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Meron Makonnen

General Counsel, ELMA Philanthropies Services

Meron Makonnen is the General Counsel of The ELMA Philanthropies Services (U.S.) Inc. (“ELMA”), a global philanthropy services organization with offices in New York City, Cape Town and Kampala that develops and sources grants and other social investment opportunities to relieve poverty, advance education, and promote health for African children. She provides both legal and strategic advice on program and institutional development, including on human resources. She also advises the board and staff on political and economic risk in countries in which ELMA is active. She serves on the Board of ELMA, The ELMA Music Foundation (U.S.) and The ELMA Foundation (U.S.).

Ms. Makonnen started her legal career as a Corporate Associate at the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP where for five years she advised major financial institutions and Fortune 500 companies in connection with commercial lending transactions, securities matters, and mergers and acquisitions. After Cravath, she joined the International Monetary Fund’s Office of the General Counsel where she covered 21 countries, advising on sovereign debt and matters of international law and lending transactions. Before ELMA, Ms. Makonnen was Assistant General Counsel at the Rainforest Alliance, an international environmental organization working to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods.

Ms. Makonnen received her B.A. from Yale University, a master’s in public administration from New York University and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

She has served on various boards including the board of directors of African Services Committee, the board of trustees of Kingswood Oxford School, the board of the Yale Alumni Association of New York, and the Pro Bono Advisory Committee of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.