Ryan Rippel

Ryan Rippel

Director, Economic Mobility and Opportunity

Ryan Rippel is the founding director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's U.S. Economic Opportunity and Mobility (EMO) strategy. In this role, Ryan works with a team of leaders and advocates who are committed to breaking down the barriers that hold back nearly 50 million people from experiencing economic mobility and opportunity across the U.S. - in rural, urban, and suburban communities. The EMO strategy is organized around approaches to addressing everyday barriers to security and opportunity, better equipping communities and employers to create long-term pathways to mobility and overcome structural barriers to mobility, and helping other funders and advocates work together to set even bigger goals to achieve a more equitable, just U.S.

Ryan has spent more than a decade working to better understand why poverty is so persistent in America and what we can do about it. His career has been shaped by his upbringing in central Missouri, through the example and devotion of his mother who raised Ryan and his sister as a single parent, and through the opportunities he’s had to witness communities coming together to make opportunity possible for their residents. Ryan is trained as a lawyer, with a particular interest in local government law. Prior to his current role, he’s held a number of leadership positions within the Gates Foundation including interim chief of staff to the CEO and special assistant to the Co-chair, William H. Gates, Sr. He serves on a number of non-profit boards and is an adjunct professor at Washington University School of Law. He resides with his family in St. Louis.

See articles by Ryan Rippel

Ryan Rippel Grand Challenge

Using authentic voices and stories to upend views on poverty and race

The Voices for Economic Opportunity Grand Challenges has awarded 28 grants to organizations in order to help tell the stories of people facing poverty and marginalization in the U.S.
By Ryan Rippel Director, U.S. Economic Mobility and Opportunity, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
New York COVID-19 outreach

Helping local leaders reach the most vulnerable

The newly-launched OI Economic Tracker will help answer important question about American employment, income, and consumer spending.
By Ryan Rippel Director, U.S. Economic Mobility and Opportunity, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

More about the foundation

Our story

Learn about the origins of the foundation and the values that drive our work.

Our work

Learn about where we work around the globe and the programs we've created to address urgent issues in global health, global development, and education.


Read the latest stories, research, and news from across the foundation and subscribe to our weekly newsletter, The Optimist.