Even when Janet Clarke McKinley ’76 was managing billions of dollars in mutual funds for American investors, she had her sights set on helping the world’s poor. At the end of business trips, she would take a few personal days in developing countries to learn what they were up against.
"Once I was directly exposed to the challenges faced by vulnerable communities—particularly women—and how hard they had to work to give their children a better life, I couldn't look the other way," she says.
In 2004, she retired from an extraordinary career in the financial sector to turn her attention to creating lasting solutions to poverty, world hunger and social injustice. She chaired the board of Oxfam America from 2004 to 2010, and has also partnered with international development organizations and the private sector to launch innovative tools such as microloans and savings, microcrop insurance, and small-business financing. She believes in putting her money "in motion"—whether through a philanthropic grant or investment—to make a change.
A former trustee of Smith, McKinley recently facilitated an institutional partnership between Oxfam and Smith, which will provide internship opportunities for students. McKinley was awarded a Smith College Medal at Rally Day on February 21, 2013.