OUR BOARD OF ADVISORS
Aner Ben Ami
Aner was a Project Leader at the Boston Consulting Group, where he worked with clients in the energy, water and transportation sectors. He also served as an Intellligence Officer in the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces).
Primary areas of interest include natural resource conservation, local community building, sustainable food/agriculture and international development. Aner holds an MBA with honors from the Kellogg School of Management and a BA in Economics and History (magna cum laude) from Tel Aviv University.
Shawn Escoffery is the Director of Strong Local Economies program at the Surdna Foundation. In his role, Shawn works to support the development of robust and sustainable economies that include a wide range of businesses, equitable economic policy and access to quality jobs. The program aims to create opportunities for upward economic mobility among communities that have experienced historical barriers, including low-income people, communities of color, women, and immigrants. Economic justice and inclusion are at the core of the work Shawn leads at Surdna. Previously, Shawn served as the Deputy Director of the New Orleans Neighborhood Development Collaborative (NONDC), a community organizing, planning and housing development organization, focused on neighborhood revitalization. Shawn has a strong background in community development, economic policy and workforce development. Shawn has extensive experience in workforce and economic development from his previous senior management responsibilities with the City of Baltimore's Empowerment Zone and at New Community Corporation, one of the largest nonprofit community development corporations in the country. Shawn also served as the Project Executive for a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development contract focused on improving access to technology and has worked internationally on projects in China, Ecuador and Japan. Shawn holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and English Literature from Rutgers University and a Master’s of City and Regional Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a concentration in Housing, Community, and Economic Development.
Rajasvini Bhansali is the Executive Director of International Development Exchange (IDEX) and a passionate advocate for participatory grassroots-led social change and movement building. In a wide-ranging career devoted to social and economic justice, she has led a national social enterprise, managed a public telecommunications infrastructure fund addressing digital divide issues and worked as a researcher, planner, policy analyst and strategy consultant. Vini also worked alongside community leaders as a capacity builder for youth polytechnics in rural Kenya for over two years. Born and raised in India, Vini earned a Master′s in Public Affairs (MPA) with a focus on technology and telecommunications policy from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and Bachelor′s degrees in Astrophysics and Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities & Social Sciences from UC Berkeley. Vini has been involved in community organizing and volunteer board roles for the last two decades. She is currently active on the Board of Directors for Greenpeace USA and the Rockwood Leadership Institute. Inspired by the potential of social justice philanthropy to support movements and community based organizations, Vini has also served on the steering committee for the Bay Area Justice Funders Network (BAJFN) and on the advisory board for the Agroecology Fund.
Chid co-founded Liberty & Justice, Africa’s first Fair Trade Certified™ apparel manufacturer, after working in entertainment, technology, and finance. He was born in Liberia, West Africa, but left as an infant when his father became the nation’s ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, with residence in Bonn. His family was later exiled in the United States. In 2009, Chid returned to Africa after 28 years abroad. Inspired by the Nobel Peace Prize winning Liberian Women’s Peace Movement, Chid co-founded Africa’s first Fair Trade Certified apparel factory to provide economic opportunities for internally displaced women, who on balance, were vulnerable to rampant unemployment and economic exclusion. He is currently leading L&J’s rapid expansion in Liberia and throughout the region. In addition to his work at Liberty & Justice, Chid served as the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the University of Liberia’s Monrovia Business Startup Center (BSC). The BSC was founded by Spark, a Dutch NGO, for whom Chid manages the Ignite Fund (Liberia) – an equity investment fund that makes strategic investments in Liberian Pico-cap companies with high growth potential. He also speaks internationally on social entrepreneurship and impact investing – recently at Harvard, Stanford, and Princeton Universities, as well as the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia and IE in Madrid, Spain. Chid was recognized by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in her 2011 State of the Nation Address for his leadership in shaping trade policy and indigenous Liberian entrepreneurship. He is a recipient of the 2014 Salzburg Global Fellowship, 2014 Global Innovation Summit Ecosystem Award, 2013 New African Press 50 African Trailblazers under 50, and the 2011 SVN Social Innovation Award.
Margot is Vice President, Strategy at Calvert Foundation. She joined Calvert Foundation in 2009 in the risk management and lending department. Today, as a member of the senior leadership team, she manages strategic planning and fundraising activities, developing partnerships that span philanthropy, the public sector, and impact investment. Margot brings significant experience and new ideas to the task of expanding capital raising and assets deployed into global communities, while supporting Calvert Foundation’s leadership position in the industry. Previously, Margot developed strategies and partnerships behind targeted investment initiatives, including WIN-WIN, Ours to Own, and the Indian Investment Initiative. She also managed a loan portfolio and originations for Calvert Foundation. After earlier positions in international development, socially responsible investment, and U.S. community banking, Margot found her happy medium in the wide-ranging work at Calvert Foundation. Margot has an M.B.A. from the University of California-Berkeley, where she was a founding principal of a $1.5 million student-run social investment fund, and a B.A. from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is a 2013 PLACES Fellow with The Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities.