Robert J. “R.J.” McGrail

Senior Research Fellow

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

Cambridge, Massachusetts

R.J. is principal investigator and director of the Lincoln Institute project Accelerating Community Investment: Bringing New Partners to the Community Investment System (ACI). The project seeks to increase the efficacy and benefits of philanthropic impact investing portfolios and their connectivity to local community investment ecosystems through a combination of field research and, convening leaders in the community investment system—with particular focus on housing and economic development finance authorities, development of potential investment opportunities for mission investors, and collaboration with other Lincoln Institute program areas. 

Before joining the Lincoln Institute in 2019, R.J. served as policy and program impact officer for MassDevelopment, Massachusetts’s quasi-public economic and housing development authority. In this role, he led priority organizational development, strategic planning, program impact, and policy development strategies, enabling collaborations among non-traditional state and regional capital providers, philanthropic partners, and national thought leaders in community and economic development. Prior to his work at MassDevelopment, he served in numerous roles in the administration of Gov. Deval Patrick, including as a policy adviser to the governor and to the Commonwealth’s secretary of labor. R.J. also serves as a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Working Cities Challenge steering committee, as a board member of the Milken Institute’s Center for Financial Markets Public Finance Advisory Council, and as an invited lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is a graduate of the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, and holds an MA in public administration from Suffolk University in Boston.