Accelerating U.S. Community Impact Investing

Our Featured Speakers

Accelerating U.S. Community Impact Investing featured speakers who will explore and address challenges of increasing impact investment capital U.S. communities. Review the Agenda.

Director, CDFI Fund
Commissioner, Cook County and Founder, Cook County Land Bank
President & Chief Executive Officer, IDP Foundation, Inc.
Managing Director, Impact Investments, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Former CEO, Nuveen Investments

Speaker biographies


Annie Donovan

Annie Donovan has deep roots in community development and finance. She was most recently CEO of CoMetrics, a social enterprise high quality, affordable business intelligence tools to small businesses and nonprofits seeking to improve financial management. Prior to CoMetrics, Donovan was Senior Policy Advisor to the White House, working with the Office of Social Innovation and the Council on Environmental Quality. Donovan has been COO of Capital Impact Partners, a certified CDFI where she was instrumental in creating the high performing teams and strategic plans that positioned Capital Impact as a market leader in the areas of education, health care, long term care and affordable homeownership finance. Donovan has published papers and articles for the Federal Reserve Banks of San Francisco and Boston, Forbes, and the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship. She has an undergraduate degree in Economics and an MBA in Finance.


Bridget Gainer

Bridget Gainer is Cook County Commissioner for the 10th District, representing the North Lakefront and portions of the Northwest side. Commissioner Gainer comes to Cook County Government with 20 years of experience in the non-profit, public and private sectors, a career that has provided a strong foundation in finance, human services and the workings of local government.

Commissioner Gainer created the Cook County Land Bank, the region’s most comprehensive response to reduce the amount and impact of vacant land and abandoned buildings throughout Cook County. Bringing together realtors, private developers, civic and social leaders, Commissioner Gainer’s work to create the Cook County Land Bank has been noted in the Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and Crain’s Chicago Business.

Commissioner Gainer has devoted special interest to the women and children in the County’s criminal justice system. She eliminated the practice of separating new mothers awaiting trial from their newborns, led the fight to ban shackling pregnant detainees during delivery, created the first citizen advisory Board for the Juvenile Detention Center and continues to lead the fight to reduce the number of non-violent offenders in County Jail.


Irene Pritzker

Irene Pritzker became a founding member and President and Chief Executive Officer of the IDP Foundation, Inc. in 2008. It is her belief that education is the way to conquer the world’s greatest challenges, and that everyone should have equal access to education to provide hope, opportunity and economic impact on their homeland. The IDP Foundation is dedicated to encouraging and supporting the development of innovative and sustainable solutions to complex global issues.  She believes a combination of smart philanthropy and investment solutions can be galvanized to make that future a reality.

Exemplifying this philanthropic approach is the IDP Rising Schools Program, which was developed in Ghana as a model for improving educational infrastructure in existing low-fee private schools that serve the poor. This multi-faceted program is proving to be a viable and sustainable model that can be replicated around the world. After a successful pilot with 105 schools with an initial enrollment of 27,000 children, the program has served nearly 600 schools and impacted approximately 140,000 children. The program’s success is attributed to its emphasis on working within the Ghanaian government’s educational framework to educate all children, and through the development of strong partnerships in Ghana with local stakeholders and organizations like the UNDP SDG Philanthropy platform. Irene believes that through a collaborative spirit and information sharing, we can address education sustainably.

In addition to program development, Irene has worked consistently with her wealth advisors and managers to ensure that the IDP Foundation is mission-aligned in its investment strategy. The corpus of the IDP Foundation is currently 92% mission-aligned, with an additional portion earmarked for impact investing funds and seed capital for socially responsible companies that offer direct impact investment opportunities not only in the developing world, but also local communities.

As an advocate for sustainable and market-driven solutions, Irene Pritzker is frequently invited to share the work of the IDP Rising Schools Program at the United Nations and other international fora focused on education. In addition, she is often requested to share her investment strategy with the rapidly increasing impact investing space.

In 2010, the Foreign Policy Association awarded Irene Pritzker with the Global Philanthropy Award, and in 2012 the IDP Foundation, Inc. was granted special consultative status to the United Nations.


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.

She joined MacArthur in 1995, having worked at a Chicago-based child welfare agency. A frequent speaker and guest lecturer, Debra has also served on the United States Treasury Department Community Development Advisory Board and the founding board for the Mission Investors Exchange.
She earned a Master's degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a Bachelor's degree from Yale College, summa cum laude.


Tim Schwertfeger

Tim Schwertfeger, former CEO of Nuveen Investments, was the driving force behind a new era at Nuveen, transforming the 106-year-old, Chicago-based firm into a premier investment management company.

Tim established the Chicago Scholars Foundation with his wife Gail Waller in 1996, and the Best Portion Foundation upon his retirement. Tim is a founding Director of Clean Energy Trust, LEAP Innovations, New Schools for Chicago, The Partnership for College Completion, a Founding Director and Past Chairman of The Public Education Fund and, a Founding Director of the Chicago Renaissance Schools Fund.  He is the Co-Founder of the Ariel Nuveen Investment Program, which teaches children hands-on investment skills. He has served as the Chair of College Summit, Chicago, and Chair of Chicago United. Tim also has served as a member of the Civic Committee of Chicago and its Education Committee, a Director of Chicago Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of Chicago United. Tim also serves on the Board of Directors of A Better Chicago.

Tim attended the Georgetown University Law Center where he received his JD with a focus on business and finance. He attended Harvard’s Business School Advanced Management Program, and the post graduate Stanford University Program in the Humanities.