John Balbach, Associate Director, Impact Investments, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
John Balbach is an Associate Director, Impact Investments with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, where he also is a member of the Climate Solutions initiative. Prior to MacArthur, Balbach served on a National Science Foundation commercialization review committee, managed and raised capital for an Impact Investing Fund focused on developing the Michigan life sciences sector, advised corporations on infusing cleantech solutions into their supply chains, provided consulting services to leading nonprofit organizations with the Nonprofit Finance Fund, served as a strategic advisor to hundreds of founders of technology-based startup ventures through a Michigan economic development program, and helped to establish Silicon Valley Bank in the Seattle market. Balbach holds a B.S in Finance from Miami (Ohio) University, an M.A. from St. John’s College, and an M.P.A. from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Rini Banerjee, Interim Executive Director, Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation
Rini Banerjee brings two decades of experience in philanthropy as the Interim Executive Director of the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation. An Integrated Capital Fellow at RSF Social Finance, she has served as Executive Director at Foundation for a Just Society, Program Officer at the Overbrook Foundation, and Program Director at the New York Women’s Foundation. She is a trustee of the Mertz Gilmore Foundation and Board member of Funders for Reproductive Equity. She has co-created orserved on groups including the NYC-based Asian Women’s Giving Circle, Philanthropy Advancing Women’s Human Rights, the Groundswell Fund, and the Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing. She was a past Board Chair of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) and past Board member of South Asian Youth Action (SAYA!). She holds a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University and a BSc in finance from NYU’s Stern School of Business.
Preeti Bhattacharji, Vice President of Integrated Capitals, The Heron Foundation
Preeti Bhattacharji is a Vice President of Integrated Capitals at Heron. Prior to joining Heron, she served as an assistant director of the Heilbrunn Center for Graham & Dodd Investing and a research associate for the Council on Foreign Relations. Preeti has also completed projects for ImpactAssets, Center4, the NYC Department of Small Business Services, and the Rachel Maddow Show. Preeti received her BA magna cum laude from Columbia University and her MBA with Dean’s Honors from Columbia Business School, where she won the Nathan Gantcher Prize for Social Enterprise.
Patrick Briaud, Philanthropic Advisor, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
Patrick leads RPA's Social Finance Practice, focused on impact investing and market-based approaches. He helps individuals, foundations and corporations use a range of assets to achieve their social impact goals. His areas of expertise include Program Related Investments, Monitoring & Evaluation, Financial Inclusion, Faith-Based Strategies, and the Sustainable Development Goals. Patrick led the creation of two impact investing guides commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Introduction // Strategy & Action) and frequently speaks at industry events.
Prior to RPA, Patrick was head trader and investment analyst of Lee Financial’s $900M portfolio. As a professional tennis player, he earned a world doubles ranking of 125 and played in Wimbledon 2008.
Patrick has a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA from Yale’s School of Management. He serves on the boards of Briaud Financial Advisors, LearnPhilanthropy and the Rivendell Institute at Yale. Outside of work, Patrick can be found wrestling with his two nephews, discussing the implications of different worldviews and dancing the Texas two-step.
Rebekah Saul Butler, Co-Executive Director, Grove Foundation
Rebekah Saul Butler is Co-Executive Director of the Grove Foundation, where she leads the Foundation’s transition to mission aligned investing, co-manages operations, and directs the Foundation’s environment grantmaking. Prior to her work at the Foundation, she was a healthcare-focused strategy and operations consultant with Deloitte Consulting. She spent the beginning of her career as a policy associate at The Guttmacher Institute, where she was managing editor of the Guttmacher Report and spearheaded policy analysis on a range of subjects. Rebekah has served as chair of Funders for Reproductive Equity, on the steering committee of the Bay Area Workforce Funders Collaborative, and as an adolescent health expert on panels for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She earned an AB in Sociology and Spanish from Stanford University and an MBA and MPH from UC Berkeley, where she helped launch the Global Social Venture Competition. She is also Managing Director of the Grove Action Fund.
Dan Chu, Executive Director, Sierra Club Foundation
Dan joined the Sierra Club Foundation as Executive Director in November 2016. Previously, he served as the Senior Director of the Sierra Club’s Our Wild America campaign, which protects land, waters, and wildlife; keeps dirty fuels in the ground; and connects people with nature outdoors. Dan started his environmental career in the 1980s as a door to door canvasser in Colorado. He and his wife then volunteered with the Peace Corps in Panama, assisting farmers with sustainable agricultural practices. Upon returning to the U.S., Dan became the Executive Director of the Wyoming Wildlife Federation and then the national Vice President for regional programs and affiliates at the National Wildlife Federation. Dan holds a Master’s of Science from the University of Colorado and a Bachelor’s of Science from Michigan State University. Dan and his wife Lisa have a daughter, son, and labrador-border collie mix.
Giulia Christianson, Senior Associate, World Resources Institute (WRI)
iulia is a Senior Associate in WRI’s Finance Center, where she leads the Sustainable Investing Initiative. The initiative develops research and tools designed to encourage and empower investors to pursue sustainable investment strategies—re-directing private capital flows towards a sustainable, inclusive, and low-carbon future. Since joining WRI in 2011, her work has also spanned other finance topics, including: scaling up investment in environmental enterprises, mainstreaming climate change within financial institutions, and improving the effectiveness of public finance in mobilizing private sector climate investment. Earlier in her career, Giulia worked at the International Monetary Fund for several years. Later, while completing her MBA, Giulia served as a consultant for companies in Brazil and Thailand and for the New York City Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability. Giulia earned a BA in Economics, International Relations, and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and she completed an MBA at Columbia Business School.
Catherine Covington, Managing Director, MCE Social Capital
Catherine joined MCE Social Capital as a Managing Director in September 2017 where she focuses on engaging and growing MCE’s community of philanthropic Guarantors and investors. She has spent most of her career in the fields of philanthropy and impact investing, most recently as Senior Manager, Client Engagement at RSF Social Finance. During her six years at RSF, she managed their donor advised fund program, played a lead role in investor cultivation and stewardship, managed and grew RSF’s pooled PRI fund program, and led a successful fundraising campaign for an initiative focused on deploying multiple forms of capital in support of sustainable food systems.
Earlier in her career, she worked with and advised public charities, private foundations and philanthropists while at the Tides Foundation, SunTrust Bank, and the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation. She received her B.S. in Business from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech).
Olympia De Castro, Co-Founder and Partner, Community Investment Management
Olympia De Castro is Co-Founder and Partner of Community Investment Management (CIM), an institutional impact investment asset manager that provides strategic debt financing to scale and demonstrate responsible innovation in lending to underserved borrowers in the United States. In this role she focuses on strategy and investments for the Firm. Mrs. De Castro brings 18 years of experience in the financial services industry where she held roles at several private investment and advisory firms. While at Louis Berger Group, Mrs. De Castro provided financial advisory to multilaterals and governments on infrastructure and development projects. At the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank, she worked under the Global SME Banking group and focused of improving global access to finance for small and medium enterprises. Prior to that, Mrs. De Castro held roles at Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, under the investment banking, private wealth and merchant banking divisions.
Mrs. De Castro received a M.I.A in Economic and Political Development from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and a B.A. in Finance from the University of Miami.