Echidna Giving invests in girls' education in the developing world.

Kim Wright-Violich

As CEO/President of Schwab Charitable from 2000-2011, Kim guided that organization from a six-month-old start-up to one of the top ten US charities in annual fundraising and $3.5 billion in assets. Kim fosters innovative philanthropy and impact investing as the co-founder of Tideline Advisors and as part of the professional teaching staff at the Haas Business School at Berkeley. Kim still can’t really pronounce “echidna.” However, she was delighted to discover their babies are called puggles, which she can say perfectly.


Craig Silverstein

Craig received his computer science degree with distinction at Harvard, and continued his graduate studies at Stanford. There, he saw a world-changing idea and left academia for the garage that became Google. Fourteen years later, another world-changing idea propelled him to the Khan Academy, where he is Dean of Infrastructure. He's excited by the potential of Echidna Giving to be world-changing idea number three. Craig chose the name "Echidna Giving" despite the fact it's not, technically, the echidnas doing the giving.


Mary Obelnicki

Mary earned her degrees – S.B. and M.Eng – at MIT. When not studying computer science, she worked with the Girl Scouts of Flint, where she engineered the perfect toasted marshmallow for the benefit of her campers – perhaps her first fusion of analytical thinking and social change. That combination led her to the on-line community organizing of Big Tent, to a Coro Fellowship in public affairs, and to her philanthropic work with Craig. She’s never met an echidna she didn’t like, or indeed any echidna at all.

For more information on how we approach philanthropy, please visit The Giving Pledge and Bolder Giving.

Erin Ganju
Managing Director

Prior to her role at Echidna Giving, Erin turned a bold idea for advancing literacy and gender equality into an international NGO: Room to Read. During her tenure as co-founder and CEO, Room to Read helped over 12 million children in 15 countries pursue a quality education. Drawing on her past career with Goldman Sachs and Unilever, Erin brings a deep commitment to data, transparency and operational excellence to everything she does. She is hoping to observe an echidna in the wild, perhaps by joining a 10-echidna love train.


Dana Schmidt
Senior Program Officer

Working in secondary schools in Kenya and Zambia, Dana saw families place great hope in schools that struggled to deliver. Their faith sparked her determination to give all kids in low-income countries a fair shot at a truly great education. Holding undergraduate and graduate degrees in economics, education and African studies from Stanford University, Dana spent a decade with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation before joining Echidna Giving. Her stuffed toy echidna has yet to dig up her office floor, which she appreciates.


Lexie Wagner
Program Associate

The seeds of Lexie’s career were sown early, as a high school volunteer in Kenya. She went on to earn a global public health degree from George Washington University and returned to Africa as a math and English tutor in Cape Town. She joined Echidna Giving after a marketing role with Geneva Global, a philanthropic consulting firm focused on international development. She’d like to be an echidna for a day just to know what it feels like to be electroreceptive. It would certainly cut down her emails.


As a small organization, we can’t effectively respond to requests outside of the work we do with our trusted partners, so we regretfully don’t accept unsolicited proposals. But for anything else: would be glad to hear from you.