Michael Etzel


Michael Etzel is a partner in The Bridgespan Group's Boston office. Since joining Bridgespan in 2006, Michael has focused on effectiveness across the full spectrum of social innovation financing, advising corporate, institutional, and family philanthropists and investors—including The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Ford Foundation, Bain Capital, and Goldman Sachs. This work has addressed a wide range of fields, including child welfare, criminal justice reform, early childhood, economic development, public health, and recidivism. He has also supported planning and development for leading nonprofits in these same fields.

Much of Michael's work explores what it takes to use tools of innovative finance and impact investing to solve pressing social problems. In 2014, he supported the work of the U.S. National Advisory Board to the Global Task Force on Social Impact Investing, leading a Bridgespan team that supported the development of a first-ever bipartisan policy agenda for the growing field of impact investing. In 2015, he supported Bain Capital in developing their strategy for entering the impact investment space. His latest call to action article "Philanthropy's New Frontier—Impact Investing," appeared in the Stanford Social Innovation Review in November 2015.

His work and research in philanthropy also focuses on the question of what it takes to deliver results, looking at "Three Cases of Better Corporate Philanthropy" on HBR.org, and exploring in the Stanford Social Innovation Review the concept of "Pay-What-It-Takes Philanthropy" as a new approach to ending the starvation cycle.

Presently, Michael serves on the boards of two nonprofits: Splash.org, which provides clean water for kids, is a social justice organization committed to the poor, an international development agency disciplined around urban economies, a social enterprise dedicated to putting itself out of business, and a safe water company focused on children; and New Sector Alliance, which seeks to strengthen the social sector by enriching its talent pipeline, bringing together cohorts of highly motivated, skilled early career fellows to pursue their commitment to working in the social sector.

Michael is a long-time Massachusetts resident always looking for an excuse to get outside. He earned his AB cum laude with high honors in Social Studies from Harvard College, and his MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School, where he was co-president of the Social Enterprise Club. During his studies, Michael spent a summer at Google.org helping to launch their Global Impact Awards program.