Lori Thomas

Director, Institute for Social Capital
Director, Urban Institute
Sycamore 202-A
704-687-7037

Dr. Lori Thomas was named executive director of the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute in 2021. Thomas is continuing the Urban Institute’s research and engagement with the community on social, economic and environmental challenges.

Thomas, who is also an Associate Professor of Social Work at UNC Charlotte, also serves as executive director of the Institute for Social Capital, an integrated data system operated by the Urban Institute. She oversees and leads the work of community-engaged researchers and graduate students and facilitates use of linked administrative data by faculty researchers and community organizations.

A Tennessee native, Thomas holds a Ph.D. in social work from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her work has included multiyear projects to address systemic problems such as homelessness, using quantitative and qualitative research to find solutions.  

Stories by Lori Thomas

Seeking the third Gambrell Faculty Fellows cohort

The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, with support from The Gambrell Foundation, is now accepting applications for the next cohort of faculty fellows to study issues around economic mobility in...



Trust in neighbors and police: Who has it and what does it mean for Charlotte?

This article was written by the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute.



Housing First works: Report sheds light on program to end homelessness

In the shadow of COVID-19, it’s easy to lose sight of the strides Charlotte-Mecklenburg has made to address chronic homelessness.



Social Capital: A Tale of Caution and a Tale of Hope for Charlotte

This article was written by the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute.