Jerry Hildebrand has a varied and extensive background in public service, international and domestic community development, microfinance and social entrepreneurship. He was one of the pioneering Peace Corps volunteers in the early 1960s when he worked for two years in the Andes Mountains of Peru, with Aymara Indians on the shores of Lake Titicaca. After returning from the Peace Corps, Hildebrand worked in the Chicago area overseeing leadership and life skills training for gang members. From there, he went on to work with Robert F. Kennedy, a role that included being a caregiver to the Kennedy children. Shortly afterward, Hildebrand’s work in grassroots economic development started in Appalachia (a West Virginia coal mining region) where he worked for 10 years to develop and direct the first rural Economic Development Corporation in the U.S. to finance community-based business enterprises in a chronically depressed region of the U.S.
Most recently, Hildebrand was the executive director of the Center for Social Impact Learning (CSIL) at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies (MIIS) in Monterey, CA. Established in 2014, CSIL provided professional training and internship opportunities for all levels of career development from undergraduate and graduate students to encore professionals seeking to pivot in their career track. The CSIL programming portfolio focused on microfinance, impact investing, social enterprise management, B Corp certification, Fair Trade, mentorship and coaching, as well as action research.
Prior to CSIL, Hildebrand was the founder and executive director of the Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship at the University of the Pacific, one of the pioneering university centers of social entrepreneurship. The Global Center created many of the prototype university-based social entrepreneurship innovative initiatives that opened the pathways to undergraduate involvement in the “do good and do well” field. In eight years at the University of the Pacific, Hildebrand created a new generation of compassionate and programmatic leaders working on the frontlines of social change around the world.
Hildebrand served for 17 years as CEO of the Katalysis Bootstrap Fund, a microfinance organization that provides training, technical assistance and credit to non-governmental microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Central America (Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador). Katalysis Network of 25 MFIs provides microloans to over 290,000 clients (70% women, 98% repayment).
In addition, Hildebrand was based in Antigua for six years as the Caribbean regional field director for International Voluntary Services, where he directed a socio-economic development program on ten newly independent island-nations in the Eastern Caribbean.
Hildebrand has spoken at numerous conferences (Ashoka Changemaker Campus Exchange, Think Impact Huddle, Opportunity Collaboration, DELL Challenge, Middlebury Symposium, Millennium Campus Network Annual Meeting, Northwestern Buffett Center) and individual universities on the Pacific Experience “Creating a University Center of Social Entrepreneurship from Scratch: Land Mines and Lessons Learned.” Most recently, he has given workshops on the “Top Ten Kickass Low Cost Experiential Learning Opportunities” for University Social Entrepreneurship Programs.
Hildebrand serves on the Cordes Foundation board of directors and Semester at Sea Corporate Advisory Board, and works with Fair Trade University USA, Opportunity Collaboration, Stockton Impact Corps (Community Microfinance Fund), and Community Capital/Monterey. He is co-chair of the Millennium Campus Network Global Education Council.