Jane Wales is Vice President of the Aspen Institute and Executive Director of its Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation (PSI). The program works to inform and maximize the impact of social actors from the charitable and private sectors so that they can help solve societal problems and steward shared resources together. In so doing, these actors help build social capital and advance citizen agency, contributing to our society’s capacity to adapt, solve and self- govern. PSI enhances the efficacy of these changemakers and matchmakes among them through its leadership seminars for emerging non-profit leaders and social entrepreneurs, its consensus-building convenings of foundation CEOs and individual donors, its issue-specific philanthropy conferences and its work to advance transparency, including policies for making “open” the data generated by and gathered on the nonprofit sector. PSI’s thought leadership has focused on the nexus of civic engagement, citizen agency and democracy. A senior manager, Jane also leads a 12-program consortium of Aspen Institute programs that work to strengthen American democracy.
Jane is the founder of the Global Philanthropy Forum and its regional affiliates in Africa and Brazil, and the former host of the nationally syndicated National Public Radio interview show WorldAffairs. Previously, Jane served in the Clinton Administration as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of the National Security Council. She simultaneously served as Associate Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where her office was responsible both for advancing sustainable economic development, through science and technology cooperation, and for developing policy for securing advanced weapons materials in the former Soviet Union. In the Carter Administration, Jane served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of state.
In the philanthropic sector, Jane chaired the international security programs at the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the W. Alton Jones Foundation, and she directed the Project on World Security at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. From 2007 to 2008, she served as acting CEO of The Elders, chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and founded by Nelson Mandela. Jane is Chair of the Board of FSG, a nonprofit consultancy, and a member of the board of directors for the Center for a New American Security, OpenCorporates, Water Unite, and IDInsight. She is Chair of the Generosity Commission.