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Catherine Clark
Director, RISE

Adjunct Assistant Professor
Duke University: The Fuqua School of Business
100 Fuqua Drive
Durham, NC 27708
p. +1.919.660.7949
f. +1.919. 660.1096

Twitter: @cathyhc


Professor Catherine H. Clark is an experienced impact investor, consultant and educator who has focused on improving the effectiveness of social entrepreneurs and the infrastructure that supports them for over 20 years. After founding one of the nation’s first academic programs focusing on social entrepreneurship-- the Research Initiative on Social Entrepreneurship (RISE) -- at Columbia Business School in 2001, she served as faculty there for nearly 10 years, dovetailing her research and teaching interests with targeted consulting in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors, for entrepreneurial organizations as well as investment funds and foundations.  Professor Clark joined the faculty of the Fuqua School of Business in 2007, and she became a full-time Adjunct Assistant Professor at Fuqua’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (www.caseatduke.org ) in 2010.


Her academic work focuses on how organizations can sustainably and successfully create multiple types of value: social and environmental as well as financial.  In the last decade she produced some of the first national surveys and reports on for-profit social entrepreneurs and impact investing, creating benchmarks and databases to help entrepreneurs and investors understand the challenges and lessons of fellow pioneers emerging around them. She has a particular interest in education, the environment, poverty and global public health and how social entrepreneurship can accelerate change in those fields. Over the past two years, with funding from the Skoll Foundation, she has been studying business models for social entrepreneurs. She sits on several boards, including Investors’ Circle, a national network that has facilitated the investment of over $134 million into more than 200 companies and funds addressing social and environmental issues. She also currently serves as board chair for the SJF Institute, a Durham, NC- based nonprofit which helps positive impact entrepreneurs and communities to thrive, where she has advised on various programs relating to the green economy, sustainable and green jobs, and positive workforce practices.


            Previously, Professor Clark was an impact investor.  She was Founder and Managing Director of the Flatiron Future Fund, a venture capital fund, and Founder and President of the Flatiron Foundation, a nonprofit grantmaking organization, both incubated by Flatiron Partners, an affiliate of JP Morgan Partners.  Formerly, she was Vice President at the Markle Foundation, where for over seven years she helped manage the foundation’s portfolio of grants and program-related investments.  Prior to that, she worked on communications policy at the Aspen Institute, and global economic development through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).


More recently, Professor Clark has been integrally involved in developing international standards for the emerging field of impact investing. She helped develop the transparent standards for B Corporations, served as a founding member of the B Lab Standards Advisory Council, and serves on the Global Impact Investing Rating System (GIIRS) Domestic Standards Advisory Council, which is creating the equivalent of GAAP for impact investing funds globally. She was selected by the Rockefeller Foundation in 2010 to create a forward-looking global research agenda for both B Corporations and all impact investing funds that will be GIIRS-rated. She is also a founding partner in the Growth Philanthropy Network’s Social Impact Exchange, which is focusing on ways to create a more robust capital marketplace for scaling nonprofits that have proven their effectiveness.


Professor Clark holds a BA from the University of Virginia and an MBA from Columbia Business School. She has been quoted in many publications, including the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Chronicle of Philanthropy and has spoken widely on national platforms about social entrepreneurship, including at the White House and the US Congress.