James “Jim” Shelton is Chief Investment and Impact Officer at Blue Meridian Partners.
In this role, Jim leads Blue Meridian’s efforts to continuously increase the impact, reach, and influence of our investees and investments. This includes driving the evolution, expansion, and ongoing implementation of Blue Meridian’s regional investment strategy — integrating the work of expanding effective solutions nationwide with developing regional and local strategies that capture the compounding benefits of continuums of services — to produce the strongest possible outcomes for children and families and achieve community-wide impact.
Jim also oversees Blue Meridian’s efforts to investigate new areas where significant focused capital can help solve problems at scale. Areas Jim will explore include new approaches to economic and social mobility and racial equity; supporting comprehensive place-based and regional strategies; the roles of for-profits, policy and advocacy; and the potential to leverage targeted universalism to have broad impacts.
Before becoming Chief Investment and Impact Officer, he was Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the organization, bringing to Blue Meridian deep multi-sector experience and expertise on the intersection of innovation, entrepreneurship, and systems change. Jim is currently a Senior Social Impact Advisor to KKR and Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute.
Prior to joining Blue Meridian, he founded Amandla Enterprises, an impact investment and advisory firm, and was President of Education for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
Jim also served as 2U’s Chief Impact Officer, overseeing university partner program implementation, research and university relations. Prior to 2U, he served as the Deputy Secretary and COO of the U.S. Department of Education and led a range of management, policy, and program functions in support of educational access and excellence for America’s children, especially those least advantaged. While in government, he also launched and led the President’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative; and served on and led multiple interagency efforts focused on increasing economic opportunity and entrepreneurship and building the enabling technology and R&D infrastructures to accelerate progress.
Earlier in his career, Jim opened the east coast offices of NewSchools Venture Fund and became the program director for education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he managed a $2-3 billion portfolio of non-profit investments.
He has chaired numerous non-profit boards and led domestic and international social sector initiatives ranging from economic development to voter education in emerging democracies. Jim holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Morehouse College as well as master’s degrees in both business administration and education from Stanford GSB and GSE. He currently resides in his hometown, Washington, D.C., with his wife and their two sons.
Chief Investment and Impact Officer, Blue Meridian Partners
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