Mark Van Ness is an investor and catalyst for sustainable social enterprise in both the business and not-for-profit sectors. He is Founder and former Chief Executive Officer of Sperry Van Ness, commercial real estate advisors.  Since its founding in 1987, Sperry Van Ness has grown to provide exceptional opportunities for a staff of over 1,400 in 37 states with several billion dollars in annual sales. 


Van Ness has led the creation of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility Programs ( including the Core Covenant since 1991, and established the Sperry Van Ness Legacy Foundation that finances social enterprises throughout the US and abroad. 

Van Ness is a leader within the Young Presidents Organization (, the largest organization of presidents in the world, with over 17,000 members in 100 countries whose mission is to create better leaders through education and idea exchange.
Within YPO, Van Ness founded the Corporate Social Responsibility Network, co-founded the Strategic Philanthropy Network and the Economic Development Network, and was a charter member of the Micro-Finance Action Forum and the Peace Action Network.  He also served as Vice-Chair of all YPO-WPO Social Enterprise Networks internationally.

He was the Co-founder and Chairman of the not-for-profit Social Enterprise Institute (, which created peer to peer leadership forums from San Francisco to New York.  SEI has been a catalyst of the Social Entrepreneur Academies and the annual Social Entrepreneur Fast Pitch along with USC and Social Venture Partners LA.

Van Ness is the Founder of the Social Enterprise Loan Fund (SELFund), a syndicate of donor advised funds within the Orange County Community Foundation providing credit enhancement and financing to social enterprises. SELFund has participated in over $30 million in financing for charitable organizations since 2006. 

He is a socially responsible investor and serves on the founding Advisory Board for Good Capital (, an investment firm that accelerates the flow of capital to innovative ventures and initiatives that harness the power of the market to create sustainable solutions. He also serves on the founding Board of Directors of Giving Assets, a donor advised fund originated by Calvert Foundation with a mission to demonstrate the enhanced power of achieving social aims through BOTH investing and granting mechanisms

He has been a featured speaker for the Alliance for Non-profit Management, Building Industry Association (BIA), Pepperdine University, USC, YPO-European Leadership Conference, Hong Kong Council of Social Service and has been featured in recent articles in Business Week, USA Today and Forbes magazines. He is an Orange County Community Foundation Ambassador, a member of the Los Angeles Social Venture Partners (, The HUB and the Social Enterprise Alliance (
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