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Audience in Lecture






Executive Director


Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation


Christopher Nelson is the Executive Director of the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, a San Francisco-based philanthropy that funds solutions in education, housing and employment to increase economic power and wellbeing in historically marginalized communities. Chris directs the Foundation’s strategy and oversees its investments in K-12 Education and Housing and Homelessness. Prior to joining the Schwab Foundation, Chris spent 17 years as the Managing Director of the Doris & Donald Fisher Fund, the private foundation of the founders of Gap, Inc., where he led investments resulting in the creation of over 500,000 new quality public school seats for low-income students, directed advocacy and human capital strategies, and spearheaded multi-foundation collaborations in cities across the country. Prior to joining the Fisher Fund, Chris was a litigator at Keker, Van Nest & Peters in San Francisco and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in New York City specializing in complex business litigation, government investigations, and white-collar criminal defense. A longtime equity-focused leader in education reform and philanthropy, Chris served for over a decade on the boards of directors of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and the California Charter Schools Association. Chris co-founded the Silicon Schools Fund and was a co-founder and founding board chair of the Newark Charter School Fund. Chris has served as an advisor to the boards and leadership teams of many leading education organizations including KIPP Foundation and the Charter School Growth Fund. Chris was a member of the fourth class of Pahara-Aspen Education Fellows and has been a guest lecturer at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy. Chis received a B.A. from Duke University in 1992 and a J.D. from Duke University School of Law in 1996.

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