A Year of Continued Impact

Dear Fools for Good, Friends, Supporters, and Partners of The Motley Fool Foundation,
As we look back over the last year, I am filled with hope about the impact we’ve made together and determined to scale our work as the challenges of those living paycheck to paycheck are ever- present. We’ve partnered, visited, and worked with individuals and organizations nationwide. We have seen firsthand the transformative power of our Fool members and external supporters in their communities and our collective work.

Jennifer Gennaro Oxley
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Financial Freedom for all

We are on a mission to create pathways to Financial Freedom for those living paycheck to paycheck 

To find, fund and amplify innovative solutions that enable strivers to become thrivers


A Message From Our Chair: Planting Seeds for Tomorrow

Dear Fools Everywhere,

Each of us is on a journey that starts with trying to achieve Financial Freedom for ourselves. Paraphrasing the airline’s boilerplate language, you must put on your own Financial Freedom mask before assisting others.

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OUR IMPACT 2022-2023

Making the World Smarter, Happier, and Richer One Pathway at a Time

Number of Rule Breakers
1 K+
Lives Impacted
Number of Nonprofit Organizations Served
Total Volunteer Hours
$ 0.1 M
Funds Raised
1 %

Recognized as an Innovative Nonprofit: the Motley Fool Foundation Named a Finalist in the Moxie Awards

We were honored to be named a finalist of the 2023 Moxie Award program, which recognizes organizations that have demonstrated boldness and innovation in the Washington D.C. Metro area.


The Motley Fool Foundation Financial Freedom Rule Breakers

The Motley Fool Foundation identifies and invests in Rule Breakers – social innovators disrupting the system to help people achieve Financial Freedom in housing, health, education, work, and money – the drivers of change.

We add value by driving awareness, real-time guidance and funding towards scaling what works in Financial Freedom.

Today, the Rule Breakers collectively reach 150,000 people.

The Rule Breakers program at The Motley Fool Foundation champions social entrepreneurs who are creatively addressing systemic social inequalities. These innovators are supported to scale their proven concepts, especially during the vulnerable mid-stage of their development. Rule Breakers exemplify this spirit by fostering worker-led businesses and cooperative networks, enhancing community well-being and economic resilience. The Foundation’s investment in these entrepreneurs focuses on strengthening the Five Drivers of Financial Freedom: housing, health, education, work, and money. The overarching aim is to cultivate a more significant, impactful, and sustainable change within communities, supported by a network of Fools for Good who provide mentorship and partnership to amplify these efforts.

How Our Program Works

We find and invest in middle-stage social entrepreneurs, keeping them on a path to success as their organizations scale to become more extensive and more impactful.
We host Minutes with the Mindtrust, a series of real-time consulting sessions where we connect our Rule Breakers to a network of Fools who provide their expertise, helping them go further, faster.
We convene Rule Breakers and help them innovate between the five drivers of Financial Freedom (housing, health, education, work, money). This allows them to learn, bond with other Rule Breakers, and develop professionally.

Learn More about the Rule Breaker Program  / Rule Breaker Video

Impact in the Spotlight

These four spotlight stories highlight the extraordinary impact of our Rule Breakers – innovative leaders who are reshaping their communities through their unique visions and tireless efforts. These stories are a testament to the power of dedication, innovation, and a deep commitment to social change. They serve as inspiring examples of how individual leaders can spark significant transformations within individuals, their communities, and beyond.

Real-Time Interventions

Rule Breaker Impact Stories

José Quiñonez

Kimberly Driggins

Alex Bernadotte

Dan Weidenbenner

José Quiñonez, an American financial services innovator, founded Mission Asset Fund (MAF) in 2007 to bring formal recognition and legitimacy to informal peer-to-peer lending networks, aiding marginalized communities in building credit. As a MacArthur Fellow, Quiñonez's vision led to over 92,000 grants and loans to immigrants, people of color, and low-income families, aiming to improve financial stability with higher credit scores, increased savings, and reduced debts. His work began humbly in a small San Francisco office. Quiñonez's approach is deeply rooted in the lives of the people MAF serves. While celebrating past successes, he emphasizes the ongoing need for more profound research and expanding services to enhance financial security and enact social change​​.  In 2022, José was appointed to President Biden’s Treasury Advisory Committee on Racial Equity.   

