Margaret Simms

Margaret Simms is an Institute fellow in the Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population at the Urban Institute, where she directs the Low-Income Working Families project. A nationally recognized expert on the economic well-being of African Americans, her current work focuses on low-income families, with an emphasis on employment and asset building.

Before joining Urban in 2007, Simms was vice president for governance and economic analysis at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. In 2005, Simms was elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; in 2008, she received the Samuel Z. Westerfield Award from the National Economic Association. She was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from Carleton College, Minnesota, in 2010.

Simms holds a BA in economics from Carleton College and a PhD in economics from Stanford University.
Margaret Simms
Director of the Low-Income Working Families Institute, The Urban Institute

Areas of Expertise: Low-Income Families (With An Emphasis On Employment And Asset Building), Poverty, Income And Wealth Disparities

Location: Washington, DC

Contact Information:
Phone: (202) 261-5709 (Media Relations)

Heard on Marketplace: What Buying Power Buys African Americans

Added August 2015

Last Verified: August 2015

Graciela Aponte-Diaz

Graciela Aponte-Diaz is the director of federal campaigns at the Center for Responsible Lending,  where she works to secure state support for federal policy initiatives. Aponte-Diaz has testified before the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services regarding mortgage market reform, predatory lending and FHA reform. 

Previously, she was a communications and policy analyst for the CRL California office. In 2015, Aponte-Diaz served on the Executive Staff of Self-Help Federal Credit Union, CRL’s sister organization. She worked on the development of a small dollar loan designed to help low-income immigrants apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Before that, Aponte-Diaz was a senior legislative analyst at the National Council of La Raza. According to her work bio, she “helped successfully restore federal funds for housing counseling, fought for improvements to President Obama’s foreclosure prevention program, … and fought for a strong financial reform bill which resulted in the creation of a new federal agency tasked with protecting consumers.” Aponte-Diaz has also worked as a bilingual housing counselor at Housing Initiative Partnership in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Aponte’s work and expertise has appeared on NBC Latino, Radiobilingue and Hispanic Link News Service. She received her bachelor’s degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland.


Director for Federal Campaigns for Center for Responsible Lending

Areas of Expertise: Access to Homeownership, Foreclosures, Racial Wealth Gap, Payday Lending, Housing Counseling, Consumer Protections

Location: Washington D.C.

Contact Information:

Phone: (301) 351-7715


Heard testifying at the American Mortgage System Review, airing on C-SPAN 

Last updated February 2021.