There’s a lot that I’m proud of from the Case Foundation’s seventeen years of work: helping to generate billions in new funding for hundreds of nonprofits to elevate their programs; developing public-private partnerships that have brought significant attention to and traction/scale to issues ranging from national service to growing entrepreneurship and job creation at home and abroad; and putting citizens at the center of innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. But more than anything, I’m proud of the team we have that leads us through these challenges and inspires us to have impact in all that we do.
Through the years, we’ve chosen to maintain a lean organization comprised of some of the best and the brightest in the field. Together we bring passion, an entrepreneurial spirit and fun to all we do and we genuinely enjoy the privilege of working together to change the world. When our Senior Vice President of Social Innovation, Michael Smith, left last year to head the Social Innovation Fund for the White House, we began a search for a very special talent to fill this important role at the Case Foundation. After many months, hours and rounds of interviewing, we have tapped an outstanding executive to join us — today we are announcing that on September 22, Sheila Herrling will join our team as our new Senior Vice President of Social Innovation.
Sheila comes to us with more than twenty years of experience in international development and U.S. foreign policy. She joins us from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) – an independent U.S. foreign aid agency that uses an evidence-based approach to invest in economic growth and poverty reduction in well-governed poor countries—where she served as the Vice President for Policy and Evaluation for the last four and a half years.
Throughout Sheila’s career—including at the Center for Global Development, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, as a U.S. representative to the African Development Bank, and as part of President Obama’s Transition Team—she has consistently found ways to build coalitions for action to put fresh thinking into practice. She has the ideal combination of smarts on substance and savvy on strategy to come up with and move big ideas. I couldn’t be more excited that she will bring her talents to our work at the Foundation. And she’s no stranger to taking big bets. At MCC she staked her career on insisting that the $3 billion in investments made on her watch yield a rate of return in terms of increased income for the poor, on raising the bar on how the impact of those investments were measured, and on putting the agency’s results data into the public domain in order to maximize global learning on what was — and, perhaps more importantly — what was not working in the field.
When I asked Sheila what she was most proud of at MCC, she said, “I’m so glad that our team at MCC pushed the envelope on learning from evidence-based evaluations and on being named the most transparent donor organization in the world. And I was most excited when U.S. taxpayer dollars leveraged real impact – like the doubling of incomes of dairy farmers in El Salvador or the $4 billion in private investment in Ghana, or inspired governments like Cote d’Ivoire to change laws to give women the same rights as men to participate fully in the economy. But, like you, I am most proud of the amazingly smart, mission-driven, fun team I had the honor of leading. And I can’t wait to work with and learn from the equally amazing team at Case Foundation.”
So if it isn’t obvious, today’s announcement is a celebration for our team here at the Case Foundation. As Senior Vice President she will lead the Foundation’s Social Innovation team, which works collaboratively to develop and implement mission-driven domestic and international initiatives, partnerships and a robust portfolio of social and impact investments. Specifically, she’ll focus on continuing and growing the great momentum our team has already established around moving the impact investing field from niche to mainstream; look for new opportunities to bring the Be Fearless principles from inspiration to action in the philanthropic sector; re-energize our efforts in supporting entrepreneurs who create jobs and healthy communities at home and abroad; and explore new opportunities and issue areas in need of urgent, innovative solutions.
Our team is excited about the future and the potential, working closely with partners here at home and around the world, to enact fearless change in communities both near and far. We warmly welcome Sheila to the Case Foundation and we have no doubt she will be a driving force on this journey. Please join us in welcoming her to the team.