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Heather Grady

Vice President,
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

Heather Grady joined RPA in July 2014, and leads the organization's strategy and program development in global philanthropy, including collaboratives, global programs, research, publications, presentations and other initiatives.

Just prior to joining RPA she helped to launch a new collaboration between the Hilton, Ford and MasterCard Foundations, the Foundation Center, and the UN to encourage philanthropy to engage more meaningfully in the Post-2015 Agenda, which has since become a part of RPA’s programming. Ms. Grady was a Vice President for Foundation Initiatives at The Rockefeller Foundation where she oversaw an annual grantmaking budget averaging $65 million. At the Rockefeller Foundation she ensured significant impact from their strategic initiative model of philanthropy through initiatives in Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience, Impact Investing, Transforming Health Systems, Equitable and Sustainable Transportation, and Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. Her portfolio also included Program Related Investments (PRIs), philanthropic sector support, and the New York City Opportunities Fund. As a member of the Executive Team she participated in setting strategic direction for the Foundation and ensuring the Program Team, a diverse group of professionals in New York, Nairobi, and Bangkok, was effective and highly engaged in achieving shared goals and objectives.

Previously Ms. Grady served as the Managing Director of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative, a decade-long partnership between Columbia University, The Aspen Institute, and the International Council on Human Rights Policy founded in 2002 by former Irish President Mary Robinson. She led the development and implementation of organizational strategy focused on catalyzing leaders to act in concert across government, UN, business and civil society sectors, and expanding public understanding of rights and development issues and solutions. She directed the programs on employment, climate change, and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and contributed substantially to programs on women’s leadership, corporate responsibility, and health. During this period she served as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, where she co-created and taught a graduate course on climate change, as well as a graduate course at Trinity College Dublin.

For almost twenty years Ms. Grady lived and worked in countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East in settings as diverse as Viet Nam, Sudan and Egypt. She managed a range of long-term development and humanitarian programs in these regions that focused on a range of themes including education, livelihoods, health, agriculture and microfinance.

Ms. Grady is a frequent speaker at conferences and has authored numerous publications. She has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the Kennedy School at Harvard, and a Bachelor of Arts from Smith College. She is conversant in Chinese and Vietnamese. She serves on a number of Boards and Advisory Groups including The B Team, the Business and Human Rights Resource Center, and SXSW Eco. She is based in San Francisco with frequent travel to New York and internationally.

Areas of expertise: Economic development, impact investing, the role of business in society, climate change, rights and social justice issues, and collaborative leadership models.

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