Wendy Ake currently directs the Othering & Belonging Institute's Just Public Finance project. She also consults on the Institute’s application of the targeted universalism policy framework and inclusive strategic philanthropy. Wendy’s work explores exclusive economic structures and the potential of inclusive transformational economic systems. This work is oriented around systems of credit and debt particularly in the context of austerity and financialization. Currently, this work is applied in the context of higher education and student debt, and the realm of public finance in the age of austerity.
Prior to joining the Othering & Belonging Institute, Wendy was a researcher with the Global Justice Program at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University and served on the editorial board of Kirwan’s journal Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary in Global Contexts. She has worked with a number of community-based organizations and advocacy campaigns targeting issues associated with forced migration, refugee rights, internally displaced peoples, environmental politics, democratic media, and social movement building. With formal training in economic geography, physics, and ecology, she has participated in multiple research areas including educational approaches to teaching physics and writing/literacy to address students underrepresented in the field, global food policy, climate change, forced migration, and strategic philanthropy.
She has written on the topic of inclusive strategic philanthropy for a number of private foundations and created workshops for philanthropists seeking to integrate targeted universal funding strategies. Most recently she has co-authored a chapter on targeted universalism and increasingly extreme exclusion in the Roosevelt Institute’s The Hidden Rules of Race: Barriers to an Inclusive Economy released in September 2017 by Cambridge University Press. She is also part of the national initiative Closing the Women’s Wealth Gap advancing policies and strategies to build wealth.
She has served as staff and researcher with the Children's Learning Research Collaborative at Ohio State University's College of Education; the Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing; the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity; the Physics Education Research Group in the Physics Department at the Ohio State University; the Women's Fund of Central Ohio, and Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency & Refugee Rights. She earned her master's degree in Environmental Science & Natural Resources at the Ohio State University with a focusing on the intersection of synthetic biology, climate change, and social theory.