Head shot of Omolara Fatiregun

Omolara Fatiregun

2020 Cheng Fellow

Omolara Fatiregun is a doctoral candidate in education leadership at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she is also a Hollyhock Foundation Fellow. Omolara earned an A.B. in Sociology and African American Studies from Harvard College and an M.P.P. from Georgetown. Before returning to graduate school, Omolara was an executive working at the intersections of youth development, applied research, and philanthropy. Omolara served as Deputy Director overseeing research, evaluation, and performance improvement in DC’s juvenile justice agency to ensure that court-involved youth had access to high-quality education, workforce development, and behavioral health programs. As Vice President at the Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation and as a Senior Fellow at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Omolara partnered with school districts and leaders of child welfare and juvenile justice agencies to scale evidence-based programs to improve outcomes for vulnerable youth.

One truth permeates all of Omolara’s work. Poverty is the legacy of racism in American and the root cause of toxic stress, chronic disease, urban crime, and failing schools.  Omolara founded Thrive! to help local governments combat poverty and budget for economic mobility in communities of color. Thrive! Equity Audit software compiles the academic and impact evaluation literature on how to mitigate disparities across local government agencies and then checks agency budgets for investment in programs and practices known to work. Thrive! also assesses the extent to which communities of color are included in local government decision-making and offers concrete recommendations on how to reallocate resources to improve equity and reduce disparities. Thrive! has received national press and recognition from Boston Globe, Nasdaq.com, Fast Company, Halcyon, and Black Girl Ventures. Omolara believes that research-driven approaches and innovations in public systems are integral to improving outcomes for America’s most vulnerable populations. To that end, Omolara is a member of Leadership Greater Washington, a community of executives that identifies, examines, and advances solutions to civic issues in the nation’s capital.