Whether writing a book, giving a speech at a philanthropy forum, sitting down for a national radio or television interview, connecting with people through social media outlets or sharing their philanthropic story with investors, employees, grantees or volunteers, these Top 20 Women Executives, Thinkers and Experts are some of the philanthropic sector’s most influential leaders.

There were more than 350 nominees for Top 20 Women in the philanthropic community, which is a little more than we expected.

Although they are highly visible and have built national (even international) platforms, these women were selected for their philanthropic impact through the art of collaboration and their ability to facilitate, to the highest degree, the free flow of information and innovation across sector networks to advance social change.

In addition, these women are not only thought leaders, they are LOVE LEADERS with compassion for the people they serve. Philanthropy without love has ZERO social impact. Money and endowment assets has nothing to do with our list, it is ALL about social impact, advancing the overall philanthropic sector (not just your own organization) with strategy and thought-leadership.

Vikki Spruill, President and CEO at Council on Foundations, captures the essence behind our selection process best in this quote: “The more we collectively operate as part of a holistic philanthropic network, the closer we will come to working together to create a just and globally prosperous society.”

1. Melinda Gates, Co-Founder, Gates Foundation

2. Oprah Winfrey, Founder, Oprah Angel Network

3. Melissa Berman, CEO and President, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

4. Vikki Spruill, CEO and President, Council on Foundations

5. Claire Diaz-Ortiz, Head of Corporate Social Innovation, Twitter

6. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, CEO and President, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

7. Stacy Palmer, Editor, Chronicle of Philanthropy

8. Amanda Rose, Founder, Twestival

9. Diane Aviv, CEO and President, Independent Sector

10. Anna Cunningham, Senior Manager, Global Responsibility, Starbucks Coffee Company

11. Carol Larson, CEO and President, The David & Lucile Packard Foundation

12. Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, Founder, Giving 2.0

13. Myrlia Purcell, Co-Founder, Look to the Stars

14. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, CEO and President, Walmart Foundation

15. Jane Wales, President, Global Philanthropy Forum

16. Kerry Sullivan, President, Bank of America Charitable Foundation

17. Cathy Clark, Board Chair at Investors Circle and Associate Professor at Duke School of Social Entrepreneurship

18. Bette Midler, Singer, Actress and Humanitarian

19. Mary Wong, President, Office Depot Foundation

20. Sheena Wright, CEO and President, United Way of New York City

Michael Chatman helps celebrities raise funds for charitable causes. He is one of the most listened-to voices in philanthropy and social innovation with 273,000 followers on Twitter; provides market strategy for America’s leading thought leaders in philanthropy and social innovation, and positions their message to achieve greater social impact

Mr. Chatman, founder of Philanthropy Speakers Agency and host of #WHYiGIVE, is credited with building one of the most popular brands in the philanthropic sector. Follow Michael’s Twitter feed at:

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