Michelle J. Atherton
Impact Analyst, Strategic Initiatives
Michelle J. Atherton is the Impact Analyst within the Strategic Initiatives Group. She joined Ben Franklin to lead any collaborative efforts to coordinate data and research for the development of regional or statewide projects and other evidence of successes to inform internal audiences and engage external supporters, with a particular focus on emerging impact investment strategies.
She has more than 20 years of experience in developing educational programs, public policy, public finance, data and program analysis, and community development. Prior to joining Ben Franklin, Ms. Atherton was a consultant on “future of work” issues, such as workforce development, city planning, and the impact of rapid technological change on education, the environment, health, and public policy. She also helped lead the Institute for Public Affairs and Center on Regional Politics at Temple University for 12 years. There, her research and analysis were instrumental in the development of a new statewide Basic Education Funding Formula for K-12 public schools; the financing of the City of Philadelphia’s pension fund through the reinstatement of the 1% additional sales tax; and the restructuring of the City’s pension plans for union members. She also edited and authored in partnership two textbooks for state and local government college courses with a particular focus on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Ms. Atherton earned a B.A. in Philosophy and English Literature with highest honors from the University of Pittsburgh, an M.A. in Political Science as a University Fellow at Temple University, and an M.S. in Community and Regional Planning also from Temple University where she received the department’s academic excellence award.