Speaker Bio for May 5, 2024: Mari Kuraishi

Mari Kuraishi is the president of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, leading the Fund’s efforts to create communities of belonging for the places and institutions that Jessie Ball duPont knew and loved by fostering inclusive growth and reducing structural and systemic barriers to resources and opportunity.

In Jacksonville, Mari serves on the boards of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, the Jacksonville Civic Council, and the Cummer Museum. She leads the duPont Fund’s work around creating public spaces where everyone feels welcome, including activating the Jacksonville Riverfront; honoring the contributions of Jacksonville natives James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamond Johnson at Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing Park; and fostering collaboration among nonprofits and community leaders at The Jessie downtown.

Mari is an avid cyclist in Downtown Jacksonville and supports Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, where her son is a visual arts student.

Prior to joining the duPont Fund, Mari co-founded the groundbreaking crowdfunding philanthropy site GlobalGiving with Dennis Whittle, and served as President until 2018. GlobalGiving connects donors with grassroots projects around the world, providing a vetting platform for donors and training and education for nonprofits. Since 2002, GlobalGiving has connected more than 1.8 million donors to 36,000 projects in more than 175 countries around the world, generating more than $900 million in funding for their projects. In 2011, Mari was named one of Foreign Policy’s top 100 Global Thinkers for “crowdsourcing worldsaving.” Prior to founding GlobalGiving, she worked at the World Bank where she created and managed some of the Bank’s most innovative loans and programs, including founding its innovation engine, the Development Marketplace. Mari currently serves on the boards of GlobalGiving, Mission Investors Exchange, and DataKind, as well as on the advisory boards of the U.S.-Japan Council, and the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. In addition to her native Japanese, Mari also speaks Russian, Italian, and French. She earned an undergraduate degree in history from Harvard University and did graduate work in Russian and Japanese history and politics at Harvard and Georgetown Universities. Mari also completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.

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