Quiñonez's journey from Durango, Mexico, to the helm of MAF is a testament to the transformative power of resilience and social entrepreneurship. After losing both parents by age nine, he and his siblings supported themselves in any way possible, eventually immigrating to the U.S. and achieving legal residency. Quiñonez's path diverged from his siblings' local business endeavors as he pursued higher education and a career in public affairs. His experiences informed his work at MAF, where he developed strategies to incorporate financially excluded communities into the mainstream economy. His model includes innovative lending circles and focuses on building financial literacy through experiential learning, aiming to prepare clients to confidently engage with mainstream financial institutions. Quiñonez's impactful work continues to evolve, with MAF expanding its reach and services to foster economic empowerment and inclusion. Learn More >>

Kimberly Driggins, Executive Director of the Washington Housing Conservancy (WHC), is a critical figure in combating the affordable housing crisis in Washington, D.C. Under her leadership, WHC, established in 2018, has dedicated itself to preserving affordable workforce housing and preventing the displacement of vulnerable communities. Its mission is to support moderate to low-income African Americans and others of color. Her efforts are backed by a rich history in urban planning and real estate development, including significant roles in Detroit and Washington, D.C. Driggins' expertise is recognized nationally. Her work with WHC is a testament to her commitment to fostering inclusive, mixed-income neighborhoods​​.

In one of the articles Driggins authored, she brings to light the dire situation in D.C., where exorbitant rents create an affordability gap affecting over 72,000 households. Her strategic interventions through WHC have provided a lifeline for individuals like Maria, a single mother of three facing the threat of displacement as her rent surged beyond her means. Thanks to WHC's initiatives, Maria could retain her home at a sustainable cost, alleviating the stress that once consumed her financial and mental resources. This stability allowed Maria to focus on her family's well-being and pursue further education to enhance her job prospects. Stories like Maria's vividly illustrate the tangible change Driggins and the WHC bring to the community, ensuring that residents have a place to call home and a foundation from which to build a better future​. Learn More >>

Alexandra Bernadotte's journey from a struggling Dartmouth student to the founder and CEO of Beyond 12 is a powerful story of resilience and innovation. Born in Haiti and raised by her grandmother while her parents sought better opportunities in the U.S., Alex was united with her family in Boston at seven. Her parents emphasized the importance of education, which led her to Dartmouth and later to Stanford University for graduate school. However, her collegiate journey was marked by many first-generation students' struggles. These experiences inspired her to create Beyond 12, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the number of college graduates from low-income, first-generation, and historically underserved backgrounds​​.

Beyond 12's impact can be seen in the story of Melina, a 2016 graduate of Armstrong University. Coming from a poor home, Melina felt that pursuing higher education was nearly impossible. Beyond 12, alongside the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, supported her throughout her undergraduate journey. The personalized coaching and guidance from Beyond 12 enabled her to succeed against the odds, demonstrating the organization's effectiveness. Melina's achievement directly results from Beyond 12's mission to serve as a bridge between high school and higher education, ensuring that students like her are enrolled and supported throughout their college experience to improve graduation rates​​.

Bernadotte's Beyond 12 has proven successful, with a staggering 88% persistence and attainment rate among students who received four years of support from a Beyond 12 coach, significantly exceeding the national average. The organization's blend of human coaching and technological innovation, such as the MyCoach mobile app, creates a comprehensive student support system. This approach is set to expand, with plans to provide tailored coaching to 1 million students annually. Bernadotte's vision for Beyond 12 aims to scale the current system and inspire a movement to redesign higher education institutions to be more accessible, affordable, relevant, and just, particularly for Black and Latinx students​. Learn More >>

Dan Weidenbenner, a Furman University alumnus, has intertwined his passion for community development with actionable entrepreneurship through Mill Village Ministries (MVM) in Greenville, South Carolina. As the founder and executive director, Weidenbenner has steered MVM into a thriving community organization that delivers various resources, including food, transportation, and entrepreneurial support, especially in underserved areas. One of MVM's key initiatives, Mill Village Farms, transforms unused spaces into community gardens, providing fresh produce and job training for at-risk youth, effectively nurturing the land and the potential within the community. Weidenbenner's vision for MVM extends to supporting local minority- and women-owned businesses through platforms like the Village Launch Market, enhancing their visibility and growth potential within the Greenville community​​.

The real-life impact of Weidenbenner's work shines through in the experiences of individuals like James, a resident of the Greater Sullivan neighborhood where MVM's initiatives have taken root. Once struggling to find employment and direction, James found a new start at Village Wrench, another MVM enterprise, where he learned bicycle repair skills. This provided him with a job and instilled a sense of pride and ownership as he became a part of sustainable transportation solutions in Greenville. James' story is a microcosm of MVM's broader impact — where nurturing individual potential strengthens community ties and fosters self-sufficiency. Learn More >>


Our Spark Conversation Series: Amplifying the Voice of Financial Freedom

We introduced the “Spark Conversations Series,” a dynamic platform where thought leaders and innovators converge to explore the intricacies of Financial Freedom. The series features insightful dialogues with luminaries like Best Selling Author Dan Pink and educational leaders, alongside Financial Freedom Rule Breakers who are addressing today’s economic challenges. Each episode is a mosaic of perspectives, shedding light on topics from the intersection of education and financial literacy to innovative solutions for housing and finance. 2022-2023, we hosted ten thought-provoking episodes, each attracting hundreds of engaged participants keen to absorb and interact with these transformative ideas. Dive into these conversations, where groundbreaking ideas and inspiring narratives unite to fuel change and enrich our understanding of Financial Freedom.

Spark Conversation Series!
The Spark Conversation Series, by The Motley Fool Foundation, enriches the dialogue on Financial Freedom with insights from luminaries like Best Selling Author, Dan Pink and Dean of Education at Johns Hopkins University, Chris Morphew, Ph.D. In addition to these thought leaders, the series spotlights the Foundation’s Financial Freedom Rule Breakers—innovators working on the front lines to address economic challenges. In 2022-2023, The Foundation produced ten 60-minute live recorded episodes, drawing 500-800 registrants per month. 93% of post-survey respondents reported an intention to attend the next event, and satisfaction scores peaked in the high ninetieth percentile.


Fools for Good: Empowering Change at the Local Level

The Fools for Good initiative by The Motley Fool Foundation is a community engagement program where volunteers commit their time and effort to various service activities. On May 19, 2023, the Foundation conducted its second Day of Service, with over 90 volunteers participating. This annual event supported 17 organizations, including national groups like Junior Achievement and Habitat for Humanity, and involved 327 volunteer hours. The activities were spread across 12 cities and offered four virtual volunteering opportunities. The Foundation expresses gratitude for the considerable participation and support from its leadership.  


A Journey of Generosity: A Timeline of Foolanthropic Milestones

Voices of Impact: Donor Testimonials on Advancing Financial Freedom

Real Stories, Shared Visions: How Our Donors Contribute to a World of Financial Empowerment

We hope these testimonials inspire you to join our growing Fools for Good Community.



We thank our board for its commitment and tireless efforts to help our mission advance.

Jennifer Gennaro Oxley

Jennifer Gennaro Oxley

Executive Director

Board Member Emeritus


Consider Us for Your Year-End Giving, by Donating. Thank You.

Dear Fools for Good, Friends, Supporters, and Partners of The Motley Fool Foundation,

As we look back over the last year, I am filled with hope about the impact we’ve made together and determined to scale our work as the challenges of those living paycheck to paycheck are ever- present. We’ve partnered, visited, and worked with individuals and organizations nationwide. We have seen firsthand the transformative power of our Fool members and external supporters in their communities and our collective work.

In our first year, we piloted several programs. For example, we supported a Financial Freedom Rule Breaker, Kimberly Driggins, who leads The Washington Housing Conservancy. Kimberly and her team combat the affordable housing crisis in Washington, D.C., helping people like Maria, a single mother of three, who faced the threat of displacement as her rent surged beyond her means. These programs and others are designed to increase awareness, engagement, and investment in Financial Freedom for all, and The Motley Fool Foundation as a catalyst for change. The signature program for the Foundation, the Financial Freedom Rule Breakers (a two-year Fellowship for social innovators in the drivers of Financial Freedom), created impact for over 150,000 people living paycheck to paycheck at the local level.

