Lynn M. Ross, AICP is the founder and principal of Spirit for Change Consulting, LLC where she works nationally and across sectors with organizations on a mission to create and sustain equitable policies, practices and places.
While regions, cities and neighborhoods are rich with possibility, they are also the places where the challenges of income inequality, economic and racial segregation, and lack of affordability persist. The practice of Spirit for Change is rooted in a deep belief in equity, diversity and inclusion, evidence-based decision making, and asset-based community development.
The work of Spirit for Change takes many forms including serving as the lead consultant to the Knight
Foundation on the national Reimagining the Civic Commons demonstration; partnering with the City of
Akron, Ohio to establish a new Office of Integrated Development; and developing and delivering bespoke
workshops on a range of topics for clients including Make Room, National League of Cities, and Peoples’
Liberty. Lynn’s core expertise is in evidence-based policy making, housing affordability, public spaces, urban
planning, equitable community development, and organizational change. Lynn has also developed and
demonstrated skill in cultivating talent; building teams in complex organizations; transforming programs for
greater impact; expanding funding sources and partnerships; and improving operational efficiency.
Dedicated to serving mission-driven organizations, Lynn has over 17 years of multi-sector experience
including past senior leadership roles as Vice President, Community and National Initiatives at the John S.
and James L. Knight Foundation; Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development in the Office of Policy
Development and Research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Executive Director
of the Urban Land Institute’s Terwilliger Center for Housing; Chief Operating Officer for the National Housing
Conference and Center for Housing Policy; and Manager of the Planning Advisory Service at the American
In addition to her domestic policy experience, Lynn has provided strategic advice to international housing
and planning leaders representing Australia, China, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom. In 2017, she
became a Fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar at Session 574, The Child in the City: Health, Parks and
Play. In 2019, Lynn was named one of 50 “Women of Influence” by the Royal Town Planning Institute’s The
Lynn serves on the Advisory Committee for National Initiative on Mixed-Income Communities and the
Spaces & Places Organizing Committee. From 2017-2019, she served as co-chair of the national working
group developing the American Planning Association’s historic Planning for Equity Policy Guide. Lynn is a
member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, American Planning Association, Education Leaders
of Color, and the Urban Land Institute.
A frequent speaker and award-winning author, Lynn holds a Masters of Regional Planning from Cornell
University and a B.S. in community and regional planning from Iowa State University. Lynn was honored
with the 2009 Design Achievement Award from the Iowa State University College of Design and the 2016
Outstanding Young Alumni Award from the Iowa State University Alumni Association.