This page is optimized for a taller screen. Please rotate your device or increase the size of your browser window.


Principal Associate, Social & Economic Policy

Donna DeMarco has more than 30 years of experience successfully designing and managing research studies on a variety of federal, state, and local programs targeted to lower income individuals and families. She has experience with program evaluation and policy analysis in a wide variety of fields, including asset building, community and economic development, housing, family development, education, job training, and community services. She has expertise in the implementation of qualitative research and data collection for large-scale, multi-modal, experimental research projects.

DeMarco also co-leads the Data Capture and Surveys Global Capability Center at Abt. The Center provides a resource to help build knowledge and technical skills and share industry best practices and emerging innovations in survey and data capture. This helps position Abt as a global thought leader that produces exceptional technical solutions in surveys and data capture based on data, rigor, and innovation.

DeMarco leads several long-term evaluation projects on housing and financial well-being. She is currently directing the Pre-Purchase Housing Counseling Evaluation Project, a 10-year experimental evaluation for the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development. Her responsibilities include research design, budget and timeline management, staff training, and reporting. DeMarco’s experience in project leadership extends to several studies for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on financial well-being. She is currently leading the CFPB’s Financial Education for Institutions of Higher Education Study. Her work on financial education includes literature reviews, stakeholder interviews and focus groups, online survey design, data analysis, and reporting.

DeMarco has more than three decades of experience in program evaluation and policy analysis at Abt, providing technical assistance to an array of clients. Much of her work has been focused on developing improved financial literacy and evaluating housing programs. She has led several national random assignment evaluations. She served as Deputy Project Director for the first congressionally mandated evaluation of individual development account (IDA) programs, to which she contributed more than a decade of project management and data collection expertise. DeMarco also has experience connecting stakeholders, establishing alliances between financial institutions and community-based organizations.

Before coming to Abt, DeMarco worked as a project director and field director with B. Angel & Associates.


  • Financial Education, Well-Being, and Empowerment
  • Housing Policy
  • Complex Survey Designs
  • Process and Implementation Studies
  • Project Management

Key Projects:

  • Pre-Purchase Homeownership Education and Counseling Evaluation (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development)
  • Financial Education at Institutions of Higher Education Study (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)


  • Laura Peck, Shawn Moulton, Debbie Bocian, Donna DeMarco, Nichole Fiore, “Short-Term Impact Report: The HUD First-Time Homebuyer Education and Counseling Demonstration, Preliminary Findings.” Department of Housing and Urban Development, June 2019.
  • Jessica Thornton Walker, Debbie Gruenstein Bocian, Donna DeMarco, Brian Freeman, and Dee Warmath. “Understanding the Pathways to Financial Well-Being.” Bethesda, MD: Abt Global, August 2018.
  • Shawn Moulton, Laura Peck, Nichole Fiore, Debbie Bocian, Donna DeMarco, “Who Participates in Homebuyer Education and Counseling Services and Why?” Department of Housing and Urban Development, October 2018.
  • Donna DeMarco, Nichole Fiore, Debbie Bocian, Shawn Moulton, Laura Peck. “The First-Time Homebuyer Education and Counseling Demonstration: Early Insights.” Department of Housing and Urban Development, June 2016.
  • Qualitative Findings from Focus Groups with Consumers on Credit Reports, Comparison Shopping of Financial Products, Auto Purchases, and Rules of Thumb for Financial Decision-making for the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, 2014.
donna demarco