We saw momentum, not only in the local partnerships and programs supported by The Motley Fool Foundation but also in the 300% increase in the number of people – strivers and thrivers – who signed on with us at www.foolfoundation.org to be a Fool for Good.

All the Rule Breakers work on systemic and grassroots initiatives focused on providing upward mobility and financial literacy. Their interventions help a variety of challenges, like supporting credit development for immigrant communities, mobilizing a cadre of mentors to keep vulnerable students in college, and supporting black entrepreneurs.

As a public charity, the funding and volunteerism for our work are sourced from both The Motley Fool, our Fool members, and external supporters. This is a unique model and a differentiator for The Motley Fool Foundation. Our future focus remains steadfast on learning from our pilots, scaling what works, and creating a more equitable world where success is within reach for everyone. It is the promise we make to our stakeholders and the inspiration that fuels our passion for change.

With your continued awareness, engagement, and investment, we will forge ahead using the collective power of Fooldom to optimistically create pathways to Financial Freedom for all.

A special note of gratitude to Fool employees, who have further exemplified the spirit of giving that is the cornerstone of our Foundation.

Thank you for all that we currently are and all that we will be. Together, we will continue to make a Foolishly-free world that is smarter, happier, and richer!

Fool Forward,
Jennifer Gennaro Oxley
Executive Director
The Motley Fool Foundation

Dear Fools Everywhere,

Each of us is on a journey that starts with trying to achieve Financial Freedom for ourselves. Paraphrasing the airline’s boilerplate language, you must put on your own Financial Freedom mask before assisting others.

Many reading this are working hard, still on the path up this mountain. To you, I say, “Make sure you enjoy the views and the journey!” And I hope The Motley Fool has been and continues to be a loyal and valued sherpa, helping you, along with literally millions of others, to navigate the market’s ups and downs. We’ve seen a lot of both over the past few years — and indeed, the same is true over the past few decades! That’s how the market works: up and down… but over the only term that counts, the long term, a lot more up than down! For those searching for and nearing Financial Freedom, we are excited to help you get to your targeted date, your targeted number. 

Others reading this have already summited the peak! And for you, part of the beauty of the achievement is that you now have special insights, a clearer view. Having achieved Financial Freedom, you now see how to help others more clearly. You’re probably already generously supporting family and friends. For many of you, you’re likely generous benefactors in your community as well. I hope The Motley Fool has been a key part of your story.

And I hope The Motley Fool Foundation will be a key part of your next chapter. 

In Fiscal Year 2024, we will further our mission via three strategies:

First, we will continue making strategic investments in initiatives that assist people living paycheck to paycheck, propelling them forward in their next steps toward Financial Freedom.

Second, we will take a more prominent role in promoting and building widespread awareness around the concept of Financial Freedom. This effort is aimed at expanding our community of Fools for Good to surpass last year’s growth (which was 300%!).

Third, we will be multiplying opportunities for every member of our Fool Community desirous of “switching on” to play an active role in helping accomplish our mission: time, talents, and treasure. 

With my Fool Foundation jester cap on, I thank you so much for leaning in with us! At this early stage as a small and hopeful acorn, we need your help to sprout, to grow, and one day to show the way to Financial Freedom for as many people as possible. These efforts are not for tomorrow, next month, or some fleeting future — the time is now.

Help find us some seeds. Or pick up a spade with us. Make us smarter. Guide. Dig. Plant.

As Warren Buffett has said, “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

Fool on!

–David Gardner

Motley: Excelsior

David Gardner

David Gardner is Chief Rule Breaker and Co-Chair of The Motley Fool, a financial services company he co-founded in 1993 alongside his brother Tom. He also serves as the Chair of The Motley Fool Foundation.
The Motley Fool’s purpose is to make the world smarter, happier, and richer. To that end, for 28 years David picked stocks for a worldwide membership through the company’s flagship service, Motley Fool Stock Advisor. From inception in March 2002 through May 2021, he generated returns for members of 20.6% annualized, vs. the market’s S&P 500 average of 9.1%. David also picked a few hundred stocks for Motley Fool Rule Breakers as part of a larger team; Rule Breakers returned 16.2% annualized vs. the market’s S&P 500 average of 10.6%. Believing in both quality and quantity, David made 13 accountable and market-beating picks a month for 15 years.

