CASE Chat with Debra Schwartz, Managing Director, MacArthur Foundation

Debra Schwartz

May 2017

This month’s CASE Chat features Debra Schwartz, Managing Director of the MacArthur Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the United States. The MacArthur Foundation has been an important leader in the impact investing field, with $500 million in assets allocated to program-related investments and mission-related investments. You can learn more about their impact investing program here.

In the CASE Chat, Debra Schwartz explains how private foundations can act as a catalyst for impact investing, the importance of tri-sector leadership in the field, and her big wish for impact investing as it grows.

Is impact investing a fad?

“…we see more than 70% of women, and more than 80% of millennials, say they are very interested in investing in a way that is sustainable and aligned with their values… I think the real question is what kind of impact investing we’re likely to see in the future?”

The role of foundations in impact investing…

“[The role of foundations] is to provide just enough risk mitigation through a guarantee. Or to provide just enough subsidy by accepting a lower-than-usual return. So that we can kind of square the circle, and then make it possible for the other money to come in, blend with our money. And then we have a result that works.”

Watch Debra’s CASE Chat now:

About Debra Schwartz:

Debra is the Managing Director of Impact Investments and serves on the Executive Leadership Team at MacArthur, which has dedicated $500 million of its assets to impact investing. Debra’s group serves as a Foundation-wide resource, and engages deeply with selected teams to help develop strategy and devise impact investments that advance key goals. A former investment banker, Debra also leads the creation of new impact investment products and platforms that foster easier, more efficient, and more productive connections among multiple impact investors and social sector organizations.

Learn more about Debra here.

About the MacArthur Foundation:

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential networks building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. MacArthur is placing a few big bets that truly significant progress is possible on some of the world’s most pressing social challenges, including over-incarceration, global climate change, nuclear risk, and significantly increasing financial capital for the social sector.

Learn more about the MacArthur Foundation here.

About CASE Chats:

The CASE Chats video series features the movers and shakers in the field of social entrepreneurship sharing their insights on tri-sector leadership, impact investing, social ventures, and more.  View the all the CASE Chats here.