The Rockefeller Foundation announced that Maria Santos Valentin has been named general counsel and corporate secretary for the foundation.
Valentin joined the foundation from the Soros Economic Development Fund – part of the Open Society Foundations – where she served as secretary and general counsel. In her new role, Valentin will oversee and advise the foundation on a broad range of legal matters, the foundation said in a news release.
Valentin has worked with the Open Society Institute since its inception in 1998. During her tenure, she has structured and negotiated more than 40 innovative program-related investments around the world, primarily in Central and Eastern Europe, India, Africa and the Middle East, which totaled over $200 million. The investments focused on increasing financial inclusion around the world and improving the lives of smallholder farmers, refugees and migrants. Valentin also served as deputy general counsel for the Open Society Institute, also part of the Open Society Foundations.
“Maria brings a cogent combination of global legal experience and governance knowledge,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, president of The Rockefeller Foundation. “Her experience structuring impact investments to have the maximum social outcome for poor and vulnerable communities will be an invaluable asset to The Rockefeller Foundation as we continue to identify opportunities to drive large-scale human impact through solutions in data, technology and innovative finance. I’m confident that Maria will be an exceptional advisor and am thrilled to welcome her to our leadership team.”
“I am delighted to be joining The Rockefeller Foundation as General Counsel,” said Valentin. “I look forward to using my experience to help the Foundation achieve deeper impact. It is a great privilege to be a part of an institution with such a deep and long history of generating and catalyzing positive social change, and to join Dr. Shah’s senior leadership team in achieving the Foundation’s new strategic vision in the U.S. and around the world.”
Prior to her work at the Soros Economic Development Fund, Valentin spent a decade working as an international corporate securities lawyer, first for Brown & Wood, based in the United States, and then Clifford Chance, based in the United Kingdom. In that capacity, Valentin worked on emerging market capital markets transactions in Central and Eastern Europe and Latin America. She is a graduate of Fordham University and received a J.D. from Yale Law School.
“Maria has been an instrumental player in the growth and development of the Open Society Foundations,” said Patrick Gaspard, president of the Open Society Foundations. “Her expertise and experience range far and wide – from the nitty gritty of philanthropic governance issues to the cutting-edge aspects of impact investing to advance social good. We are grateful for all that she has done to advance our work at Open Society, wish her every success in her exciting new opportunity as general counsel at Rockefeller, and look forward to continued partnership in the years to come.”
Valentin will assume her new role on April 29, 2019.