David hosts a weekly podcast, Rule Breaker Investing, which has published a new episode every week since July 2015. Spending equal parts on his three great passions – investing, business, and life – he regularly welcomes world-class authors, renowned conscious capitalists, game designers, and all-star athletes. The show is most of all driven by his listenership, which shares constant feedback that he tackles in month-end Mailbag episodes. Rule Breaker Investing reaches a monthly listenership of 90,000.
David and his wife Margaret both graduated as Morehead-Cain Scholars from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1988; he is a recipient of UNC’s prestigious “Distinguished Young Alumni Award.” He plays games of all kinds, especially board games, having a collection of hundreds of them, which the Gardners have played a lot over the years with their three (grown) children. David served on the Individual Investor Advisory Committee of the New York Stock Exchange for 15 years and the Folger Shakespeare Library board for 10 years. A native Washingtonian, he particularly enjoyed his 2019 graduating class for Leadership Greater Washington. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Conscious Capitalism Institute and is a Co-Founder of Conscious Capitalism DC. He is “Limited Partner #1” in the Motley Fool Ventures debut fund, and continues to love investing in all forms.

Motley: Hope more, fear less

Jennifer Gennaro Oxley

Jennifer Gennaro Oxley, a recognized leader on change leadership and innovative business strategy who’s career has spanned for-profit, trade associations, chambers of commerce and non-profit organizations. Jennifer currently serves as Executive Director of The Motley Fool Foundation, a new public charity formed in 2020. She formerly co-led the Mid-Atlantic regional office of Playworks, an award winning social enterprise actively promoting safe & healthy play in elementary school children across the nation. Prior, Jennifer was the Executive Director of the Fulbright Association, where she co-launched TEDxFulbright, accelerated global advocacy which led to a restoration of Congressional funding for the Fulbright Program, and expanded the regional chapter network, all while creating new funding sources, international conveniening opportunities and member value. Jennifer has also held pivotal leadership roles at the U.S Chamber of Commerce where she co-launched the mid-market business division, led the small business department’s membership efforts, and the Electronic Retailing Association where she co-introduced the first online retailing alliance, led all membership & marketing efforts, and launched the international product search competition. Jennifer holds leadership and volunteer positions with civic organizations that largely focus on human empowerment and child development such as Compass Bono, American Marketing Association-DC Chapter, DC Scores, UMASS Alumni Club and the YMCA National Capital. Jennifer has created and fostered numerous mentoring programs for young adults and has won a variety of awards for her work in this area. She earned a B.A. in business from UMASS Amherst. Jennifer is a 27-year DMV resident with her husband and two children, and is deeply committed to the community and fostering social good for impact.

Motley: Create Delight, Give Thanks

Margaret Gardner

Margaret Gardner has known the Fool since its inception as its first cheerleader and consultant, advisor and activist. Supporting its growth and championing its mission is a lifetime goal. She graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill as a Morehead-Cain Scholar with a BA in English and History and has an MA in English Literature from UVA. She has worked as an English teacher, researcher, editor, and at-home mom of three. As a community volunteer, Margaret’s engaged with issues of homelessness, hunger, and educating at-risk youth. She has served on the Boards of churches, schools, and non-profits, focusing on fundraising and development, grant-distribution, governance, and strategic planning. She is currently in her final semester of theological studies at Wesley Theological Seminary, with concentrations in ethics and theology & art.

As David is to games, Margaret is to flowers. An avid gardener Margaret served as president of the Garden Club of Alexandria, overseeing their recent renovation of the small garden at Alexandria’s Visitor’s Center on King Street. (There’s even a Foolish touch – Go see! ) As a flower arranger, she’s won awards at state and regional flower shows and teaches floral design classes.

Motley: Purpose & Profit

Ollen Douglass

Ollen Douglass is the Finance Chair of the Motley Fool Foundation. He is also the Managing Director of Motley Fool Ventures, an early-stage venture capital fund. The fund focuses on startups deploying technology as a strategic asset to increase efficiency, improve access, or operate at scale in large, growing markets.

