Louis Winnick, Housing Expert, Dies at 85
Mr. Winnick was born in Romania and came to Brooklyn when he was 1. He graduated from Brooklyn College and earned graduate degrees in economics at Columbia University in the postwar period. The start of major government programs to cure the huge national housing shortages made housing economics an important area of study at the time.
After stints as director of research of the New York City Planning Commission and the Housing and Redevelopment Board in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, Mr. Winnick went to the Ford Foundation in 1962, serving from 1968 to 1986 as deputy vice president in the National Affairs division.
In the period following the urban turbulence of the late 1960’s, the Ford Foundation began to channel major resources into urban projects. Mr. Winnick was in the forefront of this effort, first as head of the urban and metropolitan affairs program and later as deputy director of the national affairs division headed by Mitchell Sviridoff.
He was credited with persuading the Ford Foundation to do “program-related investment” after McGeorge Bundy became president of the foundation in 1966. With this policy, the foundation began making both equity investments and low-interest loans to schools, hospitals, housing organizations and small businesses in low-income urban areas.
Ford, like other foundations, had previously focused on grants only, following the philosophy that investing and philanthropy should not be mingled. In the decades since, 300 to 400 foundations have used the program-related-investment approach in a wide range of activities in the public interest, said John Simon, a Yale Law School professor specializing in the nonprofit sector.