Jacob Harold is a social change strategist, grantmaker, and author who is President and Chief Executive Officer of GuideStar. Harold came to GuideStar from the Hewlett Foundation, where he led grantmaking for the Philanthropy Program. Between 2006 and 2012, he oversaw $30 million in grants that, together, aimed to build a 21st-century infrastructure for smart giving. At the beginning of his career, Jacob worked as a climate change campaigner for Rainforest Action Network and Greenpeace USA and as organizing director at Citizen Works. He also worked as a consultant to nonprofits and foundations at the Bridgespan Group and as a climate change strategist for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation based at The Energy and Resources Institute in New Delhi, India.
Harold was named to the NonProfit Times (NPT) 2014 and 2015 Power and Influence Top 50 lists, and currently serves as a term member for the Council on Foreign Relations. He has written extensively on climate change and philanthropic strategy. His essays have been used as course materials at Stanford, Duke, Wharton, Harvard, and Oxford. He earned an AB summa cum laude from Duke University and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business with a certificate in public management. Harold has further training from Green Corps in grassroots organizing, Bain in business strategy, the Chinese Academy of Sciences in complex systems science, and the School for International Training in Tibetan studies. Harold was born and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where his parents ran small community-based nonprofit organizations.