Portrait of Jodi Sandfort
Leadership and Management Area
Areas of Expertise
Public service redesign; policy and program implementation; social welfare policy; nonprofit and NGO management; child and family policy; income inequality and poverty


Jodi Sandfort is professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota. Her work focuses on improving the implementation of social policy, particularly those policies designed to support low-income children and their families.

Sandfort is the founder and academic director of the Future Services Institute, an applied research and training center focused on public service redesign in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Human Services, county government, nonprofit service providers, and private foundations. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Public Administration, a preeminent honor recognizing her innovative leadership in the field.

In spring 2020, she was a U.S. Fulbright Fellow in Denmark, studying the redesign of public institutions. She will assume the Deanship at the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington in January 2021. For six years she directed the human services program at the McKnight Foundation in Minneapolis, where she managed a portfolio of $20 million in annual giving.

Dr. Sandfort's book, Effective Implementation in Practice: Integrating Public Policy and Management (Jossey-Bass, 2015) with Stephanie Moulton (The Ohio State University) is an important text in the field, helping people navigate the complex dynamics of policy and program implementation. She also edited an e-book with others about civic engagement processes, specifically the Art of Hosting and Harvesting Conversations that Matter, and how this methodology has influenced all types of operations at the University of Minnesota. Sandfort was a Family Self-Sufficiency Scholar funded for five years by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She was also the founder and academic director of the Hubert Project, a global initiative promoting interactive teaching and learning through use of multimedia learning materials.

Sandfort is the author of numerous academic articles, book chapters, and reports for policymakers and practitioners about social welfare system design, organizational effectiveness, early childhood education, welfare reform, nonprofit management, and research methodology. She is currently on the editorial boards of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, American Review of Public Administration, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, and the Journal of Public Affairs Education.

Sandfort has served as a senior fellow at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, where she developed and implemented their statewide Leadership Institute, and senior program consultant at the Bush Foundation, where she developed the InCommons project. She has also worked as a case manager for the AIDS Care Connection in Detroit, as a program assistant at the Children's Defense Fund in Washington, DC, and as an assistant professor of public administration at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

She has worked as a consultant with national and statewide foundations, think tanks, and other nonprofit human service organizations. She has provided leadership coaching, executive development, and organizational development services to nonprofit, philanthropic, and public organizations. She has accepted academic appointments solely in professional schools because they are promising sites for scholar-practitioner dialogue.

Originally from Menomonie, Wisconsin, Sandfort lives with her husband and two sons in St. Paul, Minnesota where she gardens, rollerblades, and throws pottery.



PhD (University of Michigan, 1997)

MSW (University of Minnesota, 1994)

BA (Vassar College, 1990)

Sandfort, J. (2018). Theoretical Foundations and Design Principles to Improve Policy and Program Implementation. In 475-496). The Handbook of Public Administration, Edward Elgar Publishing: Cheltenham United Kingdom