Saadia Madsbjerg

Former Managing Director

As Managing Director, Saadia led the Foundation’s work on Innovative Finance, overseeing its ‘Zero Gap’ portfolio. Her responsibilities included developing next-generation finance mechanisms and large-scale blended finance funds that mobilize private sector capital towards the SDGs. Her work directly supported the Foundation’s mission of promoting the well-being of humanity throughout the world.

Saadia has been featured in numerous publications such as the Financial Times, Bloomberg, BBC, and the Wall Street Journal Live, among others, and frequently speaks at industry and finance events to advance the idea of innovative finance as a mainstream instrument of social policy. She is a frequent author as well, having contributed pieces to Foreign Affairs, Project Syndicate,, Business Insurance, and many other publications.

Before joining The Rockefeller Foundation, Saadia was senior vice president for Strategic Planning at the New York City Economic Development Corporation. Prior to NYCEDC, she was an associate principal at McKinsey & Company.

Authored Content

  • Aug 15 2018
    Blog Post Bringing Scale to the Impact Investing Industry In 2007, the term “impact investing” was coined by The Rockefeller Foundation, putting a name to investments made with the intention of generating both financial return and social and/or environmental impact. Ten years on, unprecedented capital is flowing into the space with many of the world’s blue-chip investment firms creating dedicated funds and products. From […] Saadia Madsbjerg
  • Sep 19 2017
    Blog Post A New Role for Foundations in Financing the Global Goals Not quite two years into the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it becomes ever clearer that the cost to achieve these ambitious targets will be enormous. Yet the question of “who pays?” remains unanswered. The UN anticipates a need of roughly $4 trillion per year—an overwhelming sum that dwarfs public and philanthropic budgets. […] Saadia Madsbjerg
  • Jun 26 2017
    Blog Post What Does It Take to Mobilize Billions of Dollars to Promote the Well-Being of Humanity? The promise of innovative finance is to unlock billions—if not trillions—of dollars in private sector capital to address the world’s most critical challenges. This big and bold promise is making innovative finance fashionable these days. Policy makers are taking note as they grapple with the sticker shock of the estimated $5 to $7 trillion that […] Lorenzo Bernasconi, Saadia Madsbjerg
  • Sep 23 2016
    Blog Post Innovative Finance is Key to Affording the Global Goals This post is part of a series on Advancing the Global Goals. Last year, the world set ambitious targets for addressing global challenges, agreeing on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement. The cost of implementing these agreements will be astronomical. Over the next decade, the UN estimates that implementing the SDGs will […] Saadia Madsbjerg
  • Jun 07 2016
    Blog Post The Innovative Finance Revolution: Private Capital for the Public Good Assessments of how governments and international organiza­tions have dealt with global challenges often feature a familiar refrain: when it comes to funding, there was too little, too late. The costs of economic, social, and environmental problems compound over time, whether it’s an Ebola outbreak that escalates to an epidemic, a flood of refugees that tests […] Georgia Levenson Keohane, Saadia Madsbjerg