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Debra Schwartz

Managing Director, Impact Investments

Debra is Managing Director, Impact Investments and serves on the Executive Leadership Team of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation–a private, global philanthropy with approximately $6 billion in assets and annual grantmaking of roughly $250 million. A pioneer in impact investing, MacArthur has dedicated $500 million of its assets to this purpose. Debra’s group serves as a Foundation-wide resource and engages deeply with selected program teams to devise impact investments that advance key goals. Her group also makes investments and grants that advance innovation, knowledge and connection throughout the impact investment ecosystem, with a focus on fostering the use of catalytic capital.

Debra joined MacArthur in 1995, having previously worked as an investment banker at John Nuveen & Co., and as CFO for a nonprofit child welfare agency. A frequent speaker and guest lecturer, Debra was a presidential appointee to the United States Treasury Department Community Development Advisory Board and a founder of the Mission Investors Exchange.

She holds a Master's degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a Bachelor's degree from Yale College, summa cum laude.

Debra Schwartz works on the following MacArthur programs and projects:

Impact Investments

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Foundations Collaborate on Catalytic Financing to Go Big on Climate Action

This article was originally published on August 29, 2018 in Impact Alpha (subscription required).    Climate change entrepreneurs and fund managers are developing innovative solutions to worldwide challenges. But too often, promising efforts are stuck on the ... Read More
Thumbnail for Four Lessons from Four Decades of Impact Investing

Four Lessons from Four Decades of Impact Investing

Managing Director of Impact Investments Debra Schwartz articulates four key lessons from the Foundation's impact investments work spanning more than 30 years. Read More
Thumbnail for Catalytic Capital: An Essential Tool for Impact

Catalytic Capital: An Essential Tool for Impact

Several years ago, I first remarked that the most compelling impact investments, very often, are "made, not found." My observation drew from the Foundation's three decades of experience as a hands-on impact investor. Throughout, we ... Read More
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