Kimberlin Butler is a cross-sector bridge builder and offers two decades of experience partnering with philanthropic organizations to drive social change. She understands the unique needs and opportunities of mission-driven organizations as well as the solutions to address them.
Butler works with Mathematica’s area directors and experts to engage with foundation leaders and grantees to better understand their priorities and make progress on investments that work. Her experience addressing urgent social challenges and working alongside partners to translate big questions into deep insights includes her tenure at Grantmakers for Education (GFE), for which she worked with foundations across the country to improve outcomes in student achievement. Butler managed three national funder networks at GFE in partnership with major foundations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, community foundations, and corporate funders. She was instrumental in shaping the Grantmakers Institute, a program in partnership with the Harvard Graduate School of Education focused on investing in education equity. Butler also advised the U.S. secretary of education on philanthropic alignment through the Office of Strategic Partnerships.
As part of the White House Community Solutions agenda, she helped build the Place-Based Initiatives Pilot team in the Office of Innovation and Improvement to advance collective impact and investments across urban, rural and tribal communities. She also launched the Atlanta office of Beyond 12, an organization that increases the number of low-income, first-generation, and historically underserved students who graduate from college, establishing partnerships with Achieve Atlanta and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.
A thought partner to the organization’s executive director, Butler served as director of strategic partnerships for StriveTogether, a national network supporting the success of 8.2 million students. At StriveTogether, Butler built strategic alliances with national partners and investors to advance six core outcomes, from kindergarten readiness to college degree completion, including a partnership with former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative. She managed the complex pooled Accelerator Fund, which invested $15 million in communities that demonstrated accelerated progress.
She served The Zeist Foundation, a family foundation investing in children, youth and families through the arts, education, and health/human services. She expanded the foundation’s place-based investment strategy for improving Atlanta’s public schools and local nonprofit organizations. Eager to help improve the state of public education, Butler served as a middle school educator through Teach For America early in her career. Building on this firsthand experience, she proposed a college prep charter middle school that combined academic and leadership development. As the founding executive director, she garnered start-up support and leveraged a diverse governing board to advance the mission.
A native of Baton Rouge, Butler received a B.A. in mass communication from Louisiana State University and an M.P.A. from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University with a concentration in social and educational policy.
She is an avid volunteer, having served on the boards of Education Pioneers, Urban League of Portland, the National Urban League, and the MRG Foundation. She is an active member of the Junior League of Washington, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, Rotary Club International, and the Links, Incorporated serving on the National Philanthropy Committee. Kimberlin was named an Outstanding Atlantan, a Knowledge Universe Rising Star, and to the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 40 Under 40 List. She is a graduate of LEAD Atlanta, Leadership Portland, and the Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE) Connecting Leaders Fellowship.