About Us


Melvin W. LaPrade founded the National Urban Research Group (NURG) when he was a Ph.D. Candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Urban Studies and Planning. In the beginning, NURG conducted research and policy analysis on mortgage lending discrimination and the origins of the subprime financial crisis.  The vision of NURG has extended to advance data-driven research through multiple perspectives, with particular concentration to the impact of public policy on social justice and educational equity across P-20 educational platforms.


NURG mission is to foster connections between research and practice by providing non-partisan information and empirical research. Our thought leadership works to shape the broader policy landscape by conducting analysis on approaches objectively demonstrated to reach traditionally underserved communities, low-income and first-generation college students. Our goal is to expand knowledge of effective strategies by developing, modeling, and disseminating innovative approaches and evidence-based best practices.

Who We Are

Our staff includes former classroom teachers and educators, community organizers, social scientists, research analysts, and social media experts. NURG staff members have advanced experience in quantitative and qualitative research methods. We work with charter and public schools, community school districts, community-based organizations and other nonprofits to provide cutting-edge research while cultivating a new generation of scholars focused on contemporary urban issues.

Our Logo

Community Begins Within 

The Crossed Crocodiles are an Adinkra symbol of the Akan people of Ghana and Cote d’lvoire in West Africa.  Evoking unity and community, the African proverb says: “When you share one stomach, you don’t fight over the food.”

The open book represents the quest for knowledge and learning.

And the pyramids symbolize the master builders and their advanced knowledge: science and technology, learning and ancient wisdom, stability and construction.

Encompassing the three symbols of unity, learning and building is the African drum of communication that ties the community together.