“That first time you see that you’ve changed lives is exhilarating,” says Jamie Cooper-Hohn ’87. “It gives you the desire to do more, and do it well and consistently.”
As founder and CEO of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), Cooper-Hohn has made it her business to demonstrably improve the lives of children in developing countries by achieving large-scale, sustainable results.
Combining the best practices of business with the knowledge and expertise of those working on the ground, Cooper-Hohn has created a new model of charitable giving where projects are selected on the basis of the return they achieve as measured by impact and cost effectiveness. “There is enormous and very high-quality evidence out of the development sector of what works and what doesn’t work,” she explains. “So what we have done is look for the biggest opportunities to have a profound and transformational impact on children’s lives.”
In the past decade, CIFF has partnered with governments, NGOs, corporations and foundations to address HIV/AIDS, newborn health, childhood education and climate change.
Recently, Cooper-Hohn has turned her attention to under-nutrition, the cause of almost half of child deaths and one-third of maternal mortality in the developing world. Last summer, CIFF announced a seven-year, $787 million commitment to a global initiative to eradicate childhood and maternal under-nutrition. It’s the largest single investment ever by a private foundation toward the cause.
“My happiness and my family’s happiness are all about my own children’s health and the degree to which they thrive,” says Cooper-Hohn. “That’s something I want for everybody’s children. That’s what motivates me.”