Maryann Fernandez creates substantial opportunities for learning and open dialogue by leading high-net-worth
individuals and families into local communities to explore the world’s most critical issues. As Founder &
President of Philanthropy Indaba, a unique company that develops customized philanthropic journeys and
opportunities for learning and service, Maryann brings donors closer to a deeper exploration and understanding
of themselves, each other, and the world in which we live.
Through a thoughtful and curated approach to travel and the exploration of nature and humanity, Philanthropy
Indaba nurtures its clients’ ability to sharpen the focus of their philanthropy/social investments and strengthen
the impact of their engagement at both at home and abroad. Maryann's signature approach is to focus on
individually tailored outcomes, as well as expertly facilitated discussions on the ground. Philanthropy Indaba
provides access to thought leaders and multiple stakeholders, as well as the chance to identify synergies with
and between NGOs seeking to collaborate with others.
Maryann was a strategic consultant to Educate Girls Globally, an organization which utilizes community
empowerment and partnerships with Indian state governments to get and keep girls in school. She has
provided consulting services to world-renown non-profit, Ashoka, Innovators for the Public, a 25+ year old
organization that has funded over 1,800 social entrepreneurs worldwide. She also helped launch and establish
a private network of ultra-affluent philanthropists which included 150+ families. Her primary responsibilities
included program development, recruitment of new families through institutional partnerships, and marketing.
Events featured prominent speakers including Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel, Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, The Earth
Institute, Queen Noor, Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek, and Bill Moyers.
As a consultant, advising financial organizations seeking to better position themselves in the wealth
management industry, Maryann has designed and managed educational events for affluent families, family
businesses and their advisors. Clients include financial services firms, industry associations and family offices.
In 2000, Maryann co-founded Shaking the Tree Foundation (STT), whose mission is to use storytelling to
positively transform the individual’s relationship to wealth, family and society. STT developed the Living Case
Study, a workshop which utilizes professionally executed theatrical productions to discuss challenges in affluent
families including family dynamics, psychology of money and philanthropy. As an active team member until
2007, Maryann produced and co-authored every play and workshop, and as a result, brought to fruition an
important resource to further explore responsible wealth.
Maryann was formerly Vice President, Family Education Services and Senior Marketing Representative at the
Harris Private Bank, Chicago. With Harris Bank from 1998 - 2002, Maryann oversaw the development and
strategic direction of educational events designed to address the issues and opportunities in wealth
management. With Harris Bank’s parent company, Bank of Montreal, Maryann spearheaded one of the first
private bank cross-border initiatives by introducing educational wealth management events to the Canadian
private bank market.
Maryann served as a judge from 2008-2011 for the New York University Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation
Program in Social Entrepreneurship. She is on the Advisory Board for Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy
Program at The American College. She is a frequent speaker at wealth management/family office events and
recently spoke at the Columbia Business School 2014 Family Business Conference and Wharton’s Family
Major volunteer projects include Karongwe Ecological Research Institute in South Africa where she served as a
research assistant gathering data on African wild dogs, lions, leopards, hyenas and cheetahs; College Summit
as a writing coach to inner-city teens; and Educate Girls Globally, videotaping interviews with varied partners
and government officials in India.
Founder & President
New York, NY, USA