Jim Bildner

March 22, 2022 | secon2023

Jim Bildner is the CEO of the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation (www.drkfoundation.org), one of the largest venture philanthropy firms in the world.  DRK has made more than 190 investments in early stage non-profit and for-profit social enterprises working to solve complex societal issues including systemic poverty, food and water insecurity, access to healthcare and economic opportunities, sanitation, homelessness, criminal justice, social justice and climate change and adaptation strategies. In the aggregate, its portfolio organizations have directly impacted more than 150 million lives. He is also an Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and a Senior Research Fellow at the Hauser Institute for Civil Society and the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University. At the Kennedy School, his research interests include understanding the role of private capital in solving public problems, extending the capacity of foundations to solve complex societal issues and the sustainability of public and private systems when governments disinvest in these systems. At HKS, he teaches MLD 836, a foundational course on the role of for-profit and non-profit social enterprises in creating social impact and lasting impact when tackling complex societal issues.

Among his many board affiliations, he is a trustee of The Kresge Foundation and chair of its

Investment Committee. He serves on the boards of for-profit social enterprises including Landed

Inc. and UpTrust and serves on the boards of a number of non-profit organizations including

Public Citizen Foundation, Education SuperHighway, Open Biome, Just Capital, The

GroundTruth Project, Climate Central, Service Year, Education Pioneers, the Healthy Americas Foundation (National Alliance for Hispanic Health Foundation) and a number of boards of arts and culture institutions including the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Dallas Symphony Association, Pérez Art Museum Miami, The Africa Center, and on the Board of Advisors of the

Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College.  He is a Trustee Emeritus at Case Western Reserve University, an Overseer Emeritus of the Boston Symphony and an Emeritus Trustee of the board of the Lizard Island Research Foundation in Australia.  He is a member of Young Presidents and a member of the Chief Executives Organization.

In his board service, Mr. Bildner serves on the Investment Committees of boards with aggregate endowments in excess of $4 B as well as a member of numerous finance, investment and/or audit committees of these boards.

Mr. Bildner is a nationally recognized lecturer, panelist, and speaker on nonprofit organizations, social enterprise, the role of boards of organizations, impact investing and the institutional role of philanthropy in solving complex societal issues.  His prior experience includes 22 years in the private sector including as a consultant at Deloitte and serving as the CEO of two public companies.  Mr. Bildner’s government service includes serving as a legislative aide and speechwriter in the United States Senate, a run for the NJ State Assembly, election to two terms as a Selectman in Manchester by the Sea and an appointment by the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services to the Advisory Panel on Medicare Education of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Mr. Bildner has written numerous articles, op-ed pieces and commentaries for newspapers, magazines and radio including NPR’s Morning Edition, The Boston Globe, The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, Harvard Business Review, Stanford Social Innovation Review, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Hampshire Daily Gazette, Inc. Magazine, as well as cases for the Harvard Business School (Education SuperHighway) and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government (The Role of Philanthropy in Community Revitalization).  A lifelong sailor and pilot, he has published two recent books, A Visual Cruising Guide to the Maine Coast, published by McGraw Hill in May of 2006, and A Visual Cruising Guide to Southern New England, published in November of 2009.

Mr. Bildner earned his AB from Dartmouth College, his MPA from Harvard, his J.D. from Case

Western Reserve School of Law and an M.F.A. from Lesley University.  He is a member of the Bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  In 2008, Mr. Bildner was awarded the Dartmouth Alumni Award for service to the College and to his community.