He serves on the Board of private companies Bitwise Industries, Eyrus, InHerSight, Ketos, StreetShares, and Upskill. He is the Board Chair for the nonprofit group, Young Artists of America.

Before creating the fund, Ollen served 14 years as the corporate CFO of The Motley Fool Holdings, and previously held several positions in banking and public accounting.

He earned his Bachelor’s degree from The University of Baltimore and is an inactive CPA. Ollen lives in Maryland with his wife and three sons.

Motley: Thoughtful Disruptor

Elaine Hungenberg

Elaine Hungenberg is a proven leader of financial empowerment interventions and research, and offers expertise in leading successful strategies to help close financial inclusion and wealth gaps. Elaine’s passion to financially uplift communities, combined with her experience in developing data insights to pioneer real change for at-risk populations, has defined her career. Elaine is currently Executive Vice President of Operation HOPE’s Research and Impact Institute. Operation HOPE is one of the world’s largest financial empowerment organizations, and as an expertly trained quantitative social scientist, Elaine is responsible for organizational research and thought-leadership initiatives. Elaine’s commitment to using data to identify financial inequities has spanned partnerships with Gallup Inc., Harvard University, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, FICO, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Experian, and many others. 

Before her decade-long tenure at Operation HOPE, Elaine began her career in the nonprofit sector in 2007 with the Colorado Children’s Campaign (CCC) in Denver, Colorado. Analyzing statewide data, Elaine focused her efforts on creating publications to help Colorado’s Legislature create appropriate and formative programs for at-risk youth. While working with the CCC, Elaine was able to successfully help in the formulation of positive public policy to close educational attainment gaps. She earned a B.A. in Political Science and English from St. Michael’s College in Burlington, VT, and a Master’s Degree from the University of Colorado in Econometrics and Political Science. Elaine is a current resident of Windsor, Colorado with her husband and three children. With endless energy to make the world a better place, she considers herself a thoughtful disrupter on the pursuit of positive social change.

Motley: Positive Persistence

Sean Milliken

Sean Milliken is committed to creating innovative partnerships and solutions that result in positive social impact. Most recently, Sean served as PayPal’s Head of Global Social Innovation, where he led the company’s efforts to harness the power of its unique assets and expertise to improve the lives of people and the communities in which they live and work.

Previous to his role at PayPal, Sean served as Director of Nonprofit Strategy for eBay Inc. He joined eBay Inc. following their acquisition of MissionFish, an organization he founded in 1999 and led until 2011. Under his leadership, the award-winning social enterprise teamed up with eBay to launch eBay Giving Works (now eBay for Charity), a ground-breaking charitable giving program that enables eBay’s community of users to donate to their favorite causes through their buying and selling activity – and that has raised over $1B million since its inception. 

Sean started MissionFish after working as Associate VP of Marketing & Development for Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta. He developed a passion for using entrepreneurial initiatives for social good while helping teens start successful businesses. He led a collaboration to create the Center for Entrepreneurship at Manual Arts High School, a business incubator and micro-loan program for young people. Sean began his career at Communities In Schools, a leading community-based organization devoted to helping young people succeed in school and prepare for life.

Sean, his wife, Jill, and two children live in Alexandria, Virginia. He is a co-author featured in the book Innovation and Technology Strategies, and serves on the Board of Directors of Communities In Schools of Northern Virginia and the Motley Fool Foundation.  He received his BS in Communications from Virginia Tech.

Motley: Intentional

Melissa Bradley

Melissa is a serial entrepreneur, investor, professor, and researcher. She has expertise in (impact) investing, technology, financial services, (social) entrepreneurship, venture capital, social responsibility, and media. She has significant startup and board experience, has successfully facilitated investments for startups and emerging companies, and is an aspirational golfer.

Motley: Be the Change

Sylvia Sierra

Sylvia Sierra has been bringing in thousands of Motley Fool members with her creative marketing chops, storytelling, and focusing most of all on diversifying The Motley Fool’s membership, and always helping us to think about the right channel at the right time. Sylvia has been with the Fool for more than four years. She is currently a leader of Somos, one of the many internal employee-led groups focused on diversity and inclusion and serves as a coach for Fool employees. She has extensive experience in program development and has served in the nonprofit sector.

