Shawn Escoffery is the Chief Executive Officer of the Roy and Patricia Disney Family Foundation where he leads a small team and a family board committed to social justice and advancing equitable practices in philanthropy. RPDFF invest in innovative solutions and community leaders to build a more just and sustainable world in which all people thrive. Shawn manages a $6-8 million annual grantmaking budget and an endowment approaching $160 million. Since joining the Foundation 2018, Shawn has led the organization through a strategy refinement process, created a fellowship for someone who is formerly incarcerated, and launched an Impact Investing portfolio with a 10% carve-out of the endowment. The Foundation now focuses on Criminal Justice Reform, Environmental Justice, and Affordable Housing Preservation with a trust-based approach centered in place and that emphasizes lasting partnerships as well as capacity building. Shawn leads an impact-investing program primarily focused on investing with a racial and gender equity lens while seeking to use capital to support first time fund managers and challenge “risk” perceptions.
Prior to joining RPDFF Shawn Escoffery directed the Strong Local Economics program at the Surdna Foundation – a nationally focused family foundation with over $1 billion dollars in assets. In this role, Shawn worked to support the development of robust and sustainable economies that include a wide range of businesses, equitable economic policy and access to quality jobs. With an annual budget of $9.2 million, the program aims to create opportunities for upward economic mobility among communities that have experienced historical barriers to opportunity, including low-income people, communities of color, women, and immigrants. As the foundation developed a mission related investing and impact investing portfolio, Shawn was also responsible for deploying an additional $10 million dollars in (debt and equity) aimed at addressing access to capital challenges facing minority and women owned businesses.
Before joining philanthropy, Mr. Escoffery served as the Deputy Director of the New Orleans Neighborhood Development Collaborative (NONDC), a community organizing, planning and housing development organization, focused on post-Hurricane Katrina neighborhood revitalization. As an urban planner with over 20 years of experience, Shawn has been responsible for designing workforce development programs serving lower income communities, developing financing strategies for affordable housing developments and coordinating resident engagement efforts. Throughout his career, he has managed projects and people effectively to produce positive outcomes for communities.
Shawn holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and English Literature from Rutgers University and a Master’s of City and Regional Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a concentration in Housing, Community, and Economic Development. He also holds certificates in Communications and International Relations, Urban Redevelopment and Effective Leadership from Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pennsylvania and Duke University, respectively.