The IDP Foundation, Inc. (IDPF), a private nonprofit foundation dedicated to encouraging and supporting the development of innovative and sustainable solutions to complex global issues, has named Corina Gardner as Executive Director of Education.

In this new role, Gardner will use her wealth of experience to strategically expand IDPF’s education initiatives and global influence. Building on the success of the IDP Rising Schools Program, which has unlocked financing and provided training for proprietors of over 600 low-fee private schools (LFPS) across Ghana, IDPF is ready to expand and create a global movement. Gardner will seek out and cultivate strategic alliances and partnerships that acknowledge the tremendous contribution LFPS have on advancing access to quality education on behalf of the millions of children in the developing world that are not currently being served by public education.

“We are delighted to welcome Corina,” said Irene Pritzker, Co-Founder, President and CEO of IDPF. “Her experience and skills match up perfectly with our goals for the next phase of IDPF’s work. Beyond a track record of building global coalitions and championing innovative solutions that improve lives, Corina brings an authentic and inspiring leadership style. Her infectious energy and passion for making a positive social impact will propel us while creating a global movement that recognizes, supports, and promotes the vital and complementary role of individually-owned social enterprises.” Pritzker said.

Gardner’s entire career has been dedicated to achieving positive development outcomes for the vulnerable and excluded—with a special focus on youth populations. Before joining the IDP Foundation, she served as Director of Global Strategy for the Nike Foundation’s Girl Effect, where she led efforts to shift negative social norms in developing countries. Earlier, Gardner worked with GSM Association, a global trade association for mobile network operators, and their strategic partners, which included the Omidyar Network, MasterCard Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. She also brings a wealth of experience from her work on global health within numerous government agencies, including USAID and the U.S. Department of State , where she acted as liaison to the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

“It is an honor to be joining the IDPF team,” said Gardner. “The foundation has established an impressive and completely unique model to finance and grow the reach of affordable schooling at a national level. Through the use of inventive partnerships, the IDPF model has the potential to solve one of today’s biggest global challenges—access to quality education for all. I was drawn to join the IDPF mission because of its strong commitment to amplifying the voices of children, families, and local entrepreneurial school proprietors serving very poor families. Through their support for LFPS, a great number of communities have already been provided with access to quality education, jobs, and a brighter future. I look forward to working with Irene and the entire team as we embark on the next stage of the IDPF journey of expansion and global advocacy.”

Since creating the Rising Schools Program 11 years ago in Ghana, the IDP Foundation, working with microfinance partner Sinapi Aba Savings and Loans, has supported 655 schools with low-interest loans and has impacted over 150,000 students. It plans to add an additional 450 schools by 2023.

See the full press release here.

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