In addition, she has a PhD in urban planning and public policy from Rutgers University’s Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.