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Staff Profile

Debra Schwartz

Managing Director, Impact Investments

Debra joined MacArthur in 1995 and currently oversees a $300 million investment portfolio dedicated to maximizing impact. Her team of banking and finance professionals deploy these assets and provide expertise to further strategic philanthropic priorities across the foundation. A hallmark of their approach is to actively craft sophisticated, risk-tolerant loans, guarantees and equity investments that unlock substantial additional capital from other investors who are deterred from engaging with unconventional social enterprises and markets due to real and perceived risks, transaction size and cost, long time horizons to exit, modest margins, and other factors.

Debra is an internationally recognized leader in impact investing with 30 years of experience in investment banking, public and nonprofit finance, social enterprise, affordable housing and community development. A frequent public speaker and lecturer at leading universities, including the University of Chicago, Oxford, Yale, Harvard, Stanford and Northwestern, Debra brings an in-depth, practical perspective to the challenge of building high-performing, mission-driven nonprofits and businesses and the critical role of strategic impact investment in fostering a more vibrant, sustainable social sector. From 2013-2014, she served on the US National Advisory Board to the G8 Global Social Impact Investment Task Force. Debra is a past presidential appointee to the United States Treasury Department Community Development Advisory Board, a founder of Mission Investors Exchange, and a member of several other boards and informal advisory committees.

She received her Masters of Management in Finance and Nonprofit Management from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University and a Bachelor's in History, summa cum laude, from Yale University in 1984.

Debra Schwartz works on the following MacArthur programs and projects:

Impact Investments


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