We are honored to have the advice and counsel of leaders who have transformed the social sector into a vibrant, dynamic engine for systemic change. Over the past 20 years, their insights, ideas, and inspiration have attracted the very best talent into the social sector, and their visions have turned intractable problems into opportunities for innovation. As we grow our network and develop new talent, their experience and perspective will help ensure that we succeed in achieving our mission: To help leaders in the social sector forge the capabilities and relationships needed to drive systemic change and societal renewal.
Richard Barth is the CEO of the KIPP Foundation. Over the past nine years in that role, he has overseen the significant growth of the network from 45 to 183 schools, dramatically expanded KIPP’s leadership development programs, advocated for high performing charter schools on Capitol Hill, and secured more than $350 million in new, long-term philanthropic commitments, including more than $145 million from the federal government. Richard came to KIPP from Edison Schools, where he served as President of District Partnerships and managed school partnerships serving more than 40,000 students. Before joining Edison, Richard was one of the founding staff members of Teach For America. He earned a BA in American History from Harvard University, and is an Aspen Institute–New Schools Fellow. He currently sits on the board of directors of The Broad Center for the Management of School Systems, General Assembly, ROADS Network Charter Schools, and the KIPP Foundation. Barth was named a 2014 Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year and Harvard University’s Chief Marshal for 2014 commencement ceremonies.
Elisa Villanueva Beard is the CEO of Teach For America. Elisa’s passion for educational equity comes from personal experience. She grew up in the Rio Grande Valley and developed a deep commitment to Teach For America’s mission as a student at DePauw University, where she was one of just a few Mexican American students. Her journey with TFA started in Phoenix as a 1998 corps member. She joined the organization’s staff in 2001 to serve as executive director of the Rio Grande Valley region. Four years later, she became Chief Operating Officer, leading TFA’s field operations and spearheading expansion from 22 regions to 46. In 2013, Elisa was named co-CEO of TFA alongside Matthew Kramer. Matthew Kramer stepped down in 2015, Elisa became the CEO. Today, TFA currently impacts more than 750,000 students in over 2,600 schools. Elisa holds a BA in sociology from DePauw University. She lives with her husband, Jeremy, and their four sons in Houston.
Alan Khazei is a social entrepreneur who has pioneered ways to empower citizens to make a difference. Alan is the Founder and CEO of Be The Change, Inc., which creates bipartisan national issue-based campaigns to affect public policy and culture. Be The Change has three campaigns: Service Nation to promote a year of national service as a civic rite of passage; Opportunity Nation to promote social mobility, expand opportunity and fight poverty; and Got Your 6 to support Veterans from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and recognize them as civic assets and leaders. Alan is the Co-Founder and former CEO of City Year, an education-focused national-service program. He also serves as the Co-Chair of the Franklin Project on National Service at the Aspen Institute and has served on the boards of leading national nonprofits, receiving numerous awards, including the Reebok Human Rights Award, the Jefferson Award for Public Service, and the Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur Award. In 2006 U.S. News and World Report named Alan one of America’s Best Leaders. Alan was a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts. He is the author of Big Citizenship: How pragmatic idealism can bring out the best in America. Alan is an honors graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School and the recipient of several honorary degrees. He lives in Brookline, MA, with his wife, Vanessa Kirsch, and their two children.
Founder and CEO, New Profit; Founder, Public Allies and WIN
Vanessa Kirsch is Founder and CEO of New Profit, a venture philanthropy fund in Boston that aims to break down barriers to opportunity in America. As a social entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in developing innovative solutions to social problems, Vanessa guides New Profit’s vision and strategic direction and oversees the organization’s cutting-edge focus funds. Prior to New Profit, Vanessa founded and led the Women’s Information Network (WIN) and Public Allies, a national youth service organization named by the Bush Administration as one of eight model programs in America, and by the Clinton Administration as an AmeriCorps national service model. She received the Leadership in Social Entrepreneurship Award from Duke University’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship. Ernst & Young named her “Entrepreneur of the Year” in the category of social entrepreneurship. Vanessa has also been recognized by Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report as a leader of her generation, and Forbes identified her as one of 15 innovators who will reinvent the future. In 2014, Vanessa and her husband, Alan Khazei, were named by FORTUNE magazine and CNNMoney to their list of “World’s Greatest Leaders: 9 Dynamic Duos.” Vanessa is a graduate of Tufts University and serves on the Tisch College Board of Advisors. She also serves on the boards of College Summit, Eye to Eye, and The Mission Continues.
Wendy Kopp is CEO and Co-founder of Teach For All, a global network of independent organizations that are cultivating their nations’ promising future leaders to ensure their most marginalized children have the chance to fulfill their true potential. Wendy led the development of Teach For All to be responsive to the initiative of inspiring social entrepreneurs around the world determined to adapt this approach to their own countries. Now in its eighth year, the Teach For All network has partner organizations in more than 35 countries around the world. Wendy also founded Teach For America in 1989 to marshal the energy of her generation against educational inequity in the United States. Today, more than 10,000 Teach For America corps members are in the midst of two-year teaching commitments, and the vast majority of its 40,000 alumni continue working to expand opportunity for children. After leading Teach For America’s growth and development for 24 years, Wendy moved into the role of chair of the board in 2013.
