Julia Stasch has been named president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Stasch, who has a strong housing background, moves into the top post after serving as interim president. “During a far reaching presidential search over the past eight months, we watched Julia rapidly changing the work and the point of view of the Foundation. We realized that she was already the president that we hoped to find,” said MacArthur board chairman Marjorie Scardino in a statement. “We wanted someone with a breadth of experience, who thinks big and has a bias for action, who has run a complex organization and can select and lead smart people. Julia has shown us that she is that person.”

She replaces Robert Gallucci, who left in 2014 after five years.

Recent moves made by Stasch and the Foundation include launching the Safety and Justice Challenge, a $75 million effort to reduce over–incarceration by addressing the overuse and misuse of jails in America, and designing a a soon-to-be-launched innovative effort to deliver useful capital for the social sector.

MacArthur has been a big funder of housing research and has also been behind a $150 million effort to preserve affordable rental housing.

Before becoming interim president, Stasch served as vice president for MacArthur’s U.S. programs for 13 years. At MacArthur, she led work in juvenile justice, affordable rental housing, community development finance, and policy research, as well as community and economic development in Chicago.

Earlier in her career, she served as commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Housing and then chief of staff for Mayor Richard M. Daley.

She was inducted into AHF’s Affordable Housing Hall of Fame in 2010.

Connect with Donna Kimura, deputy editor of Affordable Housing Finance, on Twitter @DKimura_AHF.