Michelle Gilliard

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Michelle Gilliard


Director, US Education and Workforce, FHI360


Washington, DC


Michelle Gilliard is a Partner with Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP). Venture Philanthropy Partners is a high engagement philanthropic investment firm which provides significant multi-year growth capital and strategic management support to nonprofits serving children and youth of low-income families in the National Capital Region.

VPP has adapted the relevant principles of private investment firms and applied them for investing in the nonprofit sector. In her role as Partner, Gilliard manages a multi-million dollar portfolio of nonprofit organizations and initiatives including, Ready for Work: Champions for Career and College Ready Graduates in Prince George’s County, and VPP’s Social Innovation Fund initiative youthCONNECT; conducts due diligence and analysis of investment criteria to select high performing philanthropic investments; assists in the creation of growth-oriented business plans; structures investment parameters; and provides strategic advice designed to assist nonprofit organizations in achieving their proposed social outcomes.

Previously, Gilliard was senior director at the Walmart Foundation, one of the world’s largest corporate foundations. In that role, she provided leadership to the Foundation’s national giving programs including career opportunity, environmental sustainability, women’s empowerment, and international giving. While at Walmart, she refined her expertise with developing and funding large-scale collaborative initiatives to address complex social problems by leading the creation of http://www.MyFreeTaxes.com and Walmart Washington@Work.

For more than 20 years, Gilliard has worked on a broad range of social issues affecting low-income populations including a focus on postsecondary education outcomes, workforce readiness and labor market outcomes, and related social support services. Nonprofit capacity building and expanding educational and occupational opportunity characterize the twin focal points of her work.

Previous positions include vice president for programs at the Foundation for Independent Higher Education, vice president for planning and evaluation and executive director of the Consortium for the Advancement of Private Higher Education at the Council of Independent Colleges, and executive advisor at MG Associates. Gilliard received a Ph.D. in higher education from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree in sociology from Brown University, an executive master’s degrees in international service from American University, and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Dayton. She is on the inaugural board of the Excel Center Adult Public Charter School in Washington, DC.

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