Laura Callanan, an expert in the field of social innovation, has joined the Foundation Center in the role of Senior Fellow. During this one-year fellowship, Callanan will be in residence at the Center’s New York City office undertaking a variety of activities to elevate work within the philanthropic sector related to leadership development and social impact, as well as help build the Foundation Center’s own capacity for social innovation. In this role, Callanan will share insights on topics ranging from learning culture and foundation strategy to social entrepreneurship and impact assessment through research, webinars, blogging and conferences.
"Against the backdrop of a rapidly changing philanthropic landscape and a pivotal moment in the Foundation Center’s work, the partnership with Laura could not be better timed," said Bradford K. Smith, President of the Foundation Center. "The Foundation Center is more committed than ever to providing the knowledge-driven solutions the social sector demands, and Laura’s expertise can help us deliver the resources that foundations and nonprofits need to succeed."
Callanan is an independent consultant, author and professor with more than 30 combined years of experience in nonprofit and foundation leadership, social sector research, consulting, teaching and board service.
"I am committed to helping social sector organizations be more effective in solving problems for people and communities," said Callanan. "This is a wonderful opportunity to help those in the field strengthen their impact."
During her tenure with the Foundation Center, Callanan will continue to serve as a scholar in residence at the University of California-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business in the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership, and a visiting fellow at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service. Since 2009, she has also been an adjunct professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business, teaching courses on the nonprofit capital marketplace.
From 2008 to 2013, Callanan was a consultant with McKinsey & Company’s Social Sector Office where she was lead author on the milestone research From Potential to Action: Bringing Social Impact Bonds to the U.S. and ran McKinsey’s Learning for Social Impact initiative. Prior to joining McKinsey, she was an independent consultant working with the Synergos Institute, a nonprofit organization addressing global poverty and social injustice, and E-Line Media, a publisher of game-based learning products and services that engage, educate and empower youth.
Previous positions have also included Senior Adviser at the United Nations Development Programme in the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, Executive Director of the Prospect Hill Foundation, Associate Director at the Rockefeller Foundation and Associate Treasurer of the Wallace Foundation.
After graduating from Columbia University with a Master of Public Administration degree, Callanan worked in public finance investment banking serving universities and other large endowed nonprofit organizations on behalf of Lehman Brothers, JP Morgan, and Moody’s Investors Service. Her undergraduate degree in theater is from Barnard College of Columbia University.
Callanan is a past member of the Board of Directors of Signature Theater Company, the New York Foundation for the Arts and Rhizome.org, and of the audit committee for the International Women’s Health Coalition. She was a founding investment committee member and audit committee member for the American Academy of Arts and Letters.