The Ralph and Goldy Lewis Center was established to promote the study, understanding and solution of regional policy issues, with special reference to Southern California, including problems of the environment, urban design, housing, community and neighborhood dynamics, transportation and economic development. It is a focus of interdisciplinary activities, involving numerous faculty members and graduate students from many schools and departments at UCLA. It also fosters links with researchers at other California universities and research institutes on issues of relevance to regional policy.
Founded in 1988 with a $5 million endowment from Ralph and Goldy Lewis, it was directed until December 1994 by Professor Allen J. Scott, directed from 1994 to 1998 by Professor Roger Waldinger, and directed from 1998 to 2006 by Professor Paul Ong. The Lewis Center's current director is Professor J. R. DeShazo. The Center is supported by its endowment, other private donors and foundations and research grants from a variety of agencies. The director works with an executive committee, with guidance from an advisory board that includes members drawn from both the University and the wider community.
The Center has quickly established a significant reputation, backed by grants now totaling over $5 million. Research projects include studies on; Welfare-to-Work programs; Immigration and American Cities; Non Custodial parent employment and training; Environmental studies with social implications; Pollution prevention policies; Transportation and parking policies; Work-residence relationships in restructuring metropolitan areas; and Economic development strategies for local areas (Community Development Work Study Program). With support from a number of foundations, the Center has also begun a research program on ethnic and immigration issues. Roger Waldinger has completed a new book on immigration issues funded by the Ford Foundation, Strangers at the Gates: New Immigrants in Urban America.
For further information please visit the Lewis Center Web site.
Many other projects have resulted in books produced by the Lewis Center, directly or indirectly, as well. The Center sponsors a lecture/seminar series, as well as workshops and conferences focusing on Southern California, in an effort to build bridges to the local community. It has sponsored two international conferences and has a Visiting Fellows program whose first participant was Henry Cisneros, former Secretary for Housing and Urban Development. The Lewis Center publishes a series of working papers on a wide variety of policy issues, and is currently seeking submissions for its working paper series.