The Urban Institute is a non-profit that was originally founded by President Lyndon Johnson and group of his handpicked cohorts to provide research supporting his administration’s liberal entitlement programs.
The organization has since expanded its scope beyond its founding mission to become a general public policy research organization that investigates social and economic issues through 11 different specific policy centers and 13 cross-center initiatives.
Urban Institute claims to be a non-partisan organization that doesn’t take positions on hot-button current political issues.  However, the organization is known as a liberal or left-leaning think tank as it researchers often come to conclusions that call for policies that advance the progressive agenda. The findings of Urban Institute researchers cover left-of-center issue areas including higher general fund taxes,  climate change taxes and environmentalist energy incentive policies,  government-run healthcare,  expanded immigration, lax criminal punishment policies,  and policies that address so-called “white privilege.”
The Urban Institute was founded in 1968 in order to strengthen President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society entitlement programs, the largest expansion of government-run social programs since President Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal.”
President Lyndon Johnson selected seven individuals, several of whom had worked in senior roles in the Johnson administration, to create the Urban Institute: Kermit Gordon, McGeorge Bundy, Irwin Miller, Arjay Miller, Richard Neustadt, Cyrus Vance, and Robert McNamara. William Gorham was selected as the organization’s first President. The Urban Institute has “greatly expanded from its original urban focus,” to become a general public policy organization investigating a number of social and economic issues.
A number of different sources including the Hill, Huffington Post, Forbes magazine, and the left-wing group Fairness and Accountability in Reporting have labeled the Urban Institute a liberal or left-leaning think-tank.
The Urban Institute partnered with the liberal Brookings Institution to create the Tax Policy Center.  On multiple occasions the center’s analysis of Republican tax proposals has been met with criticism. In reference to the party’s 2017 tax reform proposal, the Wall Street Journal called the Urban Institute’s analysis “propaganda” that “trashes GOP reform without evidence.”
The Tax Policy Center is run by former Clinton administration official Leonard Berman.
Data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics shows that between 1990 and late 2017, Urban Institute employees had given nearly $300,000 to Democrats and only $750 to Republicans.
In keeping with its founding by Democratic politicians, the Urban Institute’s research has consistently supported liberal policies.
Urban Institute researchers argue that the United State should impose taxes on corporate income not earned in the United States and also against the income of companies not headquartered in the U.S. In 2017, Urban Institute researcher David Marron testified before a Senate committee against corporate income tax cuts and against taxing certain small businesses at a preferential rate. He also argued that pass-through entities should be taxed in fact at a rate higher than the corporate income tax rate.
The Urban institute is a staunch defender of the healthcare system created under Obamacare. The Urban Institute scholars assert that there needs to be a “clear enforcement of the individual mandate”  and created research that supports Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.
Urban Institute researchers argue in support of a “robust institutional and regulatory environment” concerning environmentalist policy. Their researchers have supported a carbon tax on greenhouse gas emissions, “regardless of source,” costing taxpayers an estimated $1.2 trillion over its first decade. Researchers would then use the revenue from the carbon tax to subsidize handouts to environmentalist-supported energy sources.
Urban Institute researchers wrote an article calling for social support programs that confront ethnic inequity in access to economic and social mobility. Urban Institute argues that there is not enough affordable housing in the U.S. and that government handouts such as rental vouchers, and tax credits to builders are essential to help build more affordable housing. 
Urban Institute researchers penned an article titled, “To talk about structural racism, we have to talk about white privilege,” which called for white individuals to accept that White privilege and structural racism are interlocking concepts.
Urban Institute has faced numerous challenges to the merits of its research.
In one notable instance, Mark Warshawsky, a Research Fellow at the George Mason Universities Mercatus Center, found that models used by the Urban Institute suffered “from a policy bias.” Warshawsky argued that the Urban Institute’s research materials were “incomplete and sometimes even opaque in key areas and assumptions,” which made them tough if not impossible to replicate.
The Urban Institute’s Tax Policy Center released a preliminary estimate on the GOP’s tax plan that is “impossibly specific”  given that it excused critical parts of a tax plan, such as the income ranges for the individual brackets.  The Wall Street Journal said that their analysis is “Tax Policy Center Propaganda” that “trashes GOP reform without evidence.”
Foundations, Government agencies, corporations and individuals give to the Urban Institute via grants used to support the Institute’s Policy Centers.
Since 2010 the Urban Institute has received $ 583,807,946 in contributions and has spent $549,185,482.
Initially the Urban Institute was “funded almost entirely by federal grants and contracts.” During the Reagan Administration, the Urban Institute saw a considerable cut in federal funding from $12 million in 1980 to $3 million in 1982. To fill the financial hole liberal groups like the MacArthur, Ford, Carnegie, and Mellon Foundations “stepped in and helped fill the gap” in funding.
However, in recent years, federal funding for the Urban Institute has increased and in 2016, federal government funding was the largest source of revenue for the organization, providing about 43.6% of the Urban Institute’s operating funds whereas funding from private foundations comprised 40% and revenues from nonprofits, corporations and corporate foundations, state and local governments, international organizations and foreign entities, individuals, and Urban’s endowment comprised the rest.
Since 2013 the Urban Institute has received $ 151,026,851
[/note] in federal funding, with $23,797,575
 coming in 2016.
The Urban Institute has taken millions of dollars from liberal foundations including over $1 million from a number of organizations. Donors in 2015 included a number of liberal foundations:
Laura and John Arnold Foundation
Other left-wing donors who have given to Urban Institute include:
American Civil Liberties Union
Everytown for Gun Safety
Sarah Rosen Wartell is the current president of Urban Institute. She previously served as “President Bill Clinton’s deputy assistant for economic policy and the deputy director of his National Economic Council.”
The Urban Institute’s current Board of Trustees is comprised of 25 members, chaired by Clinton administration Deputy Attorney General Jamie S. Gorelick and vice-chaired by Freeman A. Hrabowski III and Jeremy Travis.
Of the Board’s 25 members, at least seven have worked in either the Clinton or Obama administrations.