Irene Pritzker

Irene Pritzker became a founding member and President of the IDP Foundation, Inc. in 2008. It is her belief that education is the way to conquer the world’s greatest challenges, and that everyone should have equal access to education to provide hope, opportunity and economic impact on their homeland. The IDP Foundation is dedicated to developing and supporting programs that are sustainable and move away from aid dependent models. She believes a combination of smart philanthropy and investment solutions can be galvanized to make that future a reality.

Exemplifying this goal is the IDP Rising Schools Program, a carefully crafted microfinance initiative targeting existing but very poor private schools in Ghana. After a successful pilot with 105 schools with an initial enrollment of 27,000 children, the program is scaling and has currently reached almost 600 schools and impacted 150,000 children.

In addition to program development, Irene has worked consistently with her wealth advisors and managers to ensure that the IDP Foundation is mission-aligned in its investment strategy. Today, we are proud to have achieved a 95% mission-aligned investment portfolio and in addition have made a number of direct investments into young social enterprises.

As a great advocate of sustainable and market-driven solutions, Irene and the IDP Foundation Team are frequently invited to share the work of the IDP Rising Schools Program at the United Nations and other international fora focused on education. In addition, she is asked increasingly to share her investment strategy with the rapidly growing impact investing space.

In 2010, the Foreign Policy Association awarded Mrs. Pritzker the Global Philanthropy Award and in 2012 the IDP Foundation, Inc. was granted special consultative status to the United Nations. In 2019, Mrs. Pritzker received the Australia US Midwest for Outstanding Achievement from the Australian New Zealand American Chamber of Commerce (ANZACC Midwest).


Australia US Midwest Award for Outstanding Achievement 2019

Global Philanthropy Award 2010


Speaking Engagements

  • Forbes 400 Summit on PhilanthropyNew York, New York June 2019
  • The Owners Forum Americas 2019New York, New York June 2019
  • Harvard Social Enterprise ConferenceBoston, MA March 2019
  • African Diaspora Investment Symposium 2019Silicon Valley, CA January 2019
  • TBLI Interview - CNN Innerleithen, Scotland September 2018
  • Handler Thayer Family Office ForumChicago, IL June 2018
  • Mission Investors ExchangeChicago, IL May 2018
  • Synergos Global Philanthropists Circle Dubai, UAE February 2018
  • Africa Diaspora NetworkSan Francisco, CA January 2018
  • Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance Rome ForumRome, Italy September 2017
  • The Irene D. Pritzker/IDP Foundation Distinguished Lecture on Social and Economic Development feat. the Right Honorable Gordon BrownNew York, New York April 2017
  • Cavendish Global Impact Investing SummitChicago, IL February 2017
  • World Bank Smackdown DebateNew York, NY February 2017
  • Yale School of Manangement Speakers SeriesNew Haven, CT November 2016
  • Forefront Podcast: Impact Investing for Scalable Social ChangeChicago, IL July 2016
  • CAF America and United Nations Development Program: Monitoring and Impact MeasurementNew York, New York June 2016
  • International Grantmaking SymposiumNew York, NY June 2016
  • Synergos GPC Member Meeting New York, NY May 2016
  • Global Schools Forum: Reaching BoP LearnersZurich, Switzerland February 2016
  • Morgan Stanley Thought Leadership SummitPebble Beach, California November 2015
  • Morgan Stanley Thought Leadership SummitPebble Beach, CA November 2015
  • The China Philanthropy ForumBeijing, California November 2015
  • Council on Foundations Annual MeetingSan Francisco, CA April 2015
  • Impact Capitalism SummitChicago, IL February 2015
  • TBLI ConferenceChicago, IL January 2015
  • Foreign Policy Association / Irene D. Pritzker Distinguished Lecture on Social and Economic DevelopmentNew York, New York June 2014
  • SRI/ESG GroupChicago, IL April 2014
  • Global Education and Skills ForumDubai, UAE March 2014
  • International Education Funders Group ConferenceZurich, Switzerland February 2014
  • APEC Women Leadership ForumBeijing, China November 2013
  • Agenda Sant’Egidio: Italian Forum on Philanthropy: Wealth Against PovertyRome, Italy October 2013
  • Global Partnerships Forum & Pricewaterhouse CoopersNew York, New York September 2013
  • Synergos Network Education ForumNew York, New York May 2013
  • COF Annual ConferenceChicago IL April 2013
  • GEMS Education ConferenceDubai, UAE March 2013
  • New Legacy Capital and S&P GlobalNew York, New York March 2013
  • Sabanci Foundation Seminar - Keynote SpeakerIstanbul, Turkey December 2012
  • United Nations Global Conference on Social ChangeNew York, New York October 2012
  • UNESCO Education for All Global Monitoring Report LaunchParis, France October 2012
  • UNESCO-UNOP-IDP Foundation, Inc.New York, New York May 2012
  • Comparative and International Education Society Annual ConferencePuerto Rico April 2012
  • United Nations Foundation: GirlUp Leadership SummitWashington D.C. March 2012
  • Donors ForumChicago, IL February 2012
  • United Nations Office of Partnerships: Social Innovation Summit 2011New York, New York June 2011
  • UNOP-UNESCO-UNDP International Literacy DayNew York, New York September 2010

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