John K. McIlwain is the Senior Resident Fellow/J. Ronald Terwilliger Chair for Housing at the Urban Land Institute (ULI) in Washington, D.C. An author, speaker, and former lawyer, McIlwain brings more than 35 years of experience in the fields of housing, housing investment, and the development of sustainable urban environments.
As the Senior Resident Fellow for Housing, McIlwain is responsible for leading ULI’s research efforts to seek and promote affordable housing solutions in the United States and other nations, including development and housing patterns designed to create sustainable future environments for urban areas. Also, he is the author of Housing in America: The Next Decade and Housing in America: The Boomers Turn 65, both published by ULI.
Prior to joining the ULI staff, McIlwain founded and served as senior managing director of the American Communities Fund for Fannie Mae in the District of Columbia. The American Communities Fund was a venture fund founded by Fannie Mae that was dedicated to investing in hard-to-finance affordable housing. In this capacity, he was responsible for structuring, underwriting, and closing equity investments in more than $700 million of residential and neighborhood retail developments in lower-income communities around the country. McIlwain also structured, negotiated, and closed over $100 million in historic tax credit and inner-city equity investment funds with Lend Lease, AEW Capital Management, and the Community Development Trust. Before taking that position, he was president and chief executive officer of the Fannie Mae Foundation.
Before joining Fannie Mae, McIlwain was the managing partner of the Washington law offices of Powell, Goldstein, Frazer, and Murphy, where he represented a broad range of clients in the single-family and multifamily housing areas. McIlwain also served as executive assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Housing/Federal Housing Commissioner at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He began his career in housing as assistant director for finance and administration, and deputy director of the Maine State Housing Authority.
McIlwain is a member of the board as well as the immediate past chairman of the Center for Housing Policy and a past president of its affiliate, the National Housing Conference, an umbrella organization in D.C. for low-income and affordable housing issues. He is also a member of the board of the Greenline Community Development Fund as well as the editorial board of The TOD Line: The NY & CT Transit-Oriented Development Newsletter. He also is a past president of the National Housing and Rehabilitation Association.
McIlwain received a law degree from New York University, where he worked for the NYU Law Review and was a John Norton Pomeroy Scholar. He received a bachelor of arts degree, cum laude, from Princeton University. His Twitter handle is @johnkmcilwain.