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Jodi Nelson


Jodi Nelson currently works as the Managing Director of Effective Philanthropy at the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.  She comes to Atlanta after years spent working domestically and internationally – most recently in New York City as a consultant to nongovernmental organizations and philanthropies working to improve people’s lives. Previously, she worked as Senior Vice President of Policy and Practice of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a global humanitarian organization dedicated to helping people affected by conflict and poverty to survive, recover, and rebuild their lives. Before that, Jodi spent seven years at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she led the organization’s strategy, measurement, and evaluation function.

Jodi’s career is driven by a passion to bridge the gap between the theory and practice of changing the world. She has a Ph.D. in political economy from Columbia University, where she wrote her dissertation on civil war and territorial politics. Jodi’s experience in academics has left her with a lasting passion for teaching courses in global development and evaluation. She has taught graduate courses at Princeton University, University of Washington, and New York University.

Jodi believes deeply in the opportunity that mission-driven organizations have to use critical thinking, regular feedback, research, and evaluation to continuously learn and improve. She brings this motivation to her role as Managing Director for Effective Philanthropy at the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. A new function for the foundation, Effective Philanthropy has designed and now leads the strategy development process, supports colleagues and grantees to measure the results of their work, guides the organization’s learning and evaluation agenda and seeks to support the Blank Family of Business’ ongoing work to support local communities.  

Jodi lives in Atlanta with her husband Peter and a huge white Swiss Shepherd, pining regularly for her two grown kids to come visit.  

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