Meet Our Founder and Principal

Lynn M. Ross is the founder and principal of Spirit for Change Consulting, LLC where she works nationally and across sectors with organizations on a mission to create and sustain equitable policies, practices and places. 

While regions, cities and neighborhoods are rich with possibility, they are also the places where the challenges of income inequality, economic and racial segregation, and lack of affordability persist. The practice of Spirit for Change is rooted in a deep belief in equity, diversity and inclusion, evidence-based decision making, and asset-based community development. 

The work of Spirit for Change takes many forms including serving as the lead consultant to the Knight Foundation on the national Reimagining the Civic Commons multi-year demonstration as well as the Knight Public Spaces Forum; partnering with the City of Akron, Ohio to establish a new Office of Integrated Development; and developing and delivering bespoke workshops on a range of topics for clients including Make Room, National League of Cities, and Peoples’ Liberty. 

Dedicated to serving mission-driven organizations, Lynn has over 17 years of multi-sector experience including past senior leadership roles at the Knight Foundation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Urban Land Institute, National Housing Conference and Center for Housing Policy, and the American Planning Association. Her core expertise is in evidence-based policy making, housing affordability, urban planning, equitable community development, and organizational change. Lynn has also developed and demonstrated skill in cultivating talent; building teams in complex organizations; transforming programs for greater impact; expanding funding sources and partnerships; and improving operational efficiency.


In addition to her domestic policy experience, Lynn has provided strategic advice to international housing and planning leaders. In 2017, she became a Fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar at Session 574, The Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play. In 2019, Lynn was named one of 50 “Women of Influence” by the Royal Town Planning Institute’s The Planner magazine.

A frequent speaker and award-winning author, Lynn holds a Masters of Regional Planning from Cornell University and a B.S. in community and regional planning from Iowa State University.  Lynn serves on the Advisory Committee for National Initiative on Mixed-Income Communities and the Spaces & Places Organizing Committee.  From 2017-2019, she served as co-chair of the Planning for Equity Policy Guide Working Group at the American Planning Association. Lynn was honored with the 2009 Design Achievement Award from the Iowa State University College of Design and the 2016 Outstanding Young Alumni Award from the Iowa State University Alumni Association.

Connect with Lynn