Maria Horning

Senior Program Director

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Maria activates the power of teamwork and collective will to generate solutions to complex problems, designing and delivering plans and actions that meet the needs of varied stakeholders.

As an advisor to clients on collaborative philanthropic fund design and implementation, Maria facilitates fund strategy development and the creation of key structures, processes, and criteria that increase grant-making and program-management impact and effectiveness. Maria values the practical, field perspective, and works with clients to facilitate a process for co-creation and design with representatives from the affected community, potential grantees, and other actors.

Maria provides and fosters positive energy with her team and clients through her energetic facilitation of convenings, stakeholder meetings, and learning activities. Through her dedication and positive outlook, Maria builds trust and rapport with stakeholders and promotes a ‘can-do’ attitude. As a grant-maker, having supported grantees working in some of the most difficult contexts and with the most marginalized communities, Maria’s guidance is grounded in pragmatism and oriented toward continuous learning and innovation. This endurance and hope originate from belief in humanity’s potential and the power of groups to identify and advance creative solutions.

Maria leads programs to advance human rights and improve access to opportunities alongside marginalized, economically disadvantaged communities. Maria implements processes to source, qualify, and monitor grantee-partners’ projects, identify technical assistance opportunities, and consolidate strategic programmatic priorities, sharing achievements externally to showcase the strong work of grantee-partners.

Prior to Geneva Global, Maria worked in the for-profit sector as a financial analyst. This training cultivated Maria’s ability to analyze details while keeping the big picture in mind.

Maria received her Bachelor’s degree in Economic Development from Eastern University and her Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership and Development with a concentration in Organizational Psychology at St. Joseph’s University.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is getting to work with inspiring advocates and champions for change. Our work brings us in touch with people, who with humility and endurance, work to improve the opportunities and lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the word. We work with smart people who pursue change and want to make a positive difference in the world. The best part is to learn from everyone, and in the process, to aim to make the world a place where all people can flourish.

What three words would you use to describe your colleagues?

Caring, determined, and energetic. There is a strength to our people that enables them to endure the discouragement that intractable problems such as poverty and discrimination bring. They never lose sight of the people and the communities we serve and maintain a caring posture throughout their work. And there is smart energy here at Geneva Global—that gets the job done well, and swiftly.

What’s an interesting fact that others would not know about you?

My passion from high school to college was playing volleyball. During my senior year of college, my Eastern University team competed in the Division III Final Four. I believe this is where I developed my appreciation for team work, encouragement, and pursuit of a common vision. After graduation, I continued coaching at my alma mater. And this is how I received my nickname in the office among my colleagues: “Coach.”

What brings you joy?

I find joy when I am able to relate and connect with other people and when I am pursuing a meaningful goal. I find joy in the outdoors, sunshine, and exercise. And I find joy in witnessing the small joys and satisfaction of others.