Motley: Make a Positive Impact

Bernita Bailey

Bernita Bailey is the Suburban Maryland Senior Vice President-Market President for Truist Financial Corporation. She is responsible for leading the commercial banking team in the coordination and promotion of the bank’s business initiatives within the Montgomery and Prince George’s County community. With more than 20 years of banking experience, Bernita has served in various leadership roles throughout her career. She previously served as the Greater Washington Business Banking Leader for Truist and prior to that as the Area Leader for Prince George’s County and Washington, D.C.

Bernita and her team devote their time, experience, and talent to creating successful outcomes for their clients and for the community. They assist enterprises that generate revenue of up to $75 million in the areas of capital formation, treasury solutions, risk management, employee benefits, wealth management, and business strategic advisory services.


Neil Grayson

Neil heads the FinCorpReg practice at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough firm’s financial institutions corporate and regulatory practice group, representing primarily financial institutions, fintech companies, and alternative financial services companies. He handles securities offerings, M&A, corporate governance matters, and regulatory matters. He is also the co-leader of the firm’s social impact and diverse financial services practice initiative and has been particularly focused on developing this initiative, which includes working with both for-profit and not-for-profit financial services businesses, including minority depository institutions and minority-owned fintech companies.

Neil has been involved in more than 300 securities offerings or M&A transactions, ranging in size from less than $100,000 to over $100,000,000, with a collective total deal value of nearly $6 billion. He also is very involved with public education matters, including serving on the boards of the Institute for Child Success, Public Education Partners, and the South Carolina Student Loan Corporation (as co-vice chair of the board and chair of the foundation committee).

Motley: Evolve

Neel Shah

Neel Shah is the founder and President of Shah Capital Advisors, a financial consulting group that helps non-profits navigate the use of the federal New Markets Tax Credit program to subsidize real estate projects. He has structured and closed over $1 billion of financing to support the building of supportive housing, food banks, schools, youth centers, health clinics, workforce training centers, and manufacturing facilities in severely distressed, low-income communities.

Neel made several trips to India as a child, and returned every time with a renewed appreciation of how hard life could be for those living in poverty. After experiencing a series of financial challenges in his youth and watching his immigrant parents struggle as entrepreneurs in the United States, Neel decided he would learn how the world of money works and help those who didn’t get a lucky roll of the dice. After a few years of 80-hour work weeks in the world of investment banking, where he watched his managers invest only in T-bills, he realized that a) it was time to put all of this know-how and effort to work helping impoverished communities lacking access to capital, and b) learning about high falutin finance had little to do with learning how to grow your money. 

Neel eventually found a home in the world of community development finance, where he has worked with hundreds of dedicated social entrepreneurs and professionals to channel capital into underinvested neighborhoods and ensure measurable community impact. While he was helping clients to finance their projects and access the financial system, Neel found out even more about how the world of money works through nerding out on newsletters and conferences, as a proud member of The Motley Fool. He credits the Fool with helping him build the mindset and access the tools to build wealth, and he enthusiastically teaches and mentors others on how to do the same.

Neel holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, a Bachelor of Science from Brown University, and a Certificate in Culinary Arts from the Natural Gourmet Institute. He lives in New York with his wife and two daughters (who like to parade around the house in his Motley Fool jester hat). 

Motley: Do The Impossible!

Trish Costello

Trish Costello is founder and CEO of Portfolia, which offers a radically different investing process designed for women and other emerging investors. She is also co-founder and CEO Emeritus of the Kauffman Fellows Program, Center for Venture Education, the global educational institute preparing the leaders of the venture capital industry, located in Palo Alto, CA. Portfolia brings investing into the 21st Century, creating entrepreneurial funds focused where women make markets, such as women’s health, active aging, consumer, enterprise, food & agtech, and fashion, tech and beauty. The investing experience is smart, personalized, and educational, providing returns and market impact customized to your interests. Portfolia is building a powerful global community of sophisticated investors focusing their money and influence to build the world they want.