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Mark Kramer  

Co-founder of FSG, Author & Co-Creator of Shared Value Concept

Mark Kramer is co-founder of FSG, a nonprofit consulting firm he co-founded with Harvard Business School Professor Michael E. Porter. He is the author of influential publications on shared value, catalytic philanthropy, collective impact, strategic evaluation, and impact investing. He has led consulting engagements across all of FSG’s impact areas, with particular emphasis on philanthropic strategy for private foundations, shared value initiatives, strategic evaluation, and impact investing. Kramer also leads the research on many of FSG’s publications and publishes regularly in Harvard Business Review and Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Kramer is a frequent keynote speaker around the world on topics such as catalytic philanthropy, collective impact, creating shared value for corporations, new approaches to evaluation, and impact investing. He has spoken and published extensively on philanthropy and Corporate Social Responsibility, including strategy, evaluation, leadership, social entrepreneurship, community foundations, venture philanthropy, cross-sector collaboration, and social investment. Kramer is co-author with Michael Porter of several influential Harvard Business Review articles, has published extensively in Stanford Social Innovation Review and in The Chronicle of Philanthropy and has been quoted by the Financial Times, Economist, and NPR.

Prior to co-founding FSG, Kramer served for twelve years as President of Kramer Capital Management, a venture capital firm, and before that as an Associate at the law firm of Ropes & Gray in Boston, and Law Clerk to Judge Alvin B. Rubin, Fifth Circuit, US Court of Appeals.

Speech Topics

Impact Investing

Philanthropy has fundamentally changed in the last decade from generating headlines about generosity to an explicit focus on results. We’re asking not “How much money was given?” but “What did the money accomplish?” More than ever, investors and entrepreneurs are deploying capital in solutions designed to generate a positive social or environmental impact, while also having the potential for a financial return – rejecting the notion that they must choose between making a profit and contributing to a good cause. Mark Kramer shares his views on the promise and challenges of impact investing, and explores the emerging and expanding “tool kit” supporting and driving its growth, from new financial tools to better metrics for social impact to new impact investing funds. He also discusses the various impact investment opportunities – found in any country, across all asset classes, and at many different levels of risk and return: backing local social entrepreneurs, capitalizing microfinance providers, pooling funds to finance construction of charter schools, or developing better delivery channels for medical technologies.

Do More than Give: How to Solve Social Problems While Making Money

Despite spending vast amounts of money and helping to create the world’s largest nonprofit sector, U.S. philanthropists have fallen short of solving America’s most pressing problems. What the nation needs, argues Mark Kramer, is “catalytic philanthropy”— individuals igniting social change around a specific issue through more strategic giving. Pointing to several examples of the approach in practice by some of the world’s most innovative donors, he examines how it helps catalyze social change and discusses four distinct reasons why catalytic philanthropists are so effective: 1. They have the ambition to change the world and the courage to accept responsibility for achieving the results they seek; 2. They engage others in a compelling campaign, empowering stakeholders and creating the conditions for collaboration and innovation; 3. They use all of the tools that are available to create change, including unconventional ones from outside the nonprofit sector, and 4. They create actionable knowledge to improve their own effectiveness and to influence the behavior of others.

Creating Shared Value: Redefining the Role of Business in Society

In recent years, business increasingly has been viewed as a major cause of social, environmental, and economic problems. Companies remain trapped in an outdated approach that views value creation narrowly, optimizing short-term financial performance in a bubble while ignoring the broader influences that determine longer-term success. The alternative, says Mark Kramer, is to embrace shared value: create economic value in a way that also creates value for society by addressing its needs and challenges. He defines shared value not as social responsibility, philanthropy or even sustainability, but as a new way to achieve economic success that can give rise to the next major transformation of business thinking and drive a new wave of innovation and productivity growth in the global economy. Drawing from a growing number of companies around the world that have already embarked on important efforts to create shared value by reconceiving products and markets, redefining productivity in the value chain, and enabling local cluster development, he details how and why businesses acting as businesses – not as charitable donors – are the most powerful force for addressing the pressing societal issues we face.


The Ecosystem of Shared Value
In the past, companies rarely perceived themselves as agents of social change. Yet the connection between social progress and business success is increasingly clear. C
Spur to Charitable Giving -
Mark R. Kramer, a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Corporate Social ... The writer, managing director of FSG, a nonprofit consulting company, is a ...

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