Emily is the President of Citizen Schools, a national non-profit that partners with middle schools in low-income communities to provide an expanded learning day, rich with new opportunities. Emily joined Citizen Schools in 2003 as Chief Financial Officer. Citizen Schools currently serves over 5,000 students in 32 partner schools across 11 districts and 7 states has annual revenue of $30M. Before Citizen Schools, Emily worked in Business Planning & Development for the Walt Disney Company where she was responsible for strategic planning and resource allocation. Earlier, she worked in Mergers & Acquisitions for J.P. Morgan & Company, advising top executives from leading international chemical companies. She earned a BA from Harvard College and later received her MBA from Harvard Business School. The daughter of an educator, Emily is a seven-time marathoner and lives in Needham, MA, with her husband Sean, a secondary school history teacher, coach, and admissions officer, and their four children.
Jesús is Managing Partner of the Family Independence Initiative (FII), a nationwide initiative led by and for families who are together harnessing the power of information to get and stay out of poverty. After 15 years working as a community organizer, Jesús joined FII in 2010 as Executive Director of Boston, where he grew FII to include 800 families across the city. Jesús came to FII from the Hyde Square Task Force (HSTF), where he served as Deputy Director and worked on the Youth First project that helped lay the groundwork for a proposed $250 million urban development project. In 2008, the organizing team at the HSTF organized and designed a youth-led comprehensive Civics curriculum in Boston Public Schools, currently being piloted in three high schools with the hope that it becomes a mandatory requirement for all BPS graduates in two years. Jesús is a member and Co-Chair of the English for New Bostonians Oversight Committee and a board member for the New England Grassroots Environment Fund. He is also a Senior Fellow faculty member within the Institute for Nonprofit Management and Leadership at Boston University School of Management. Earlier this year, the Boston-based Barr Foundation awarded Jesús a Barr Fellowship for his contribution to the city and his potential to drive positive change.
Co-Founder and CEO, College for Social Innovation; Co-Founder and former CEO, Citizen Schools
Eric is the Co-Founder and CEO of College for Social Innovation, a non-profit that partners with colleges to offer fully credited, semester-long Fellowships to undergraduates seeking careers in the social sector (www.CollegeforSocialinnovation.org). Eric is also Co-Founder and former CEO of Citizen Schools, author of The Opportunity Equation, co-editor of The Case For 21st Century Learning, and author of numerous articles and book chapters, including “Calling All Citizens” in The New York Times best-selling Waiting For Superman. Before starting Citizen Schools, Schwarz served as vice president of City Year and as a journalist at The Oakland Tribune and The Patriot Ledger (Quincy, MA) where he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. He is a member of the board of Beyond12 and of Citizen Schools, and chair of the board of US2020, a national STEM mentoring initiative launched at the White House. He graduated from the University of Vermont (BA) in 1983 and the Harvard Graduate School of Education (M Ed) in 1997. Schwarz lives in Brookline, MA, with his wife and two children.
Robert M. Smith
Co-Founder, Craver, Mathews & Smith; Founder and former CEO, Targeted Communications Corporation and Focalpoint
During the Watergate years, Common Cause Chairman John Gardner observed: Everyone is organized but the people. With that challenge, three of Gardner’s disciples founded Craver, Mathews & Smith to organize the people. Inventing new organizing strategies, data processing systems, and geo-demographic targeting, Rob Smith and his partners changed the way nonprofit organizations built their memberships and the way political candidates generated grass roots support. Among their clients were the Sierra Club, the Wilderness Society, Children’s Defense Fund, ACLU, Human Rights Campaign Fund, National Organization for Women, National Resources Defense Council, Special Olympics, League of Women Voters, and World Jewish Congress, as well as political candidates and parties on three continents. In the 1980s and ‘90s, Rob founded a second company called Targeted Communications Corporation, which adapted those “donor focused” strategies to the for-profit world, helping pioneer Customer Relationship Management, which he later used to enhance the effectiveness of nonprofits. After decades of focusing on how organizations work, or fail to, Rob launched Focalpoint to develop a more results-oriented Strategic Planning methodology—now used by many nonprofit membership organizations, trade associations, and Fortune 100 corporations. Rob graduated from University of California at Berkeley and lives with his wife, Sally, and three sons in Santa Barbara, CA.
The essential question animating Jeff’s career—whether in working with children, educators, or executives—has always been: how can we create learning experiences that are deeper, more meaningful, and enduring? Prior to co-founding Transcend, Jeff spent a decade in senior leadership roles at Teach For America, a national nonprofit dedicated to educational opportunity for all children. For the majority of that time, Jeff served as EVP of Teacher Preparation, Support, and Development and Chief Learning Officer, where his teams focused on optimizing the training and ongoing support of TFA’s thousands of corps members nationally. Before that, Jeff worked at Monitor Group, an international consulting firm, where he focused on adult and organizational development and created a technology product to extend the impact of learning experiences. Wetzler was a founding board member of Leadership Prep Charter Schools and currently serves on the boards of Uncommon Schools NYC, New Classrooms Innovation Partners, and the National Academy of Advanced Teacher Education. For the past two years, Jeff has also served as a design advisor to the Achievement First Greenfield School innovation project. Jeff is a Fellow in the Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. He earned a doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University, where his dissertation research examined how to apply design thinking to advance innovation in education systems. Jeff earned a bachelor’s in psychology from Brown University, where he co-founded and taught extensively through Providence Science Outreach, a nonprofit that equips university students to do hands-on STEM projects with children in under-resourced schools. During his time at Brown, Jeff also studied under Ted Sizer, whose beliefs about learning and school design profoundly shaped his worldview. Jeff lives in New York with his wife and two kids, who constantly fuel his inspiration and urgency in this work.